Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park's hiking trails range from easy strolls to challenging climbs with panoramic views of canyons, highlands and seacoasts. The trails provide a chance to intimately explore the complex habitat of northern Cape Breton Island. Nature doesn't end at the park's boundaries. Many surrounding areas boast equally breathtaking trails.


Climb 365 metres above the Chéticamp River for panoramic views of the Acadian coastline.

Salmon Pools

Ideal for a fitness walk or a stroll, this level trail follows the bottom of the Chéticamp River canyon.

Le Chemin du Buttereau

Retrace the steps of the Acadian pioneers who travelled this cart path from Le Buttereau, a small settlement of seven families, to Chéticamp.

Le Buttereau

The self-guiding trail explores mixed Acadian forest, old fields and foundation ruins on a "buttereau" (small hill) overlooking the Chéticamp River and...

Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge

Follow the route of the old Cabot Trail from Trout Brook as it gently climbs to a ridge midway up Jerome Mountain.

Corney Brook

Follow a meandering brook through a hardwood forest to a small waterfall that marks the end of the trail.


You can enjoy an eagle's view of the Cabot Trail as it winds its way down the mountain – vehicles look like toys.


The trail, as well as the privy at the trailhead, is wheelchair accessible.

Benjie's Lake

On the plateau at the top of the mountain, this trail crosses wet barrens and evergreen forests typical of the highlands, ending at a small lake.

Fishing Cove

Hike from the top of the mountain about six kilometres down to a small ocean cove and grassy clearing – the only designated wilderness camp site in the...

MacIntosh Brook

A nice, easy, fairly level stroll along a babbling brook and through a mature hardwood forest with a scenic waterfall at the end.

Lone Shieling

One of the most protected areas of the park, access is restricted to this short trail.


This trail meanders along the Aspy fault, through an Acadian and mixed forest.

Mica Hill

This breathtaking trail winds through Acadian mixed forest and stunted taiga as it climbs to the wind-swept highlands plateau.

Jack Pine

This scenic trail overlooks the Atlantic coastline and winds through a post-fire jack pine stand.


This scenic trail runs along the ocean shoreline.

Jigging Cove Lake

Birders and other nature lovers simply enjoy the varied wildlife on this short relaxing trail.

Green Cove

From this rocky granite headland jutting out into the sea, you can watch the ocean crash against the rocks.

Broad Cove Mountain

This switchback trail leads through a dense forest of softwood to the top of Broad Cove Mountain.

Warren Lake

The trail hugs the shoreline of the park's largest lake and is alive with wildlife.

Branch Pond Look-off

The trail explores Acadian, Boreal and Taiga land regions.


You climb up and up and your reward is at the top!

Clyburn Valley

Hikers will marvel at the spectacular stands of hardwood trees, boulders bigger than cars, old abandoned beaver ponds, meadows, apple trees and even the...

Middle Head

The trail follows a long, narrow peninsula separating two ocean bays, ending on headland cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Smokey and Ingonish...

Freshwater Lake Look-off

If you don't have time for a longer hike to get a view, then this trail is for you.

Freshwater Lake

Starting next to the ocean, this short, level trail follows the shoreline of a small lake that was once an ocean bay.

Hiking Trails - map

The following is a list of Cape Breton Highlands National Park's hiking trails. Distances are round-trip with average walking times. Click on the trail name for more detailed information.

Our trails have been rated for difficulty with the internationally recognized symbols:

Easy Easy Family-friendly trails that are suitable for all visitors.
Moderate Moderate Medium-length trails with moderate elevation gain and some short, steep sections. Suitable for most visitors.
Difficult Difficult Longer trails with long, steep sections that are suitable for visitors who have trail experience and are prepared (proper equipment and water).

Trail Difficulty  Distance Time Elevation
Acadian (loop)  Moderate 8.4 km 3 - 4 hours 20 - 365 m
Salmon Pools  Moderate 9.5 km 3 - 4 hours 15 - 110 m
Le Chemin du Buttereau  Easy 4.6 km 1.5 hours 25 - 65 m
Le Buttereau (loop)  Easy 1.6 km 30 - 45 minutes 0 - 55 m
Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge  Easy 9 km 2.5 - 3.5 hours 40 - 110 m
Corney Brook  Easy 6.5 km 2 hours 30 - 170 m
Skyline  Easy 7 km or
8.7 km (loop)
2 - 3 hours 290 - 405 m
Bog (loop)  Easy 0.5 km 15 minutes 410 m
Benjie's Lake  Easy 3 km 1 - 1.5 hours 400 m
Fishing Cove  Difficult 12 km 5 - 6 hours 0 - 355 m
MacIntosh Brook  Easy 1.7 km 30 - 45 minutes 30 - 65 m
Lone Shieling (loop)  Easy 0.6 km 15 minutes 70 m
Aspy  Moderate / Difficult 9.6 km 3 - 4 hours 60 - 450 m
Mica Hill  Moderate 7.9 km 3 - 3.5 hours 260 - 410 m
Jack Pine (loop)  Easy 2.3 km 1 hour 0 - 50 m
Coastal  Moderate 2.4 km 1 hour 0 - 45 m
Jigging Cove (loop)  Easy 2.4 km 40 - 50 minutes 50 - 65 m
Green Cove  Easy 0.2 km 10 minutes 10 m
Broad Cove Mountain  Moderate 2.3 km 1 hour 35 - 180 m
Warren Lake (loop)  Moderate 4.7 km 1.5 hours 15 m
Branch Pond Look-off  Moderate 8.4 km 2 - 3 hours 100 - 305 m
Franey (loop)  Difficult 7.4 km 2 - 3 hours 95 - 430 m
Clyburn Valley  Easy 8.5 km 2 - 3 hours 5 - 50 m
Middle Head  Moderate 3.8 km 1.5 hours 0 - 45 m
Freshwater Lake Look-off  Moderate 0.3 km 10 minutes 10 - 45 m
Freshwater Lake  Easy 1.7 km 30 - 40 minutes 0 - 15 m

Remember that you are hiking in a protected wilderness environment.

  • Do not approach, disturb or feed wild animals.
  • Hike with friends and a solid walking stick.
  • If you choose to walk alone, tell somebody where you are going.
  • Pack in, pack out. Littering attracts wildlife and puts you and the animals at risk.
  • Stay on boardwalks to protect fragile vegetation.
  • Mountain bikes are permitted only where indicated, for public safety and protection of the environment.
  • Dress appropriately. Weather may change rapidly on the plateau and along the coast.
  • Bring water, especially for longer trails, climbs and open barrens.
  • Bring insect repellant. Black flies and mosquitoes are common all summer.

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