Canada’s most scenic drive is a hiker’s paradise.
Located in northwest Cape Breton Island in the province of Nova Scotia, the “Trail” (as locals call it) is renowned for its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, rugged coastlines, and charming fishing villages. You can drive the loop in a day and, for the best possible views, start east in the town of Baddeck and drive west toward Cheticamp. Those who linger in the region a bit longer for a camping road trip can enjoy incredible hiking trails, superb photography opportunities, and excellent golf, fishing, and swimming. Moose, bald eagles, and whales all call the area home.
The gateway to the Cabot Trail, Baddeck offers some of the prettiest scenery in Nova Scotia, thanks to the picturesque Bras d’Or Lakes. The town is full of history, home to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, the Kidston Lighthouse, and Theatre Baddeck. Look out for tent campsites, RV spots, and glamping sites outside of town.
A third of the Cabot Trail winds through this national park, home to 26 hikes, including the renowned Skyline Trail. This five-mile loop is partially covered with a boardwalk (to help protect sensitive plant species). It offers the best views of any spot along the Cabot Trail. If you have a keen eye, you might spy moose, eagles, or even bears from your national park campsite.
If you enjoy whale watching, this is one of the very best spots in the province. You can also check out whales on land with a visit to the excellent Whale Interpretive Centre. Visitors can see a life-size model of a pilot whale, saltwater livestock tanks containing live creatures found in the whale’s habitat, and 16-scale illustrations of whales frequently spotted in the nearby waters.
The Acadian community of Cheticamp is a significant cultural and linguistic destination in Nova Scotia. Here you’ll learn about the Francophone community’s history, traditions, and culinary heritage. A must-see attraction is Les Trois Pignons. It’s home to Hooked Rug and Home Life Museum and offers demonstrations for the local craft of rug hooking.