Cape Breton Highlands Nat’l Park

Woke up to a great breakfast buffet, included, at Castle Rock Inn. Then headed out in the gray fog to drive the entire Cape Breton Highlands park road (part of the Cabot Trail) from Ingonish in the southeast to Cheticamp in the southwest and see what we could see. Without stops, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive, one way – big Park!

Along the road, we stopped at overlooks to see the waves crashing against the red cliffs. The further we drove up into the highlands plateau, the more we could see the ribbon of the Cabot Trail road below us, hugging the cliffs. Doubleclick any photos to enlarge.

Our first hike of the day was the Skyline Trail, about 5 km round trip, across the flat plateau, through woods and fields, to reach observation decks at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The unprotected headland cliff was the windiest place we’ve ever experienced. Families were clutching their kids very tightly – It was difficult to stand without being blown over, let alone walk. We didn’t attempt the lowest deck. In clear weather they say you can see whales out at see. Not us.

From Skyline Trail, we drive down to the bottom of the cliffs and unusual rock formations and a rocky beach, with a view of La Bloc, a rocky island with dramatic angled striations. The rocks on the beach are perfect for cairn-building.

Finally we reach Cheticamp, the “major” town and Park entrance. And then, turn around and head back to Ingonish, with a stop at the Lone Sheiling, a replica Scottish shepard’s cottage

Then down a dirt road to Beulach Ban Falls, a tall trickle in the woods. It looks like the dirt road once crossed the stream, but the bridge is out, and the dirt road on that side is overgrown.

And finally, back in Ingonish, dinner! A 3-pounder!

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