My trip to Canada’s east coast has brought me face to face with some of the country’s famous scenes. One of the most iconic is the Cabot Trail, which ranks among the world’s most scenic drives.
The trail is named after John Cabot (born Giovanni Caboto), the Italian explorer who visited this part of Canada back in 1497, around the time of Columbus. He didn’t know it, but he gave his name to one of the world’s natural treasures. It’s a place filled with the kind of rugged beauty that brings people from all over the world to see Canada.
The road traces the coastline of Cape Breton, a region that juts out from the rest of Nova Scotia into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And it’s that unique mixture of dramatic seascapes, green mountain slopes and northern forest that makes it special. There isn’t a kilometre that doesn’t present at least one gorgeous view, and it’s almost impossible to resist turning off at the many lookout points for a photo — or several.
Most of the trail is inside Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which means the land it passes through is pretty much pristine country, free from road ads and fast-food joints. But here and there it emerges long enough for a small hamlet or fishing village to offer a change of scene, and a place to stop and try some of the local crab and lobster.
You could spend several days exploring the Cabot Trail, and do some hiking, swimming, canoeing or birding along the way. Or you can do the drive in a day, as we did on our way to North Sydney for the ferry to Newfoundland. Either way, it’s a trip you don’t soon forget. Here are a few images to give you a taste of what you’ll see.