21494
Nova Scotia
Hiking Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Hike the great trails of Cape Breton and learn the region’s story as you discover ancient geology, picturesque villages, unique wildlife and historic national parks.
Program No. 21494RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,899
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8 days
7 nights
19 meals
7 B 6 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrival and Check-In, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Baddeck, NS
D
Auberge Gisele's Country Inn

Afternoon: Arrivals to Halifax airport. Meet your group leader at the Halifax airport for a 2 p.m. departure for Cape Breton.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel in Baddeck at 6:30 p.m. includes salad or Soup, entrée, a choice from a selection of desserts; coffee or tea.

Evening: Following dinner there will be introductions and a review of the schedule. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding

DAY
2
Hiking: Uisge Bhan Falls, Cape Breton Island, Museum
Baddeck, NS
B,L,D
Auberge Gisele's Country Inn

Activity note: Uisge Bhan Falls: Hiking approximately 6 miles/10 kms; 2.5 hours; dirt trails, can be slippery sections as you climb the trail towards the falls. (Moderate).

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Muesli with yogurt, honey, and fruit; Bacon and Eggs with toast and preserves; Buckwheat Pancakes with fruit and maple syrup; Cinnamon and Raisin Oatmeal Porridge with fruit compote; Fruit Juice; Tea or Coffee.

Morning: On our first morning we venture out, following along the banks of the North Branch Baddeck River. Hike through beautiful hardwood forest alongside streams and rivers to Uisge Bhan Falls. The gorge is home to a diverse Acadian old growth forest. The name “Uisge Ban” is Gaelic for “white water” and is pronounced by those of us without a Gaelic tongue as OOSH-KA-ban, or ISH-KA-ban. Gaelic is undergoing a strong revival in Cape Breton, and traditional Gaelic place names can now be found on road signs across much of the island. Gaelic singers, musicians, and speakers continue to add a vibrant melody to the Cape Breton way of life.

Lunch: Picnic lunch includes choice of sandwich, juice, piece of fruit, dessert item.

Afternoon: Visit the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Discover how air and water captured Alexander Graham Bell's imagination. Explore the amazing life of the man who invented the telephone and his many accomplishments, including his work to bridge the world between sound and silence by teaching the deaf to speak. A presentation will introduce you to the history of Cape Breton Island.

Dinner: Lobster dinner with salad, chowder, dessert, coffee/tea.

DAY
3
Hiking: 3 Salmon Pools Trail, Le Vieux Chemin du Cap-Rouge
Cheticamp, NS
B,L,D
Lauries Motor Inn

Activity note: 3 Salmon Pools Trail: Hiking 13 kms/8 miles; 2.5 hours through beech woods, river canyon; short climbs, some rocky sections (Moderate). Le Vieux Chemin du Cap-Route trail is 3 miles/4.5 kms. (Difficult)

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Today we hike in the spectacular beauty of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and make our way to the west side of the Park. With panoramic views of canyons, highlands and seacoasts, the trails provide a chance to intimately explore the complex habitat of northern Cape Breton Island. We will hike the 3 Salmon Pools Trail along the Cheticamp River; into a gorge with deep salmon pools where black bears are sometimes spotted.

Lunch: Picnic lunch includes choice of sandwich, juice, piece of fruit, dessert item.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will explore Les Jardins du Cap-Rouge. Step back in time to turn-of-the-century Cap-Rouge (last century that is!). Meet a resident, perhaps even the postmaster or school mistress who will paint a picture of life in the late 1800's Acadie. Embark on a gentle guided walk to discover medicinal plants of the area and envision the gardens that once thrived near local homesteads.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Cheticamp.

DAY
4
Hiking: Skyline Trail, MacIntosh Brook, Lone Shieling
Cheticamp, NS
B,L
Lauries Motor Inn

Activity note: Skyline Trail: Hiking up to 6 miles/10 kms; 2.5 hours; headland cliff, ocean, on mostly groomed trails. Boardwalk with steps at headland (Moderate). MacIntosh Brook Trail: 1.75 miles/2.8 kms. (Easy)

Breakfast: Full buffet breakfast at the Inn includes hot and cold items, fresh fruit, choice of chilled fruit juices, milk, coffee, tea.

Morning: Today we hike two trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. A dramatic headland cliff overlooks the rugged coast from the end of the Skyline Trail. Enjoy an eagle's view of the Cabot Trail as it winds its way down the mountain. Skyline is one of the “must do” hikes on Cape Breton Island. You have the forest, the ocean, and the wildlife. The trail is a fairly level loop leading you through dense forest. Approximately half way around the loop, the trail deposits you on the upper ridge of a headland cliff above the Atlantic Ocean. Watch for whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the viewing decks. Sightings of moose are common; also, look for bald eagles, bears and numerous boreal birds that live in this habitat.

