There are many ways to discover the beauty of Cape Breton Island at any time of year, but fall brings something extra special. From driving the Cabot Trail through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park with its rolling hills and valleys decked out in their finest fall colors of crimsom, ambers, and golds, to taking in one of the many events during the Celtic Colours International, here is a list of ideas to help you experience Cape Breton Island in the fall.
Drive the Cabot Trail
Drive the famous Cabot Trail, weaving your way through Cape Breton Highlands National Park’s rolling hills and valleys decked out in their finest fall colors. The colors begin to change around late September and are often at their peak during early to mid-October in Cape Breton.
Hike the Highlands
Hike to your heart’s content when you take part in the annual Hike the Highlands Festival. There are 26 trails in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park alone and many more located outside of the park, and experienced hiking guides will lead you through all of them during the festival. From waterfalls to epic lookoffs, no two hikes are the same. Try a guided hike of the famous Skyline Trail at sunset, or take the 10 trails in a day challenge for major bragging rights.
Explore Meat Cove
Drive to Meat Cove on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, a remote little village that is often described as the edge of the earth, and you’ll be treated to astounding fall colors. Pack a tent and spend the night at a campground overlooking the ocean. There are also hiking trails for you to explore.
Enjoy Celtic music
Kick up your heels at the annual Celtic Colours International Festival – a Celtic music extravaganza that showcases musical talent from Nova Scotia and around the world. Don’t worry if you’ve missed the festival, you can catch a Sunday Ceilidh at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre year-round.
Play a few rounds of golf
Golf at one of (or all three of) Cape Breton Island’s prestigious golf courses – Cabot Cliffs or Cabot Links in Inverness and Highlands Links in Ingonish.
Cycle the coast
Cycle or trek the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, a scenic 92-kilometre trail that stretches from Port Hastings to Inverness. With beautiful views, great beaches, parks, shops, eateries, and towns and villages to stop in along the way, it’s a perfect way for outdoor enthusiasts to experience Cape Breton’s fall colors.
Sample some whisky
Visit Glenora Distillery, nestled at the foot of the highlands mountain range and surrounded by fall colors, to discover and taste North America’s first single malt whisky. You can also visit the nearby Red Shoe Pub, owned by internationally acclaimed Cape Breton musicians The Rankin Family, for some lively, toe-tapping entertainment.
Go whale watching
Enjoy a nature cruise or whale watching tour and experience an amazing view of Cape Breton’s fall colors from the water. Watch for whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea birds, and more, and be sure to dress warm as the temperature is always a little cooler on the ocean. Many Cape Breton Island boat tours operate until mid to late October.
Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture
Experience an Eskasoni Cultural Journey and discover the Mi’kmaq culture as you walk the picturesque 2.4-kilometre trail on Goat Island in Eskasoni. Enjoy a traditional snack of luskinigan and tea to keep you warm during your adventure.