If you’re heading out to the East Coast of Canada (New Brunswick, PEI, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, etc), then lace up your hiking boots and get out into nature! Living the bus life allows us to experience some pretty remote places, and we found that some of the best views were at the top of the summits and peaks out here after some rigorous hikes. This blog post shows my top 6 hikes (in no particular order) out of the 10+ that we completed while exploring the East Coast of Canada.
Third Vault Falls - Fundy National Park
This waterfall is the biggest one in Fundy National Park. It is a 52ft waterfall into a rocky ravine that eventually joins the Upper Salmon River. This was a relatively challenging hike because there are some steep sections, and you have to cross a rocky part of the river in the last section of the hike. Your boots might get wet if you’re not careful! Make sure you leave enough time for a snack and a break once you get to the falls, otherwise you might end up hiking back in the dark like we did!
Distance: 7.4km out and back
Time: 2-3 hours
North Cape Nature Trail - Prince Edward Island
This hike was more of a relaxing walk through the landscapes on the northernmost point of Prince Edward Island. It wasn’t challenging, but features several beautiful cliff top views and a boardwalk that follows the coast through the bog. This trail passes directly under multiple wind turbines so it was interesting to see that kind of technology up close. There were several opportunities to pull over and take pictures of the scenic coast of PEI, and also lots of signage that explained the ecosystems in the area.
Distance: 5.1km out and back
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Greenwich Dunes Trail - PEI
This is an incredible trail that was well maintained and not challenging. We unfortunately had a bit of a rainy and windy day for this one, but the views and landscapes absolutely made up for the chilly weather. This hike features a “floating boardwalk” that goes through the marshy areas/small lakes in the valley of the sand dunes, and ends at a sandy beach. This hike is a must-see in PEI – pictures don’t do it justice!
Distance: 4.2km out and back
Time: < 1 hour
Franey Trail - Cape Breton
This hike was a gradual uphill for the first half and had portions of steep inclines in sections. You definitely want to bring your hiking boots for this one! Some areas were rocky and slightly muddy due to some streams that run down and around the hill. If you don’t mind a good leg workout, the views at the top overlooking the water were breathtaking. It did get windy and a little bit colder as we continued upwards – we didn’t regret bringing our jackets and hats once we got to the top. The way down is more gradual and is a gravel trail so slightly easier to navigate.
Distance: 7.2km loop
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Theodore Fricker Mountain - Cape Breton
This was certainly a challenging hike because of the incline. Once you reach the top, you’re almost 1000ft above sea level! (977ft to be exact). You need proper hiking boots/gear for this one because it definitely got serious, and quickly. We laughed at the “difficult” rating for the first kilometer, but then instantly regretted jinxing it. The incline is steep, rocky, and a little dangerous in places. I can’t imagine doing this hike on a rainy/windy day, and would actually not recommend it unless the weather is cooperating. We luckily had a sunny day, but it gets windy once you get to the top, so bring extra layers! It was absolutely worth the tough climb.
Distance: 3.7km out and back
Time: 2 hours
Skyline Trail Loop - Cape Breton
We woke up around 5am, made some coffee and packed breakfast, and did this trail as the sun rose behind us. It was definitely an exciting experience walking in the pitch black through the forest, not knowing the whereabouts of circling coyotes… But once the sun started to peek out from behind the horizon and shine some light on the path before us, the views could not be beat! This trail follows cliffs right along the coast. If you’re lucky, and depending on the time of year, you may see whales or seals in the ocean below. This hike also features a moose “exclosure”, designed to separate moose from the forest as a research project to showcase how the natural trees in the area would grow without being eaten! You may get lucky enough to see a moose here.
Distance: 9.6km out and back
Time: 3-4 hours
Bonus Hike - Egypt Falls, Cape Breton
On the way out of Cape Breton, we took a minor detour down a gravel road to check out Egypt Falls. This is a 30 minute hike with a steep trek on the way down, but absolutely worth it for the view of the falls! This cascading waterfall is absolutely stunning. It is on private property, however, the owners have made it an easily accessible hike, with ropes and railings to hang on to as you make the descent.
Distance: 1.2km out and back
Time: 30 minutes