Cape Breton Highlands National Park – the wild and romantic part of Nova Scotia
The Canadian Cape Breton Highlands National Park is located in a beautiful landscape in the north of Cape Breton Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The first national park of the Atlantic provinces belongs to Nova Scotia. The cliffs of the fjord-like rugged coast and the long white sandy beaches of Ingonish Beach form a remarkable contrast. The latter is ideal for swimming in summer. In the national park there are many sights and leisure opportunities, such as trekking, hiking, canoeing or a round on a world-class golf course with a wonderful view. On the tours through the undisturbed nature you often come across wild animals such as moose, bald eagles, coyotes and black bears.
Via the Canso Causeway to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park
For a vacation on the island and the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia as well as a visit to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, one usually flies to the capital Halifax. The national park is located in the north of the island of Cape Breton, which is connected to the mainland part of Nova Scotia via the Canso Causeway (dam with lifting bridge). The Cape Breton Highlands National Park stretches from the Atlantic coast to the St. Lawrence River. Due to the mild Gulf Stream that runs along the Atlantic coast, Cape Breton enjoys a pleasant climate in summer with temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius. While spring sets in at the end of April with a still fresh 5 degrees Celsius, it already reaches 12 to 17 degrees Celsius when the lupins bloom in May and June. In winter there can be snow depths of up to three meters due to the maritime weather conditions.
Pleasant climate for those looking for relaxation and active vacationers
The eastern entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park is in the small town of Ingonish, the western in the academic village of Chéticamp. Picturesque Ingonish is the ideal starting point for cycling and hiking tours in September and October. The short “Freshwater Lake Trail” through a landscape that is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands is ideal for the first run-in. This may have been the reason for many Scots to colonize this island in the Atlantic. In the months of September and October, deep-sea fishing is particularly interesting, as the passing schools of mackerel are hunted by the biting tuna.
The warm summer months of July and August are particularly suitable for bathing days and long walks on the sandy beach of Ingonish Beach. For exploring the national park, we recommend the Cabot Trail Autostraße, a 300-kilometer ring road that partly leads through the nature park. The Cabot Trail is one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. The impressive panorama casts a spell over every vacationer. The coyotes and black bears that appear are rather shy of people, but you should treat them with due respect. The popular gannets, sea birds the size of a goose, which are excellent gliders and dive into the sea at lightning speed to catch fish, are harmless.
Wooded high plateau and rugged rocky coast with a view of the Atlantic
The defining feature of the plateau of the Cape Breton National Park are the boreal coniferous forests, which, with the leaves of the (maple) deciduous trees, which change color in autumn, result in the inimitable mixture of colors of the Indian Summer. However, the beginning of the Indian Summer can differ by a few weeks from year to year. In the northern third of the Highlands, in the tundra-like plateau, there is a small delightful waterfall, the Beulach Falls. The national park is also a retreat for many large mammals, such as elk, deer, black bears and coyotes. In autumn you can admire the impressive bald eagle at the Canso Causeway. However, it takes quite a bit of luck to spot a whale and seals.
Fascinating landscape and the influences of Celtic and Acadian culture
If you want to get deeper into the secrets of the Cape Breton Highlands, you can find out more about nature, the unique landscape and geological processes during geo-coaching. The village of Chéticamp is located in the western area of the national park, not far from Ingonish, where visitors can find out more about the national park. In the lively fishing village of Chéticamp you can still hear the French of the Acadians, the descendants of the French settlers. However, the Celtic-Scottish influence predominates, the typical sounds of which resound in the folk festivals of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In Glenville on Cape Breton Island, the Glenora Distillery is the only producer of single malt whiskey on the North American continent. The special thing about aging is the use of barrels, in which the famous Canadian ice wine was previously developed. A button is recommended.
Cabot Trial – Impressive in every season
The Cabot Trail is named after the explorer John Cabot. The road lines the stony coast of Cape Breton and winds higher and higher into the Cape Breton Highland National Park. From the Cabot Trial you have a breathtaking view of the Atlantic and later the Gulf of St. Lawrence. With a little luck you can watch the whales frolicking here from the steep slopes.
Did you know that …
- the Cape Breton Highlands National Park was founded in 1936 and extends over 950 square kilometers? It protects 20% of northern Cape Breton and is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Nova Scotia.
- the mild maritime climate and the rugged landscape of the park offer a unique mix of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats for animals and plants? This particular mix of northern and southern species is not found anywhere else in Canada.
- the canyons in Cape Breton National Park are very important for the ecosystem? They take care of the protective valleys in which the Acadian forests can be found.
- northern Cape Breton is home to 631 native and 118 introduced or “exotic” plant species?
- the park has a history that goes back to the last ice age?
- the park and the Cabot Trail are visited annually by around 200,000 Canadians and international visitors?
- the Celtic Colors International Festival will take place from October 8th to 16th? For 9 days, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture. With three guided hikes, offered in connection with musical events, you can hike through a lively world of autumn leaves with violin music in your ear and experience breathtaking moments.
- When driving through the park, one comes across a small village or town about every 30 km that welcome the visitor?
- the 26 hiking trails bring hikers over 150 km of different terrain, from coastal stretches by the sea, over beautiful mountain peaks, as well as through the rare taiga forest and to great waterfalls?
- some of the oldest forests in Nova Scotia are located in the Cape Breton Highlands? Some trees are over 350 years old and so huge that it would take 4 adults to complete a circle around a tree.