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Friday, January 11, 2013

Top 5 Travel Experiences of 2012, Hiking the Skyline Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The landscape of Cape Breton is a mesmerizing mix of rolling summits, precipitous cliffs, high headlands, sweeping white sand beaches, and glacially carved lakes, all bordered by the ocean. The Cabot Trail is a road that hugs the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the rugged northwestern edge of Nova Scotia, where around every bend you want to pull over, spew expletives of joy at the stupendous vista, and take another snapshot. Indeed, it’s as close to Big Sur as the East Coast gets. Add bald eagles, moose, coyotes, and pilot whales fluking in the nearby waters and you want to leave the car behind and soak it all up on two legs. 

In early October, I visited Cape Breton and sampled one of the most popular trails, Skyline, a 5.7-mile loop atop the ridge of a coastal headland. I took deep breaths of the sweet pines as I meandered over the roots and rocks on the grassy path. Eventually, the trail snakes to the left offering expansive views of the sea. At the halfway point, a boardwalk leads down the headland and wow, what a majestic stroll it is. To the left is a backbone of peaks, to the right is all ocean as far as the eye can see. I sat down on a bench and bit into my honeycrisp apple, watching a whale spout. It was hard to leave, but after having my fill, I made my way back on the loop. Within minutes, I was staring at a mother moose and her calf. No surprise that the Skyine made my top 5 list in 2012! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/11/13 at 01:00 PM
Hiking • (2) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


I also hiked the Skyline in early June of 2012, and had the experience of seeing a moose and calf as well. They were behind us, and we would have missed them if not for the sound of a snapping twig. One of my favourite moments of that trip was the Skyline Trail (and the moose). :)

Picture of Danielle Comment by Danielle
on 01/11/13 at 08:04 PM

Thanks for sharing, Danielle! Great to see that someone agrees with me.

Picture of Steve Jermanok Comment by Steve Jermanok
on 01/11/13 at 08:38 PM

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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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