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Cape Breton Hiking Trails

It’s easy to see why hikers fall in love with Cape Breton Island. From your home base at the Silver Dart Lodge, you can explore an endless range of trails — from gentle slopes to challenging and rewarding climbs. Make the day a perfect one by bringing along a picnic lunch from the Lodge, and relax when you return over a well-earned dinner in our McCurdy's Dining Room.

For a full list of hiking trails, visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Some of Our Favourites:

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Louisbourg Lighthouse Coastal Trail

Website: louisbourg.ca/directory/louisbourg-lighthouse-coastal-trail

Located: An hour and 21 minutes from the Silver Dart Lodge.

Situated across the harbour from Fortress Louisbourg, a reconstructed 18th century fortress, this trail is perfect for hikers who also want to take a stroll through history.  The first lighthouse in Canada was built here in 1734 and stonework ruins remain after the damaging Final Siege of Louisbourg in 1758. Interpretive panels lead you through a short looped trail, identifying the geology, nature and historical significance of the area. Benches have been placed throughout the trail, so you can relax and enjoy the crashing waves, unsurpassed vistas, and rugged coastline. If you are up for a further trek and brought sturdy footwear, beyond this loop is a rugged trail that will bring your hike to about five kilometres.

Insider's Tip: Perfect for history buffs and nature lovers; visitors of all hiking skill levels.

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Uisge Bàn Falls Provincial Park

Website: www.novascotia.com/see-do/outdoor-activities/uisge-b-n-falls-provincial-park/2019

Located: 22 minutes from the Silver Dart Lodge.

For those who want to drink in the beauty of a woodland, waterfall hike, this is an amazing trail. At about 6km return, the trail leads to a 16-meter, two tiered waterfall in a granite gorge. It’s a great spot for birding and observing wildlife — but don't forget to pack the bug spray. This trail is great for kids, with plenty of boulders and twisted trees to explore along the way.

Insider's Tip: Perfect for kids and hikers of all skill levels.

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Lone Shieling

Website: www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9772

Located: Pleasant Bay (Cabot Trail); An hour and 48 minutes from the Silver Dart Lodge.

Accessible on the Cabot Trail at the base of North Mountain, the trailhead leads to The Lone Shieling, one of the earliest structures in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The structure is modelled after traditional Scottish seasonal dwellings for crofters or tenant farmers. The 20 minute walking trail is the only access permitted in this old growth hardwood forest of 350 year old sugar maple trees and one of the most protected areas of the park. Be on the lookout for wildlife along the stream — moose like it here, along with rare species like the rock vole and Gaspé shrew. You can find out more about the history by checking out the exhibit.

Insider's Tip: Perfect for most hiking skill levels; history buffs; those looking for a short hike.

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Skyline Trail

Website: www.novascotia.com/see-do/trails/skyline-trail-cape-breton-highlands-national-park/6176

Located: French Mountain, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, an hour and 28 minutes from the Silver Dart Lodge.

Between Chéticamp and Pleasant Bay, you will find the renowned Skyline Trail, known for its dramatic headland cliff overlooking the rugged coastline. Plan to commit a few hours to this 7.5km (4.7mi) hike, or do the 9.2km (5.7mi) loop if you are up for it. The main trail is suitable for most skill levels, and gives you an eagle’s view of the picturesque Cabot Trail winding down the mountain. Walk the boardwalk and take in the rugged coast from the headland cliff at the end of this level trail. Moose, bears, bald eagles, and other birds also live in this habitat. If the timing's right you can even spot a whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the viewing decks!

Insider's Tip: Perfect for most skill levels and experienced hikers alike.