Province/Territory: Nova Scotia

Ride High in the Highlands

  • 300 km of coastal highway
  • 500 years of colonial history
  • 02 wheels

Two lanes of empty asphalt stretch out before you—the Cabot Trail as it circumnavigates Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. Atlantic waves crash on the shoreline; a humpback whale breaches on the horizon. You can already hear the Gaelic music—if only in your mind. Saddle up on your motorcycle. Thumb the ignition. Let out the clutch—and allow Gaelic pride, French-Acadian culture and the wild spaces of Cape Breton Highlands National Park invite you.

The Cabot Trail, the signature riding-route on Cape Breton Island, is a road custom-tailored for the motorcyclist. Sweeping curves pass scenic viewpoints and lead through heritage townsites. Stop for the evening to savour a glass of Seyval Blanc from the province's Domaine de Grand Pre winery and dine on local lobster. Sleep in a tent, or in a century-old bed-and-breakfast, then set off again in the morning. It is just you, your bike, the road and the Atlantic wind—ride high in the Highlands of Cape Breton Island.

Why you should visit
  • Lean into the coastal curves of Cabot Trail —Nova Scotia's premier motorcycle touring route.
  • Take day-hikes into the 949 square kilometer Cape Breton Highlands National Park and swim in the park’s freshwater lake or at the sandy ocean beaches.
  • View puffins, cormorants, eagles as well as seals and other marine life at Bird Island; take out the binoculars at Pleasant Bay—whale watching capital of Cape Breton Island.
  • Dance a jig to spirited Gaelic music at a Cape Breton Ceilidh; purchase cultural artwork at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Designs’ Craft Shop in St. Ann’s.
  • Dine on fresh, local, sustainable seafood—scallops, lobster and salmon—at boutique eateries throughout the island.
  • Immerse in the French-Acadian culture of Region de Cheticamp, home to three centuries of unique Maritime heritage.

Weather

  • Cape Breton Island sees mild to warm temperatures throughout the motorcycling season (May to October). May daytime temperatures hover around 8° C, rising to 13° C in June and 18° C in July and August. September sees daytime averages of about 13° C, and October is cooler, with daytime averages of 8° C.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
When to go
Need to know
  • Motorcycle helmets are mandatory in Canada.
  • Motorcycle operator licence and insurance is required.
  • Wear warm and waterproof clothing in May and October.
  • Sydney is the largest city on Cape Breton Island; all services are available.
  • The Cabot Trail is an all-season highway, 298 km in length.
Getting Here