The Cabot Trail is a scenic 298-kilometer (185-mile) highway, that circles the northern peak of Cape Breton Island, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
The route was named after Italian navigator and explorer John Cabot, who allegedly landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497.
It took us a whole day and some driving in the clouds to complete the trail. I was blown away by the scenery at every view point: Steep and majestic cliffs in which sinuous roads were built, fling themselves in the Atlantic ocean. From the mountains’ tops that are accessible through hiking trails in dense forests of conifers, you can contemplate the picturesque view; the spectacular force of an ordered nature, like a mediator between the human beholder and the God who created it: strong, powerful, imposing, humbling and relaxing all at the same time. The sky from afar, merges into the ocean, creating the most magnificent shades of blue.
We arrived at Chéticamp, which is the western entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park and in my opinion, the best place to kick off the Cabot Trail because from then on, the scenery gets more splendid at every view point.
Chéticamp is a small Acadian fishing village, where we ate delectable seafood and, to my surprise, heard many locals switching from perfect French to flawless English like nobody’s business, in what I thought was an all English area.
I found out that cultural mixing in Cape Breton is due to the fact that in the years following its discovery by the French, the island had become a refuge for Europeans who were trying to escape persecution in their homelands: During the Acadian Expulsion, a number of French settled in Cape Breton (in Chéticamp); When the American Revolution commenced, thousands of British loyalists (who were against the Revolution) fled to Cape Breton; Scot’s who were seeking new opportunities after the end of the Highlands Clan System established on the island too. Cape Breton has since become a stronghold of Gaelic culture.
So we camped in Cape Breton Highlands National Park’s Chéticamp campground, which happens to be home to bears, moose, coyotes among other animals that you would most definitely not want to wake up to. It was my first time camping in the real woods and saying that I was terrified is an understatement. I was scared out of my life every time I’d hear noises in the forest, as my husband and I sat by the fire at night. I wonder how I managed to fall asleep.
We woke up to a cloudy sky and decided not to start the cabot trail just yet, hoping the weather would be better the next day, so we went for a hike on the Skyline Trail, which was near our campground. The view all along the trail was breath-taking. I had never seen such beauty.
The beginning of the Cabot Trail as we were heading to the Skyline Trail for a hike.
Our view from the top of the Skyline Trail.
Relaxing at Pleasant Bay beach after hiking
Driving in and by the clouds was so impressive!
La Bloc Beach
On our way back from the Cabot Trail to Quebec City, we camped in Whycocomagh’s Provincial Park, which was absolutely amazing (and not scary at all). 🙂
So if you ever go to Canada and are thinking about doing a road trip, the Cabot Trail is definitely one that you would like to consider!