Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island: Address, Phone Number, Cabot Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Cabot Trail
One of the most magnificent loop drives in North America treats visitors to the spectacular scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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1,768 reviews
Very good

Corine Poot Blok
Bodegraven168 contributions
Nov. 2021
We drove this trail counterclockwise, we read it was favorable to light and views. Were not disappointed. The east coast has more appeal then the west and unfortunately there are more viewpoints on the west than on the east. Nevertheless beautiful drive and stunning views. With several stops to enjoy surroundings and views we took 5 hours.
Written November 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Toronto, Canada618 contributions
Sep. 2021 • Friends
We drove the Cabot Trail counter clockwise from our motel outside of Baddeck. I was a liitle fearful before we set out, as I thought it would be a white knuckle drive like The Amalfi Coast in Italy. My fears did not materialize, as this was not the least bit “scary” as the road was wide, there were guard rails along the coast and there was very little traffic on this warm and sunny day. We never stopped until we reached Lakey’s Point, although there were look out points before our stop. We stopped to hike Franey Trail(excellent), White Point and Skyline Trail and were on the road for a total of 11 hours.
The sweeping views of the rugged coastline, green rolling hills, Atlantic Ocean on the east and Gulf of St. Lawrence on the west are stunning- but sadly, there just aren’t a lot of these views. For this reason, I was a little underwhelmed as I had been led to believe that the entire Cabot Trail was breathtaking. I am glad I was finally able to experience driving the Cabot Trail and see the breathtaking sights that I did see and would certainly recommend this drive to others. However, for those who have driven a lot of mountain/coastal roads out west or in other countries, they may be underwhelmed.
Written October 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Toronto, Canada323 contributions
Sep. 2021 • Couples
Chose to drive Cabot Trail in one day, which for us (not campers, not really hikers either) was perfect. Leaving Sydney at 8am we drove the trail counter-clockwise. I had read that it’s a bit nerve-wracking for drivers to go this way, but I felt extremely comfortable the entire time, there was never a time I felt nervous at all. In fact, I would recommend counter-clockwise as you get to enjoy the scenery much earlier in the trip rather that driving through noting but trees for the first 2 hours if you go clockwise. We never felt rushed, traffic was light, and we took advantage of nearly every lookout point. Some of the views are just breathtaking. Considering it took us 9 hours from start to finish, which also included a restaurant stop in Cheticamp, it was a leisurely 9 hours. It wasn’t like we were stuck in the car all day, we got out and walked around a lot. Now, if you do plan to do any hiking at all, you will definitely need more than 1 day. 1 day is fine for a drive around, but there’s so much more you can see and do if you allow yourself more time. Definitely glad we did it! I think doing that same drive but later in October when the leaves have changed colour would be spectacular.
Written September 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ottawa, Canada44 contributions
Sep. 2021
I suppose this drive might be spectacular if you are used to the desert (for example). But if you have driven along heavily forested and waterside ( big lake or ocean) roads then this is really not so spectacular. There are only a few spots on this drive where the view was jaw dropping. If you happen to be in the area, it would be worth doing the drive but for me, it wasn't worth making a special trip to NS and then driving all the way over to this side of the province just to do the "world famous Cabot Trail"
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso231 contributions
Aug. 2021
This scenic drive should be planned out well and your stops prioritized if you only have one day but you should not miss doing this drive if you are in Cape Breton. Make sure your car is in good condition and test your brakes. There is a lot of steep and winding parts. If you have kids, make sure you pack a lot of snacks and drinks. Make sure you have bathing suits and hiking shoes at the ready. Part of the trail goes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park so make sure you visit the website to choose a trail or two to hike. My daughter and I hiked Skyline in the late afternoon and it was marvelous. You should also take time for Ingonish Beach on the eastern side or Margaree Harbour Beach on the western side of the island. There are also great choices for meals and shopping on the route. Breakfast at Dancing Goat in Margaree is highly recommended. The Chowder House in Neil's Harbour should also not be missed. Going off trail a bit and heading to Meat Cove at the northernmost point of the island is worth it for the dramatic views.
Written September 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Levis, Canada1,504 contributions
Aug. 2021 • Couples
Very long day trip from Sydney (9-6 PM). Lots of trees so most of the road without interesting views. Make sure you do the loop starting at baddeck and going north to ingonish to be on good side of the road. A few interesting stops: lakies head, ingonish beach, veterans monument, etc. Bring a picnic. Restaurants on the road but you’ll lose time if you are day tripping from Sydney. Did the skyline trail. Not impressed. Walked 2 hours with few interesting views but saw 2 mooses on the trail.
Written August 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Thornhill, Canada3,365 contributions
Aug. 2021
The Cabot Trail is named after Giovani Cabotto who landed in Cape Breton in the 15th century. I did the Cabot Trail+ in a 12-hr frenzy, driving 525 km over 7 hours. The trail is only 300 km long, but I went off the beaten path many, many times to see UNESCO Biosphere Reserves Bras d’Or Lake and Fundy and Canadian National Historic sites of Marconi (Florence) and Bell (Baddeck). There are phenomenal views, lush vegetation, scenic lookouts, twisting roads and steep inclines to add to the adventure. I did parts of the Skyline Trail and Cape Breton Highland National Park. I looked for whales at MacKenzie Mtn. Lookout (didn’t see any). I found great chocolate at Cabotto, pricey wine at eileanan breaghaa winery and disappointing fish and chips at Meat Cove. All in all, a tiring but very fulfilling day. You can do it all but you just need to plan and prioritiize….
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barrie, Canada859 contributions
Jul. 2021
For those who love to drive or for those who love natural beauty, the Cabot Trail has it all and more. You begin at sea level (either from the Boularderie side or the Margaree side) and progressively drive up... and up... and up... until you are inundated with phenomenal views of the ocean, Cape Breton's coastline and more.

There isn't just coast though; as you progress more into the middle of the trail (in the north), you are bombarded with minute after minute or lush greenery, which can look like something out of Jurassic Park or southeast Asia. Speaking of, near Ingonish, there is a lookout that if you showed someone who didn't know any better, they could think it was a coast of Thailand, Vietnam, something of that nature; just brilliant.

The drive itself is fun, provided there aren't any unpleasant people on the road (I had a man brake-check me twice and give me the finger, even though I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary) and you will need to go through the checkpoint for the National Park, but (like Banff) if you aren't planning to stop and just drive the trail, you can just pass through.

The Western part of the drive is the most-lovely, in my opinion and it is the part of the trail seen in many postcards/promotional material for the trail; pictures do not do it justice. Again, if you are on Cape Breton, you owe it to yourself to come to the Cabot Trail.
Written August 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

20 contributions
Aug. 2021
Great views. We drove counter clockwise which means we were closest to the water. Prior to the trip, I was worried that the drive may be difficult and unsafe, but there are guard rails and there are proper look out points to pull off onto so you don't need to worry about car crashes from slamming on the breaks to be able to stop and get that perfect photo.

I had my brakes done on my car before I went and I do not regret this at ALL. Those brakes got a LOT of use on the Cabot Trail. Also, there are some steep hills (like 13% grades) and sometimes it felt like my transmission was going to drop out of the bottom of my car when going up those steep hills. Still, we never felt like we were in danger and the views are certainly worth it.

The whole trip (non-stop) takes about 3.5-4 hours but I'd recommend doing the trip over a couple days if you really want to take it all in. There are places to hike, dine, and stay (lodging) and it is worth it to spend your time researching the area and planning appropriately.

I recommend doing the trail in the morning when it seems to be less busy to ensure that look out points are not too filled with cars and you don't end up forgoing a look out because it's full with other vehicles.

If you have limited time, do NOT waste your time stopping to take pics at the beginning of the trail. It will be tempting, but you really want to save your time to spend it in places later on the trail (i.e. starting at Lakie's Head, if you are traveling counter-clockwise) - anything before then will be pretty, but generic and a waste of your time in comparison the the sweeping views and dramatic cliff sides that you see as you make your way north through the Cape Breton National Park.

There are tourism centers on the trail and the workers there are very helpful with advice and recommendations.

We stayed in Sydney the night before our drive on the Cabot Trail, but I wish I'd stayed at a more proximate location. There are lots of bed and breakfasts, etc. closer to the trail that would allow you to maximize your on the trail.

Like much of Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail roads aren't particularly well marked and signs are minimal and ineffectively placed. But the roads are wider on the Cabot Trail than the narrow roads that dominate the rest of the island.

I would definitely recommend doing the Cabot Trail.
Written August 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Halifax229 contributions
Oct. 2020
Doing the trail is an incredible experience. The twists and turns up and down the hills are interesting but the views are what it's all about. Allow enough time to stop for pictures because you will want to stop many, many times.
Written October 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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