Hiking Summit Features Cape Breton Trails

Hiking Summit in Ingonish a celebration of hiking culture in NS

About 250 people with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing, will converge on Ingonish from May 11 to 13, 2018 for the seventh annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit. Hosted by Hike NS along with Naturally Active Victoria County, Parks Canada and the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands, the Summit is a celebration of Nova Scotia’s hiking culture, and includes sharing best practices, stories and networking. Attendees include avid hikers, hiking clubs, trail groups, provincial government, municipalities and others.

Presenting sponsor is The Trail Shop and Platinum sponsor is Victoria County. Gold sponsors are Parks Canada and Destination Cape Breton. Silver sponsors are Cape Breton University – Sport and Physical Activity Leadership; the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage; Clif Bar, and Big Spruce Brewing. Bronze sponsor is the Ingonish Development Society.

Quotes:Franey - 1

“Cape Breton is seen as a hiking Mecca and we’re incredibly excited to have so many people come out to talk about hiking and trails and then actually get out onto those beautiful trails,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “We were pleasantly surprised to have the Summit sell out in just one month and we’ve got a long waiting list.” The Summit is also a great to launch Destination Cape Breton’s new #HikeCapeBreton initiative.

Event details:Franey - 2

Date: Friday May 11, Saturday May 12 & Sunday, May 13, 2018
Location: Keltic Lodge at the Highlands, Ingonish
Time: 12 pm on May 11 to 5:30 pm on May 13

Fast Facts:

The Summit includes:

  • Keynote David Miller, author of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide
  • MCs Chris Surette and Jan-Sebastian LaPierre from A for Adventure
  • A smudging and drumming ceremony to open the Summit
  • A new kids’ program
  • Hikes featuring the gorgeous scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands
  • Interesting sessions, skills workshops and Pecha Kucha presentations
  • Friday night reception and Saturday night supper with keynote speaker
  • Hike Nova Scotia’s Summit Awards
  • Silent auction and displays
  • Songs and stories around the campfire

The program and other details are found at www.hikenovascotia.ca/projects-hiking-summit.


Keynote David Miller is available for phone interviews leading up to the Summit as are representatives from our various co-hosts and partners. See the contact information below to arrange interviews.


Find photos on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HikeNovaScotia/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/hikenovascotia or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media:

Share on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HikeNovaScotia/
Share on Twitter https://twitter.com/HikeNS
Share on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/hikenovascotia


Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 717-4408
Email info@hikenovascotia.ca


NS Hiking Summit

Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the seventh annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit from Friday, May 11 to Sunday, May 13 in Ingonish at the Keltic Lodge. The summit is a celebration of hiking culture and includes best practices, stories, networking opportunities, hikes and a new family / kids’ program. It is hosted by Hike NS, Naturally Active Victoria County, Parks Canada and the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands. Presenting sponsor is The Trail Shop, Platinum sponsor is Victoria County, Gold sponsors are Parks Canada and Destination Cape Breton, Silver sponsors are the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Big Spruce Brewing and Bronze sponsor is the Ingonish Development Society. The guys from A for Adventure will be our MCs and the keynote speaker is David Miller, author of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide.

There is limited space, so please register early to secure your spot. Registration is $45 for paid Hike NS members, $55 for non-members and $35 for children, youth and students. With the new family / kids’ program this year, families are invited to attend (some childcare provided). Registration includes: access to information sessions, hike events and socials along with Saturday and Sunday lunches. There are optional breakfasts and a Saturday supper at additional cost. Registration does not include accommodation or other meals – you must arrange them on your own. The deadline to register is May 6. Learn more and register online here.

Hike the Highlands Festival (Sept. 13-22): What is new in 2013?

Adapted from the Hike the Highlands Newsletter August 11

The Hike the Highlands Festival in Cape Breton will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year from September 13-22. Thikelogo1e Festival is making it a special year to remember. Here’s what’s new in 2013 : 

  • A special souvenir pass/log book, a 32 page publication with photos and pages for notes
  • A special Wally Hayes Vision show – “A look Back at the Past,” nine years of Hike the Highlands Festival on opening night of the festival
  • A sit down supper as part of the closing ceremonies
  • Expanding your Horizons – A Landscape & Seascape Photography workshop, Sept. 12-13, learn to shoot wide angle & panoramic photos and managed your library of photos
  • New evening activities and presentations
  • Hike the Highlands new website now for mobile devices. If you type in our regular website address -www.hikethehighlands.com on your phone it will automatically take you to our mobile website. If you have a tablet ie. iPad , our regular website will come up on your device.

Summit Award Presented to Hike the Highlands

Hike Nova Scotia has awarded the Hike the Highlands Festival with its highest award.

