Top Ten Canada Classic Adventures

Cycle Cape Breton's Cabot Trail
By Bill McRae

Craggy, remote Cape Breton hosts one of Nova Scotia's—and Canada's—best bike trails. The paved Cabot Trail around the island's far northern tip, flanked with massive pink granite cliffs and capped with rugged taiga highlands, was completed in 1939 and quickly became a must-do. Fall's the time to go: the hardwood forests take on a palette of red, green, and yellow, and the days remain warm and sunny.

This is no gentle, country-lane pedalling trip. The winding road plunges from mountain heights to sea level over and over again, and you'll edge along vertigo-inducing cliff faces pounded by waves hundreds of feet below. The Cabot Trail edges over the spine of the island at Cape Breton National Park, a striking, somewhat melancholy moor with stunted old-growth hardwood forests and tundralike meadows. With forlorn wilderness on one side and the churning ocean on the other, you're definitely on the edge of the continent. But you're not far from civilization. You'll find plenty of small and charming villages filled with Acadian and Scottish charm.


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