Baddeck is at the south central point of the Cabot Trail loop.
Here's the northern
section of Cape Breton Island, copied from our well-worn AAA map, with
the Cabot Trail highlighted in yellow:
From our campground we drove west and north past the multiple Middle River and Margaree
communities. As in New England, several nearby towns have nearly the
same name -- Margaree Forks, Upper Margaree, SW Margaree, NE Margaree,
Margaree Valley, etc.
The Margaree Valley is renowned for its salmon. There are numerous
creeks, rivers, lakes, and wetlands in northern Cape Breton Island. Most
of the interior of this area is wilderness, with no roads or even trails
We saw lots of signs for moose but didn't see any of the
critters in person. There are also bears and coyotes in the area.
At Margaree Harbour we got our first glimpse of the Gulf of St. Lawrence
on the western side of the island. This bridge crosses the Margaree
River at its mouth:
We followed the beautiful coastline for about sixteen miles to
the town of Cheticamp, which lies on the southwest corner of Cape Breton
Jim and Casey peer over the cliff above the Gulf of
St. Lawrence soon after we reached the coast.
Fishing boats in Cheticamp Harbour
We had two goals in Cheticamp -- to find a restaurant where we could get
something for lunch (a problem, since it was only 9:30 AM) and to check
out the Acadian museum that features rug-hooking, spinning, and weaving.
We didn't get anything for lunch that early. I did go into the museum to
look at its interesting displays.
LOVED CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK!!
At the western entrance to
Cape Breton Highlands NP we went into the
visitor center to get a detailed park map and pay our entry fee.
At some Canadian parks you don't have to pay if you're just passing through (e.g., Fundy
NP). Here, you have to pay unless you live north of the park.
We got day passes for $6.80 CA each (senior rate). They are good until 4
PM tomorrow if we decide to go back. There's a five-mile trail** I'd
like to do but it's not worth such a long drive to get there.
the Skyline Trail, on a ridge over a dramatic headland overlooking the
rugged Gulf of St. Lawrence coast. Whales, bald eagles, moose, and bears may
be seen. Dogs aren't allowed on the trail. Interestingly, Jim saw a bald
eagle while driving today but I missed it.)
Did I mention all the hills on the Cabot Trail??
It's a fun roller-coaster ride in a passenger vehicle.
One-third of the Cabot Trail goes through the national park. The road surfaces
on the whole loop were the best in the park. Where the highway goes
through other areas, it was often very rough. We were glad we weren't
pulling the Cameo today!
The worst pavement is on the eastern side of the loop, south of the
park, one reason we preferred the western side of the loop.
Memorial to Canadian military veterans who died overseas in
service to their country
View south along the Gulf coast from the memorial
We stopped at numerous overlooks to scan the views and take pictures. We
never got tired of looking at the beautiful mountains or the water.
Much of the terrain and flora reminded us of British Columbia, the
Yukon, and Alaska.
Some of the rugged, rocky coastline also reminded us of places we've
been in Maine, Oregon, and California. (You'll see that especially in
photos on the next page from the Atlantic side of the park.)
We reached the high
point on the Cabot Trail in the northwest part of the park between
Presq'ile and Pleasant Bay
View from Fishing Cove "look off" (Canadian term
View toward Pleasant Bay from McKenzie Mountain
The road drops over 1,400 feet in the next few miles to Pleasant Bay in
beautiful serpentine curves that are best viewed from the air, as in
this photo from an interpretive panel in the park visitor center (sorry
about the quality):
Here's another photo taken aerially during the fall and copied from the
Going clockwise around the Cabot Trail meant we went down that
slope to the bay. Here are some photos I took on the way down:
Perfect place for a picnic
Continued on the next page: photos on the eastern side of
the Cabot Trail loop
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil