This content is also available in: Vietnamese
The Cabot trail, which spans approximately 300 kilometers around the northern tip of Nova Scotia, is one of the most scenic and famous routes of Canada. It is a highway that hugs the curves of the Cape Breton Highlands and delivers spectacular views of Canada’s Atlantic coastline. Although you can drive through it in a single day, it is best enjoyed over two to three days.
Driving through the Ceilidh Trail, which renders gorgeous views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we entered the Cabot Trail through its Western entrance. Once you start on the trail, there is an unmistakable feeling that you’re about to embark on a memorable trip. The curvy roads cut through unpopulated and unspoiled land, peppered with little fishing communities and villages. Seeing it for the first time, it feels like you are venturing through foreign territory. The green hills and ocean cliff sides are reminiscent of scenery you may see driving through the Ring of Kerry in Ireland or the lush mountains of northern Italy.
Our first stop was Chéticamp, a small fishing village with a population of just over 3,000 people. It is a landing spot for travellers who are looking for a place to rest, to eat, or to just enjoy the view. There are a few overnight accommodations to choose from – anything from a bed and breakfast to a standard motel room. However, for the ultimate experience, you can rent a cliff-side cottage that allows you to hear the clashing waters below and the birds all around. At nighttime, join other travellers around a bonfire and share tales of the animals you’ve encountered along the Trail or things you would like to see. With some planning, and weather permitting, you can even book a fishing trip with some fishermen to see how the locals perfect their trade.
Beyond Chéticamp is the entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which takes up the majority of the Cabot Trail. There are many lookout points to stop at and enjoy the views of the valleys below, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence – including the notable view from Skyline Trail (near French Mountain summit) where you can see the actual road sculpted onto the side of the mountains. Some hiking trails will even lead you to waterfalls, such as the Beulach Ban Falls. Once you arrive at Pleasant Bay, you know you’ve reached the halfway point of the Cabot Trail. Stops here are often accompanied by a whale watching adventure or a stop at unique places like the Timmons Folk Art house.
As you travel through the eastern side of the Cabot Trail, the scenery does not disappoint. A noteworthy place to stop is the Chowderhouse at Neils Harbor, where you can get a bowl of the most delicious seafood chowder, a side of fresh mussels, and a catch of the day. Have your meal while overlooking the lighthouse and listening to the waves colliding on the rocks below.
Whether you travel from west to east or east to west on the Cabot Trail, the truth remains the same: Canada’s East Coast is spectacular and must be experienced at least once in your life. Not only are the views exceptional, the people are incredibly hospitable and tourists are bound to feel welcome. So the next time you decide to take a road trip out East, whether planned or impromptu, consider travelling to beautiful Nova Scotia and seeing the Cabot Trail.