Hike Franey Mountain

Canada Franey Mountain Trailhead

Added by Eleanor Isdale

Great half-day hike off the famous Cabot Trail drive, with panoramic views of Clyburn Brook canyon and the Cape Breton Coast.  In the fall, the colours are incredibly vivid.

If you find yourself driving the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton, you can't miss out on the hike up to Franey Mountain.  From the Cabot Trail, you will find the trailhead for Franey Mountain just north of the Clyburn River.  Take a turn off onto Franey Road and follow it for about 1km to the parking lot.  

This trail is a loop, and is steep and rugged at times.  It's well groomed at the beginning, and you are first surrounded by hardwood Acadian forests which then transitions to boreal forest.  As the hike progresses, you fill find it becoming gradually steeper.  At some narrow points there are stairs in place.  As the forest transitions, you will notice some boggy areas and boardwalks to take you through the marsh and the smooth rocks surrounding it.  You will reach a plateau area, where there is the first view point to look out across the canyon.  After some rest and appreciation, keep climbing and you will reach the top of Franey Mountain, which is covered in boulders and smooth granite slabs.  Make sure to be careful if it's wet!  Take in the views of the canyon and the marvelous Cape Breton highlands and its coastline.   From here you can see the nearby Ingonish Harbour, as well as Cape Smokey.  Keep your eyes peeled and you might even see a moose! 

Follow the loop back down the mountain for a more gradual and less rugged hike back to the car.  In the fall, the colours of the leaf litter here are incredible.  There are a number of great camping spots in the area if you're ready to pitch a tent after the hike, which can be seen here:  Cape Breton Highlands National Park Camping.  Ingonish Beach campsite is highly recommended!

Pack List

  • Day pack with snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots
  • Warm clothes for hikes in the fall
  • Camping gear and food for those happy campers!
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Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



4.3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

984.3 Feet



Easy Parking

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4 months ago

Great Hike for All

What I love about this hike is that it is definitely challenging but not too strenuous that a beginner can do it by taking their time, but is still enough of a challenge for a an intermediate hiker to enjoy. The views are spectacular. I like adding it with another shorter trail like Middlehead.

4 months ago

Added by Eleanor Isdale

I'm a 24 year old Australian currently exploring the Pacific North-West, based in Vancouver BC.

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