Walking trails

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Our walking trails, which help tell the stories of Louisbourg, are located outside the walls of the Fortress of Louisbourg including areas across the harbour and along the shores of the North Atlantic. Use of these trails is at your own risk.

It is important to know that the Kennington Cove Road is not always easily accessible. Weather, variable road conditions and time of year are some factors that affect accessibility. During times when the road is gated, please be mindful of the extra distance required to access Simon's Point Trail.

Old Town Trail

Located on Route 22 just past the Royal Battery Trail, this 2.25 kilometre (1.4 mile) walk along the shore of Louisbourg Harbour takes visitors through what is known locally as Old Town, telling its story, from 300 years ago to present day, through a series of interpretive panels. Ending at the causeway, the trail brings visitors into the 18th century, to the place where the original fortified town once stood. Impressive views of the Fortress of Louisbourg and the harbour can be enjoyed along this historic trail. Bicycles are not permitted on the Old Town Trail.  Wheelchair accessible. Parking is available. Open daily.

Lighthouse Trail


  • The trail was significantly impacted by Hurricane Fiona and is unsafe for public use. Parts of the trail sustained extreme damage, with sections of the trail completely eroded away. Accessing the trail poses a significant risk to public safety.

Located across the harbour from the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Lighthouse Trail runs along the coastline offering visitors of all skill levels the opportunity for an enjoyable experience. With unsurpassed vistas, this 2 kilometre (1.28 miles) walk leads visitors around a looped trail with interpretive panels explaining the area's significance including its flora and fauna. Beyond this loop is a rugged trail currently being developed by the Coastal Connections Trail Association, an association solely dedicated to this Lighthouse Trail. This rugged section is wet in places and sturdy footwear is recommended. For those who desire to offer some financial support to this Trail Association, you will find a trailhead sign erected each spring and a donation box that enables supporters to contribute to the cost of maintaining the Lighthouse Trail. There are also small wooden donation boxes available at various businesses within the modern community.

To access the trail year-round, locate and travel along Havenside Road, situated in the modern community of Louisbourg and follow the "Lighthouse" signs. You will note the iconic lighthouse situated on this site. This is the site of the first lighthouse in Canada (1734). Interpretive panels help explain the history of this pivotal spot.

Royal Battery Trail

Located on Route 22 just past the entrance to the Parks Canada visitor centre, this short 678 metre (0.42 mile) looped walk skirts the outline of a major French defence work, the once impressive Royal Battery. Given the nature of this trail, there is no actual trailhead. Interpretive panels and a spectacular view of the harbour, the Fortress of Louisbourg, and the lighthouse combine to offer memorable visual experiences for many visitors. Parking is available. Open daily year-round.

Simon's Point Trail

Located two kilometres from Gate 2 down the Kennington Cove Road, Simon's Point Trail offers a short but rugged 800 meter (0.5 mile) walk to the mouth of Freshwater Brook and the ocean. It travels through the area once used by attackers in both sieges. There is limited parking available along the roadside. There is no trailhead sign on this trail. When Kennington Cove Road is closed due to conditions, an additional two kilometre (1.25 mile) walk along Kennington Cove Road is required to gain access to this trail.

Ruins Walk

The Ruins Walk is a 2.3 kilometre (1.44 mile) rough trail through the remains of the original 18th century town. Interpretive panels along the trail provide information on significant features. Please note that the footing is uneven, sections may be slightly overgrown, and portions veer onto the loose cobblestone beach. The views can be spectacular; the opportunity to walk among so much of what was can be a fascinating part of any site visit. The experience of the Ruins Walk helps visitors to place the interpretive experience of the reconstructed town in its proper context.

Please bring water and wear appropriate footwear—consider it more of a hike than a walk.

Dog are not permitted on the Ruins Walk.

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