Cape Smokey

Scenic drives, hiking trails, skiing and wildlife await visitors to this mountain on Cape Breton Island’s northeast coast.

Cape Smokey is a place for year-round outdoor activities and adventure. The tall mountain peak sits on Cape Breton Island’s northeast coastline, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Hike, ski and snowboard across the terrain and revel in the gorgeous scenery and wildlife.

Arrive by taking a scenic drive along the Cabot Trail, the 186-mile (300-kilometer) long road that passes through the highlands of Cape Breton. The southern approach to the mountain cuts through sheer tree-clad cliffs that roll down to the sea. 

At the summit of the mountain is Cape Smokey Provincial Park, where you will find hiking trails, picnic areas and lookout points. Follow the 6-mile (10-kilometer) loop trail, which travels across cliff tops and looks out across the ocean. 

During your trek you will pass through forests of birch, pine and spruce and may see wildlife such as bald eagles, hawks and moose. At the northern end of the trail is a lookout with views of Ingonish Beach and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Look down at the water below for seals and dolphins. From July to October, there are good opportunities to see migrating whales.  

From December to April, ski and snowboard down the slopes of the Ski Cape Smokey resort. Discover 300 acres (121 hectares) of skiable terrain, with 16 alpine runs suitable for all levels of skiers. The resort has a rental shop, and beginners can take lessons with qualified ski instructors. There’s also a lounge bar and a café, which is open to both skiers and the general public. 

Cape Smokey is about a 20-minute drive south of the community of Ingonish. The walking trails and picnic areas are open throughout the year and free parking is available at the start of the routes. 

If you are in the area for fun on the slopes, visit the ski resort’s official website for information about opening hours, lift passes, equipment rental and lessons.

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