Lunch: Picnic lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch we hike the MacIntosh Brook Trail/Lone Shieling Trail. This short loop is a welcome break while traveling the Cabot Trail. It offers a step back in history, a learning experience along streams and through a forest populated heavily by 350-year old sugar maple. Learn about the Scottish Crofters, a hardy bunch. While moving their flocks to or from the highlands they would often seek refuge in stone huts much like the replica one found on the Lone Shieling trail. We return to the Inn late afternoon for a rug-hooking demonstration and a presentation about Cape Breton history. Discover the traditions and history of Cape Breton Island in an evening presentation. The Island's first inhabitants were the Mi’kmaq people, who have lived here for well over 2,000 years. Throughout the next few centuries, settlers came from England, France, Ireland and Scotland. In the early 18th century, French settlers built the Fortress of Louisbourg along with the first lighthouse in Canada, Louisbourg Lighthouse.

Dinner: Dinner on own.

DAY
5
Hiking: Mica Hill, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Ingonish, NS
B,L,D
Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

Activity note: Mica Hill Trail: Hiking 5 miles/8 kms; 3.5 hours. Terrain is highlands taiga, mica outcrop, with a gradual climb. (Moderate). Afternoon hike on another trail in the Park.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: This morning we depart for a hike on the Glasgow Lakes/Mica Hill Trail. This breathtaking trail winds through Acadian mixed forest and stunted taiga as it climbs to the wind-swept highlands plateau. It offers 360º views spanning the barrens, the dramatic Aspy fault, coastal villages far below and mountains reaching the most northern tip of Cape Breton. Continue along a narrower footpath to Mica Hill’s remarkable outcrops of quartz and mica.

Lunch: Picnic lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch we will embark on another hike in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Dinner: Dinner at the Lodge in Ingonish.

DAY
6
Hiking: Jack Pine/Coastal Trail, Middle Head Trail
Ingonish, NS
B,L,D
Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

Activity note: Jack Pine/Coastal Trail: Hiking 3.75 miles/6 kms; 2 hours on coastal trails, some short climbs, rugged/rocky sections, cobblestones. (Difficult). Middle Head Trail: Hiking 6 miles/10 kms; 2.5 hours, mostly level, following the landscape as it juts out to sea, some short climbs (Moderate).

Breakfast: Full breakfast buffet at the lodge.

Morning: Spend the day hiking in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the renowned Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail is one of the most beautiful drives you can experience and where Alexander Graham Bell made his famous quote about simple beauty: “I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all.” This morning's hike is along the coast at Ingonish Beach. Take in the ocean views at one of our most popular beaches, bordered by a gentle waterfall on one end and intersected by a freshwater brook. Continue on the scenic Jack Pine Trail, the Coastal Trail and onto the Jigging Cove Trail, along granite headlands, coastal meadows and cobblestone beaches.

Lunch: Picnic lunch

Afternoon: The afternoon hike is at Middle Head Trail which ends on the headland cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Be inspired by the beauty of the coastline on a hike along the stunning, rugged, Middle Head peninsula. Travel through a mixed forest, past relics of the past, including an old structural foundation, and a stone hearth. Middle Head trail starts at the Keltic Lodge in the Highland National Park, the trail is well kept and fairly easy hiking. The hike follows a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The most glorious sights on this trail are to be seen at the end, when the path leads to a cliff, with the Atlantic waters crashing below. From here you can look to the right over South Bay and see the end of Cape Smokey trail. This scenery is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. Opportunities to see seabirds, seals, whales and eagles.

Dinner: Dinner at the Lodge in Ingonish.

DAY
7
Hiking: Cape Smokey, Transfer to Halifax
Halifax, NS
B,L,D
Quality Inn Halifax Airport

Activity note: Cape Smokey Trail: 6 miles/10 kms (return). Approximately 4 hours. Some hilly sections, easy to moderate up and down. The trail descends to about 175 m (575 ft) and then climbs back to 280 m (925 ft) before again descending to 170 m (550 ft) at the Stanley Point Look-Off. There are no really steep climbs.

Breakfast: Full breakfast buffet at the lodge.

Morning: On our final morning in Cape Breton will hike Cape Smokey. This trail starts at the Cape Smokey Provincial Park. Smokey is one of the most famous mountains in Cape Breton. As you climb the steep southern face you will notice the new growth forest on either side of you, due to a forest fire that devastated the area in 1968. The first half-hour or so of the trail is all downhill (and is all uphill on the way back). Climbing up the other side of this valley you will reach open terrain and the sight of the first look outs. There are several similar look outs along this ridge top, all with spectacular views. On a clear day you may see industrial Cape Breton -Glace Bay, New Waterford, and Sydney Mines- even though they are more than 30 miles away. Continuing across the headlands is a constant reminder of what fire can do to the land. Keep your eyes open for moose.

Lunch: We will stop for lunch en route to Halifax.

Afternoon: Coach transfer back to Halifax for our final night. Depart after lunch (approximately 2:30), arrival in Halifax at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Final dinner at the hotel in Halifax.

DAY
8
Program Concludes, Departure
Halifax, NS
B

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel includes hot and cold items, fresh fruit, juice, coffee/tea.

Morning: Departures after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Check-out is 12:00 noon. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.