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Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Hike through forests, go looking for dolphins and whales and swim in freshwater lakes at this spectacular park in the north of Cape Breton Island.

Explore Cape Breton Highlands National Park and find deep river canyons, steep cliffs, beaches, forests and mountains. The diverse wilderness is set between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence and incorporates part of the Cabot Trail, a long scenic highway.

Driving or cycling the Cabot Trail is a great way to see the park. You will travel along the park’s coastlines and over hills. Stop at the many lookout points to admire the beautiful scenery. Experience the natural surroundings by taking one of the hiking trails, ranging from gentle walks to challenging treks. Some of the park’s 26 routes are suitable for cyclists.

Follow the trails through thick forests to more lookout points. As you make your way through the trees, along coastal paths and by rivers, see how many examples of the local wildlife you can spot. There are approximately 230 species of birds, including bald eagles and hawks. Look for beaver, moose, raccoon and the elusive Canadian lynx. 

Go to cliff-top viewing points to search for dolphins, seals and whales. July to October is the best time for whale spotting, especially from the Mackenzie Mountain Look-off and Lakie’s Head Look-off.

Swim in the cool waters of the park’s freshwater lakes and Atlantic Ocean beaches. Warren Lake is the largest lake, while Black Brook Beach is one of several places with saltwater and freshwater swimming areas.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park sits on the northern peninsula of Cape Breton Island. It is a 2-hour drive from Sydney and about a 5-hour drive from Halifax. Stay overnight at one of eight campgrounds, which are open from May to October. Additional accommodation is available at the park’s villages and communities, including Ingonish, Neil’s Harbour and Pleasant Bay.

The park is open year-round, although heavy winter snowfall restricts access to some roads and trails. Visit the park’s website for details of entry and camping fees.


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 92 properties near Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Highland Breeze Accommodations C$144
Highland Breeze Accommodations

Highland Breeze Accommodations

42 Harbour Road, Pleasant Bay, NS
     
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Situated near the beach, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of Whale Interpretive Centre and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Skyline Trail is 12.4 mi (19.9 km) away.

    Knotty Pine Cottages C$115
    Knotty Pine Cottages

    Knotty Pine Cottages

    39111 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach, NS
       
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Situated in Ingonish Beach, this cottage is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cape Breton Highlands National Park and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Cape Smokey. Cape Smokey Provincial Park and Highlands Links are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      The Mountain View Motel & Cottages C$96
      The Mountain View Motel & Cottages

      The Mountain View Motel & Cottages

      23659 Cabot Trail Road, Pleasant Bay, NS
         
        2.5 out of 5.0

        Situated in Pleasant Bay, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Whale Interpretive Centre and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Skyline Trail and North Highlands Community Museum are also within 20 mi (32 km).

        Skyline Cabins C$129
        Skyline Cabins

        Skyline Cabins

        37759 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach, NS
           
          2.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the beach, this motel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cape Breton Highlands National Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Highlands Links and Franey Mountain. Middle Head Trailhead and Cape Smokey are also within 6 mi (10 km).

          Castle Rock Country Inn C$165
          Castle Rock Country Inn

          Castle Rock Country Inn

          39339 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach, NS
             
            3.5 out of 5.0

            Situated in Ingonish Beach, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Cape Smokey and 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Cape Smokey Provincial Park is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) away.

            The Old Salt Cottage, Pleasant Bay - Nova Scotia, Canada
            The Old Salt Cottage, Pleasant Bay - Nova Scotia, Canada

            The Old Salt Cottage, Pleasant Bay - Nova Scotia, Canada

            Pleasant Bay, NS
               
              0.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Pleasant Bay, this property is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

              Gulf Breeze Accommodations C$179
              Gulf Breeze Accommodations

              Gulf Breeze Accommodations

              23329 Cabot Trail, Pleasant Bay, NS
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0

                Situated near the beach, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Whale Interpretive Centre and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Skyline Trail is 11.6 mi (18.6 km) away.

                Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa
                Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

                Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

                383 Keltic In Road, Ingonish Beach, NS
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  This family-friendly Ingonish Beach resort is located in a state park, just steps from Middle Head Trailhead and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Highlands Links and Franey Mountain are also within 3 mi (5 km).