Home to the renowned Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the ideal stop for those on a Cape Breton vacation. The park not only offers truly breathtaking viewpoints and a glimpse of the truly diverse array of wildlife inhabiting the land, but also a rich cultural history that goes all the way back to the Ice Age.
The park was established in 1936. The largest protected land area in Nova Scotia, it is made up of 950 square kilometers of land - about 20% of northern Cape Breton. Marine areas surrounding the park play a part in the park's ecosystem.
Those on a Cape Breton travel trip are taken aback when they see the highland and ocean scenery that the park has to offer. The Cabot trail (a third of this scenic roadway is located within the park itself) runs right along the coast and those stopping in the park or even driving through can see the steep cliffs and canyons that make up part of Cape Breton Highlands National Park's landscape.
There is quite a mix of wildlife and plant life in the park due to the maritime climate. There are several rare and endangered species that call Cape Breton National Park home. There is also a rich historical background to learn about when visiting the area that is rooted in Scottish and Arcadian history and cultural.
Those who plan a Cape Breton vacation will want to keep the park and its many activities in mind when deciding upon where to visit in Nova Scotia. At Cape Breton Highlands National Park visitors can camp, hike, swim, fish, golf, picnic and sightsee. There are seasonal activities for the winter months including cross-country skiing on the park's maintained trails. If you are an avid wildlife enthusiast you may chance to see deer, squirrels, Canadian lynx, beavers or bobcats. Because Cape Breton Highlands Park is one of only four areas in the world protecting salmon breeding habitats, you can see schools of Atlantic salmon along the shoreline.
There are several Cape Breton vacation companies to assist you in planning your trip to Nova Scotia. Whether you are a regular visitor or this is your first time to the area, local travel agencies can provide you with all the information you need and make you feel right at home with their east coast charm.
On your way to the park, try to stop at one of the information centres. There you will be able to buy permits, see education exhibits or slide shows and purchase tapes or books that details the areas history. You can also learn about safety and preservation techniques at this centres, as well as on the Parks Canada website.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is open year round, but Parks Canada only offers full services during the high period (which runs from mid-May to early October).
It is recommended that you book at least four days and nights for an exploration of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, but if you do not have the time two full days and one overnight would allow you to see many of the highlights. Even if your time is limited, make sure you take a few hours to stop and enjoy all the beauty and variety this east coast park has to offer.