This trail is my favourite hike along the Cabot Trail and features stunning views.
In order to do this hike properly, in my opinion, your first stop should be the Dancing Goat Café in Margaree. It is usually pretty busy, so call ahead and order your sandwiches so they are ready for pick up on your way through. This trip I ordered the Avocado & Bacon sandwich while the Mr. ordered the Chicken sandwich – both on homemade multi grain bread. As usual, they were amazing! We each had half before the hike and then indulged in the other half after the hike was over.
Also, if you want to use the bathroom (with running water) or get any final supplies, stop in Chéticamp before making the final stretch to the beginning of the Skyline trail.
And now, the main event!
The Skyline Trail is one of 27 hiking trails through Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada (#7 on the map). It is a 7.5km round trip that is a pretty easy walk… There is a bit of a descent as you make you way out to the view of French Mountain, the Ocean and Chéticamp in the distance making the return trip on a bit of an incline. Not to worry though, there are many rest stops along the way as well as animals and vegetation to admire.
This trip we were lucky and saw a family of partridge and two moose. Being terrified of birds, the partridge gave me more of a fright than the moose… I’m weird, I know… Seeing a moose this close up and not on the side of a highway is a real treat! Be mindful that they are wild animals, get a picture, and then keep on hiking.
The hike in its entirety took us 2 hours. There were many families and people of all ages on the trail – it can be done by most but be sure to adjust your timing accordingly… Also, be sure to take a few minutes and enjoy the smell of Christmas (pine trees) as you approach the amazing views near the end of the trail. Since it’s August right now I was thrilled to smell Christmas (my all time favourite holiday)!
With a baby, this hike is VERY do-able. We opted to carry our little dude in his MEC carrier, however there were many strollers along the trail. We should have brought warmer shoes (or any for that matter) for our little dude however… keep in mind that the babies aren’t actually moving and warming up during the hike! In the end, he faired out just fine…was a little cold, but in good cheer throughout the excursion.
On the way back to Baddeck we stopped at the Dancing Goat Café yet again. This time for treats. We bought maple shortbread cookies among other things… This was my first time trying them, and they didn’t disappoint – the maple flavour was very subtle, but paired with the buttery goodness of a shortbread cookie, they were the perfect reward after our hike.
OTHER CAPE BRETON HIKES