Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cycle all or part of the Cabot Trail which, according to Lonely Planet, is one of the world's top ten cycling destinations.

...And now we're making it even better!  As work proceeds on upgrading the Cabot Trail, we are making every effort possible to provide a paved shoulder for cyclists. Road inclines are marked in steeper areas and bike stands have been installed at several locations.

Road inclines

Road inclines
- Elevation Grade
Smokey Mountain 366 m / 1,200 ft 12% to 15%
North Mountain 467 m / 1,460 ft 12% to 15%
MacKenzie Mountain 370 m / 1,222 ft 9% to 12%
French Mountain 452 m / 1,492 ft 9% to 12%
Note: Smokey Mountain is located outside the park boundary.
French and MacKenzie mountaintops are connected and have a steep incline on either side.

Length of the steepest inclines

Length of the steepest inclines Distance
Bottom to the top of French Mountain 5.5 km / 3.4 mi
Pleasant Bay to top of MacKenzie Mountain 4.7 km / 2.9 mi
Lone Sheiling to top of North Mountain 4 km / 2.5 mi
Bottom to top of North Mountain (from Big Intervale) 5.5 km / 3.4 mi
Bottom to top of Smokey Mountain (from Wreck Cove) 7.2 km / 4.5 mi
Bottom to top of Smokey Mountain (from Ingonish Harbour) 10 km / 6.2 mi

Water stops

Map: Water stops along the Cabot Trail

Here is a list of places you can find potable water along your bike ride. Check at the Ingonish and Chéticamp visitor centres for daily updates for availability of potable water sources.

Most of the locations mentioned are within the boundaries of the park, but we are also including the communities of Chéticamp, Petit Étang, Pleasant Bay, Cape North, Neil’s Harbour, Ingonish and Ingonish Beach, where water can be purchased.

Potable water Distance between
Chéticamp (community) - Petit Étang (community) 4.5 km / 2.8 mi
Petit Étang (community) - Chéticamp Visitor Centre 3 km / 1.9 mi
Chéticamp Visitor Centre - Chéticamp Campground 250 m / 820 ft
Chéticamp Campground - Corney Brook 10.7 km / 6.7 mi
Corney Brook - Pleasant Bay (community) 25.4 km / 15.8 mi
Pleasant Bay (community) - MacIntosh Brook 3.2 km / 2 mi
MacIntosh Brook - Cape North (community) 26.2 km / 16.3 mi
Cape North (community) - Neil's Harbour (community) 17.9 km / 11.1 mi
Neil's Harbour (community) - Black Brook North washrooms 6.2 km / 3.6 mi
Black Brook North washrooms - Black Brook South washrooms 1.2 km / 0.7 mi
Black Brook South washrooms - Broad Cove Campground 9.7 km / 6 mi
Broad Cove Campground - Ingonish (community) 2.9 km / 1.8 mi
Ingonish (community) - Ingonish Beach Campground 7.6 km / 4.7 mi
Ingonish Beach Campground - Ingonish Beach Day Use Area 1.2 km / 0.7 mi
Ingonish Beach Day Use Area - Ingonish Visitor Centre 1.3 km / 0.8 mi
Ingonish Visitor Centre - Ingonish Beach (community) 700 m / 0.4 mi

Cycling along the Cabot Trail near Le Buttereau

Distances between the park's campgrounds

Campgrounds Distance between
Chéticamp - Corney Brook 17.5 km / 10.8 mi
Corney Brook - Fishing Cove* 14.7 km / 9.1 mi
Fishing Cove* - MacIntosh Brook 14.2 km / 8.8 mi
MacIntosh Brook - Big Intervale 15.2 km / 9.4 mi
Big Intervale - Broad Cove 43.2 km / 26.8 mi
Broad Cove - Ingonish Beach 10.3 km / 6.4 mi
* Note: Fishing Cove is a backcountry campground and requires a 6 km walk (one way) to get to the camping area

Cycling along the Cabot Trail near Le Buttereau

Cycling along the Cabot Trail, one of the world's top ten cycling destinations.

Several tour companies offer supported rides and rentals.

See , , and .

Cycling on trails

Several park trails are suitable for cycling, including Freshwater Lake, Clyburn Valley, Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge, Le chemin du Buttereau, Le Buttereau and Salmon Pools.

All secondary and campground roads are also suitable for cycling. Please use caution on gravel roads and trails, especially after heavy rains.

Please remember that Nova Scotia law requires cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet (on and off-road) and states that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.

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