With the greens of summer giving way to a riot of oranges, reds and yellows, there is no better time then now, to go hiking in and around Ingonish. Warm day time temperatures, accompanied by bright, clear blue skies are just an added bonus to coax you out of the house.
From the ocean front of Ingonish to the high barren tops of the Highlands there is an incredibly diverse cross section of flora and fauna awaiting you. The Acadian forest at the lowest elevations represents some of the last remaining old growth hardwood forests in Eastern Canada, we then climb higher into the boreal forest, home to towering moose and industrious beavers and lastly, on to the barren windswept plateaus where we find the taiga zone, a land of tiny stunted shrubs more at home in the Arctic than Nova Scotia.
With Ingonish being the centre of activities for this side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, there are no lack of extremely well maintained trails all around Ingonish and even a few worthy contenders outside the park! But don’t forget to buy your park pass, just before you come to the Park’s visitor’s information centre – which is a great source of maps and pamphlets, as well as good first hand advice from Park staff.
Ingonish Hike Recommendation #1
For a maximum visual thrill, with (almost) minimum effort, the Middle Head Trail, a 4km loop just past the historic Keltic Lodge, is a great one hour hike.
Ingonish Hike Recommendation #2
For those with energy to burn the nearby Clyburn Valley trail comes in at 14kms total and takes you to a long abandoned gold mine.
Ingonish Hike Recommendation #3
Lastly, for those wanting to burn some calories AND find spiritual enlightenment, there is the 3.5 km out and back trail to the Kalapa Valley. This short hike is accessed just past the Cape Smokey ski hill and takes you deep into a valley considered sacred to the Shambhala Buddhists, followers of ancient Tibetan Buddhism.