• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    5.7 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    377.3 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Hike a rugged headland cliff above the coastline of Cape Breton on this relatively easy, well-worn hiking trail. Watch for whales cresting in the distant waves, moose wandering in the forest, and eagles riding the wind.

Skyline Trail is on the west coast of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The highway through the park, also known as the Cabot Trail forms a sort of circle along the coast of northern Cape Breton. Whether you're coming from the east or west, you should accompany your hike on the Skyline Trail by driving the entire loop. There are great viewpoints and short hikes all along the highway.

Watch for the trailhead on the north side of the highway. There is plenty of parking because the trail can get pretty busy in the peak season.

The first couple kilometres follow a well-worn trail and occasional boardwalk through boreal forest and a moose-protection enclosure. The enclosure is a testing ground to protect the young trees and allow for natural regeneration to occur without the high-density moose population damaging the boreal forest ecology—so make sure you close the gates behind you.

This portion of the trail ends at a headland that overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Cabot Trail to the west and south. From this point, you can either double back to the trailhead if you're short on time, or follow the trail north on a loop that offers a few more viewpoints and pleasant walk through the scrubby forest of Cape Breton's hills.

This is a great hike for families looking to stretch their legs, burn some kids' energy and get a good feel for the beauty in Cape Breton Highlands. If you're headed southwest from the Skyline Trail, stop in Chéticamp for some freshly caught seafood or a view of the sunset on the harbour.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Rain gear
  • Water
  • Snacks
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Jonathon Reed Explorer

Adventure-based photographer and videographer. Sunriser.

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