We’re officially on the cusp of yet another vibrant autumn here on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia’s crown jewel. There are several ways to relish fall’s arrival here at Cabot Shores, including kayaking, cycling, and, of course, hiking. Every autumn, leaf-peepers, outdoor enthusiasts, avid hikers, and self-proclaimed “autumnophiles” flock to our remote, 55-acre wilderness resort. Yes, the fall foliage is the “main event,” but we also offer an array of unique lodging types, including cozy chalets, yurts, and domes. To ensure that your long-awaited autumnal escape to Cabot Shores is nothing short of spectacular, we’ve compiled a handy Cape Breton hiking guide, complete with six quintessential trails.
The Top 6 Cape Breton Hiking Trails: Autumn Edition
As you might imagine, our 55-acre respite is a short walk, bicycle ride, or drive from several trailheads, many of which meander along the ocean’s edge or deep into the forest en route to secretive waterfalls. In fact, a few months back, we listed our 10 favourite waterfalls in Nova Scotia. As summer subtly fades to fall, the Cabot Trail’s lush forestry transforms into a head-turning meld of amber, crimson, marigold, and kelly green. Amateur photographers, backpackers, and geocachers cannot resist these colour combinations. Below, we shed some light on six of the most colourful Cape Breton hiking trails, including three nearby delights.
Helpful hint: Remember to bookmark this page for further reference.
While waterfalls typically don’t gush during autumn’s peak (unless a rainstorm recently rolled through), very few sights rival a backland gorge’s solitude and visual splendour. Cabot Shores’ guests can hike up Indian Brook en route to three distinct falls, each one more beautiful than the last. The vivid colours supply a soft glow on the creek’s surface, while the inky rock walls provide a beautiful contrast.
It’s worth noting that the semi-strenuous (but undeniably spellbinding) trek to and from Spinnakin Mountain’s summit is only offered through our guiding services. The unmarked trail juts through private property amid dense, vibrant foliage. At the summit, you’ll obtain panoramic views of the entire valley, including the Atlantic, private lakes, and miles upon miles of rolling, colourful hills.
The trek to and from North River Falls is a beast. However, no Cape Breton hiking guide would be complete without it. The 11-mile, out-and-back expedition will take up much of the day, so remember to pack a picnic, plenty of water, and essential backpacking gear. That being said, the payoff ranks among the most startlingly-beautiful sights on the isle.
Franey Trail, a moderately-difficult, 4.5-mile loop, is a must during autumn’s apex. This classic Cape Breton hiking trail snakes past serene MacDougalls Lake and the steep Clyburn Brook valley (as pictured above), with faraway views of the ocean. Please don’t skip this marvellous loop!
Be advised: Glooscap Cave, also known as the “Fairy Hole,” involves a wee bit of rock climbing, a dip in the ocean, and some good, old-fashioned Cabot Trail hiking. Much like the excursion to Spinnakin Mountain, please call ahead about a potential guided trip into this magical Fairy Hole.
Fittingly, we’re capping this handy Cape Breton hiking guide with a strenuous mountaintop stroll past Paquette Lake en route to jaw-dropping Mica Hill. In the fall, the valley is dotted with legions of scarlet brush that provides an ominous, albeit dazzling backdrop. Of course, there’s also plenty of orange and green hues throughout the journey.
Glamping on Cape Breton Island
The perfect place to start and finish each day of autumn-flavoured exploration, adventure, and relaxation is Cabot Shores, the finest wellness retreat in Canada. Guests can camp under the stars, enjoy a 19th-century farmhouse, or “sleep in the sky.” When you’re not surveying the landscape on one of the best hiking trails in Nova Scotia, remember to paddle on Church Pond, cycle along the Cabot Trail, and indulge in fine, locally-sourced cuisines.
Please give us a call today at 866-929-2584 (or check availability online) to book a long-awaited autumn getaway to Cape Breton Island. Click the links below to learn more about our particularly tranquil slice of Nova Scotia.