Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Part 2: Skyline Trail

I started my second day with a hike on the popular Skyline Trail, taking the right branch of the loop on my way out to the headland. The trail here is alternately meadow and small stands of birch and spruce until it approaches the highlands near the cliff. There is also a bog area which I was excited for, but alas, still no moose.

The loop extends to the coast where a long boardwalk and stairs allow hikers to walk down the headland without damaging the fragile mosses and wildflowers. Decades worth of erosion now prevents access to the end of the cliffs but the trail extends about halfway. The view from the high point of the headland before the descent down the boardwalk is mind-blowing; the carpet of green clinging to the rounded shapes of the mountains is utterly fantastic set against the backdrop of the hyper-blue waters of the Bay of St. Lawrence. I passed patches of high bush berries and was treated to spectacular views of the forested mountains and cerulean bay below where I watched a whale.

Meadow and sparse spruce stands, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Meadow and sparse spruce stands, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Scrub forest on Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Scrub forest on Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sunlight on the Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sunlight on the Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Me on high point of headland (it was pretty windy), Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Me on high point of headland (it was pretty windy), Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View from headland, View from headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Trail terminus on the headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Trail terminus on the headland, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

View into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Birch stand on return, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Birch stand on return, Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

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