Best hike in Nova Scotia
Granted, I can’t say I’ve been on every single trail in the province. But it’ll be very hard to find a better hike than the Skyline trail. It is easy, rewarding and there is a chance to see wildlife. Also, it affords some of the best views of the sea I have ever seen.
Why hike the skyline trail?
It’s one of those beautiful pictures you see in the travel brochures, on websites and social media. The winding boardwalk descending into the coastal hills, with views of the clear blue sea and setting sun. If you are on Instagram you won’t want to miss this shot.
On the first part of the trail there is a lookout point, fenced in so that moose won’t get close. That’s how many moose there are in the area! We saw three of them during our 1.5h hike, right by and even on the trail. Just make sure to keep a safe distance of at least 100 feet (30m).
What to expect
You’ll start your hike with a walk through the woods. But you’re still rather exposed to the elements and it’s not tall trees. There is the option of doing the hike as a loop but this summer parts were closed. Out and back is the easier route. It’s a gravel trail all the way until you get to the boardwalk. By that time you leave the woods and get unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean. The out and back trail is just over 7km long, it took us about 1.5h. You may want to plan in more time for pictures, especially if you go to watch the sunset.
What to bring?
It’s an easy trail, so you won’t need extra gear beyond the basics. Make sure your batteries are charged, as you’ll be taking lots of pictures. For advice on what it is in my hiking backpack, check out my blogpost.
How to get to the Skyline trail
The skyline trail is located in Cape Breton Highlands National Park on Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. The main road around Cape Breton is called Cabot trail. Once you are on the Cabot trail on the west coast of the island, it’s easy. The hiking trails in the park are well marked, so once between Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay you can literally follow signs to the parking lot.