Views From The Summit
There are few easily accessible places on Cape Breton Island where you can get a stunning 360-degree view. The Spinnakin is one of our favorites – any time of day, especially to watch a sunset or full moonrise… In addition to the stunning view, this hike offers all sorts of treats and interesting challenges. It’s about a 4-hour round trip endeavor.
After following an old logging road, the climb becomes steeper and takes you through a birch and black spruce forest with an occasional brief view of the Atlantic below. Off in the distance (an on private property) you will hear the rushing of a waterfall.
After passing an old abandoned homestead – a few ancient apple trees among the spruce, some rock piles and a bit of a rock wall – you enter an enchanted stretch of the path, less steep now, that winds through a grove of evergreens that in the fall is home to large patches of edible mushrooms.
Soon you come to the turnoff where, heading straight, you come to the shore of a highland lake, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day, or for watching a moose bathe; or, turning right, you arrive at a rockface that you now have to scale – don’t worry, it’s a short stretch and we’ve done it with people of all ages and abilities.
A few minutes later, you arrive on the summit – clear of trees: The view is stunning, any time of day or year – whether watching the sunset over the highlands reflected in the lake below, or the moon rise over the Atlantic, the wild blueberry bushes turned red in the fall, Mount Smokey to the North, St. Ann’s Bay and the Bird Islands to the South, and at night the lights of Boularderie Island and Sydney beyond.
Be prepared for a stiff breeze up there, so bring something extra to wear. And if you plan to watch the moonrise, be sure to bring a good flashlight for the descent back.