Bicycle Tours Canada

Cape Breton Highlands

Launch Photo Gallery
In cycling circles, the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia is renowned for its twin biking treasures: Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the 180-mile Cabot Trail. With its serpentine route and nonstop seaside panoramas, the Trail belongs on the “life list” of every dedicated biker. Our route includes the most beautiful sections of both the Trail and the Park, along with easier cycling in the interior’s Margaree Valley: sugar maple forests and salmon-rich streams, the Artisan Trail with its wealth of talented crafters, and the Fleur-de-Lis Route, ending at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Feedback
  • What's Included
  • Superlative cycling along the famed Cabot Trail
  • Bike and hike in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oceanfront inns and fresh-off-the-boat seafood
  • Quirky Maritime museums
  • Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
  • Unforgettable farewell feast: The Beggar’s Banquet
  • French Acadian and Scottish history and culture
  • A “life list” ride for serious cyclists

Day 1: Late morning transfer from Sydney Airport or Baddeck (via ground shuttle service from Halifax) to Margaree Valley in the island interior. Savor the views at the 250-acre Normaway Inn, a graceful shingled lodge ringed by forested hillsides. Our warm-up ride passes salmon anglers braced against the rushing Margaree River and sugarloaf-shaped hills left by retreating glaciers. After dinner, sidle up to the hearth, a popular gathering spot for Celtic musicians. (0, 8, 14, or 18 mi.)

Day 2: Relatively easy cycling along the Cabot Trail, as we follow the deep folds of the Margaree Valley out to sea, then hug the Northumberland Strait to Chéticamp, pride of the French-speaking Région Acadienne. Our route takes in the Margaree Salmon Museum (a NYT favorite), picturesque Margaree Harbour, and, not to be missed, Joe’s Scarecrow Museum! (31 mi.)

Day 3: Follow the Cabot Trail through the heart of the Highlands National Park. A challenging day traverses French and North Mountains, with impressive views of Aspy Fault, a convergence of continental plates that continues undersea to the Scottish Highlands! Short trail walks lead into boreal forest, Arctic heath, and mossy old growth maple forest. Set at the end of the road just beyond the little fishing village of Dingwall, our cozy log cabin inn fronts Aspy Bay. (47 mi.)

Day 4: Head inland or take the Cabot Trail Coastal Loop past rugged headlands and steep-walled estuaries. Both options meet below the lighthouse at Neil’s Harbour for seafood chowder with fresh-off-the-boat ingredients. The littoral views continue with pretty inlets, barrier beaches, and pink granite headlands. Relax in Ingonish with a two-night stay at the venerable Keltic Lodge, perched high above the ocean at Middle Head, a long rocky peninsula jutting into the Atlantic. (31 or 36 mi.)

Day 5: Free day to enjoy the spectacular setting in your own way: Hike in the National Park, stroll the barrachois (barrier beach) separating Freshwater Lake from the sea, golf the acclaimed Highland Links, pedal an easy mountain bike trail, or pamper yourself at our inn’s spa! (3-10 miles hiking)

Day 6: Our final Cabot Trail challenge climbs 1,200’ Cape Smokey for a steep descent zigzagging to the coast. Reward yourself with a “World Famous” lobster roll at the Wreck Cove General Store. Bike and browse along the Artisans’ Trail, with its concentration of wood, leather, ceramics and glass studios, or take a longer route along the fjord-like shores of St. Ann’s Harbour, stopping at the Gaelic College. Both options end in North River Bridge at the Chanterelle Inn, named for its abundant wild mushrooms, often found in our award-winning innkeeper/chef’s lovingly prepared dinners! (38 or 57 mi.)

Day 7: Spin along the Mira River and Cape Breton’s easternmost shore to Louisbourg Fortress National Historic Site. Twice laid siege, burned to the ground, and meticulously reconstructed by archaeologists in the ‘60s, Louisbourg is the crown jewel of Canada’s National Parks, where role-playing French “inhabitants” offer an intimate connection to life in 1744. Tonight’s stay at our oceanfront inn is capped by a unique farewell celebration: The Beggar’s Banquet, a feast set to traditional song and dance, with entertainers and guests alike wearing 18th-century garb! (20 or 32 mi.)

Day 8: Mid-morning transfer to Sydney for outbound flights and ground shuttle connections to Halifax.

"I loved riding along the majestic coastline dotted with small fishing villages and peaceful valleys. The dinners were seafood heaven! Easy Rider has an amazing ability to pick quality guides from the region - I often think about our guides long after my trip and smile :)"
P.T., Missouri

"You did a great job of picking places to stay...The Keltic Lodge, with all the services available, was a perfect place for a day off. I also loved the Chanterelle Country Inn. Earline was delightful, and the care she's taken in her meals and building her inn is outstanding."
C.D., Michigan

"I loved the cultural integration in the form of local music, cuisine, homesteads and historical sites. The knowledgeable guides further enriched these experiences."
J.T., Missouri

"I have traveled around the globe, I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty Cape Breton outrivals them all."
– Alexander Graham Bell

“Cape Breton Island is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike.”
– Bicycling

"Cape Breton offers a surprisingly large number of wonderful, quirky museums. My favorite by far was the Margaree Salmon Museum."
– The New York Times

“On the first day, God created Cape Breton. On the second day, He threw rocks at it.”
– Nova Scotia saying

  • 7 nights accommodations in country inns, oceanfront cabins and resorts (double occupancy, private bath)
  • 6 dinners, 2 picnic lunches, and all breakfasts
  • Use of a top-quality 27-speed Trek hybrid or road bicycle
  • Detailed maps, written directions, and background information
  • Daily choice of mileage options; total mileage of 175 to 221 miles
  • Two experienced guides
  • Support van to carry luggage, provide snacks, and offer assistance and lifts
  • Admission fees to the National Park and Louisbourg Fortress
  • Transfers to and from Sydney and Baddeck at specified times
  • Gratuities for all accommodations and group meals
  • Comprehensive tour preparation information and training tips
  • Easy Rider cycling jersey and water bottle
  • Airfare is not included.

Price: US$3095 for
8 day/7 night guided bike tour.
Single supplement: $700

2019 Dates
Available as a custom tour for groups of 10+ only. Contact us a minimum of 120 days in advance.

Arrive/Depart
Downtown Sydney;
Call for Halifax shuttle information

Activity Level: 3, 4. Moderate to challenging terrain, with some winding climbs and steep descents.

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