“The Summit Award is presented to an organization and or an individual that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia,” explains Deb Ryan, Hike Nova

Summit Award-small
Deb Ryan (left) and Claire MacNeil (right) of Hike Nova Scotia present Tom Wilson (centre) of the Hike the Highlands Festival with the Summit Award.

Scotia’s Past President.

The award was presented to Tom Wilson, President of the Hike the Highland Festival, at the Hike NS annual Summit held at the Gaelic College, St. Anne’s, in Cape Breton on June 22. The Hike the Highlands Festival inspires residents and visitors to hike and enjoy the highlands, scenic vistas and Cape Breton’s natural beauty.

During its 10 year history, Hike the Highlands has grown into a Nova Scotia Signature Event. It attracts participants from all over the world and it has expanded the 10 day September Festival to include a 3 Peaks Challenge in July and a series of winter snowshoe hikes. For more information about the Hike the Highlands Festival from September 13-22, go to http://www.hikethehighlands.com.

Clare MacNeil, a Hike NS board member from Cape Breton, has participated in many Hike the Highlands Festivals. MacNeil says she has seen an increase in the number of participants each year and recognizes the importance of the many volunteers that keep the spirit of the festival alive.

Photos from the Hiking Summit (June 21-22, 2013)

The Nova Scotia Hiking Summit took place on June 21-22, 2013 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton Island. Here are some photos from the event. Learn more about the summit here.

A morning hike takes place on June 22 on the Gaelic College’s trails.
The Summit Award is presented to Tom Wilson (centre), President of the Hike the Highlands Festival Society, for its work in promoting hiking in Cape Breton. With Tom is Hike NS outgoing President Deb Ryan (left) and Hike NS board member Claire MacNeil (right).
Tom Wilson talks about the Hike the Highlands Festival.
Elaine Wallace tell us about a possible long distance hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Erich Muntz talks about coyote research in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Shauna Heighton talks about the Outdoor Council of Canada and the Hike Leader course.
Many of the folks who attended the Hiking Summit pose outside at the Gaelic College on a beautiful sunny day.
Happy hikers pose on the Red Islands trail after the Hiking Summit.

Featured Trail: Franey

Trail Name: Franey

Location: Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Description: “You climb up and up and your reward is at the top! Large flat rocks give you a nice place to sit and enjoy the 360 degree views of the entire Clyburn Brook canyon and the Atlantic coastline from Cape Smokey to Ingonish. Gaze back at the mountains, the sheer rocky face of Franey Mountain, or the river winding through the valley, 425 metres below. Keep an eye out for wildlife – moose like this habitat too.” This is a 7.4 kilometre loop trail.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Featured Trail: Fishing Cove

Trail Name: Fishing Cove

Location: Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Description: At 335 metres (1000 feet) above sea level, “hike from the top of the mountain about 8 kilometres down to a small ocean cove and grassy clearing – the only designated wilderness camp site in the park. This was once the site of a Scottish fishing community and these settlers traded with the French for supplies. Explore the beach, roam the hills or swim in fresh or salt water.” This trail is 15.7 kilometre return.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Hiking Festival Steps Up to the Camera

By David Redwood

Lisa Dixon has hiked 200 kilometres since mid-July, much of it in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and every step of the way she’s had her camera.

It’s for memories, but also to record unbelievable spots she might find herself in so she can share with friends later.

“You are just hoping you are going to come across that big male moose standing in front of you,” said Dixon, laughing as she explained why she shoots pictures on the trail.

Dixon is a guide at this year’s Hike the Highlands Festival, and her interest in photography is not unusual. Many of the hikers who attend the festival pack sophisticated cameras, and new activities are scheduled this year to satisfy shutterbugs.

A popular photo workshop by Wally Hayes has been expanded to two days (Sept. 13-14), and participants will be encouraged to snap images for a new slideshow at the festival’s opening ceremonies.

“We wanted to make sure that this year’s workshop was different than any other year,” said Tom Wilson, chair of Hike the Highlands Festival. He said Hayes’ sessions will feature photo shoots at Black Brook Beach and Still Brook Falls, and includes subject areas like image editing and file management.

Hikers are naturally drawn to photography, Wilson said.

“When you hike you are going for the views, and of course when you are a photographer and you want to take pictures you are going for the views as well. It’s a real nice mixture,” said Wilson.

Hayes, the veteran photographer leading the workshop, said he enjoys shooting pictures at the Festival’s guided walks. Even non-photographers on the hikes develop an interest in what camera owners are shooting.

“There is a curiosity factor,” said Hayes.

He said while seascapes and mountain views are always popular, many photographers are drawn to fauna at foot level. Other hikers? Not so much.

“Most people who are not into photography are walking on these things and trampling them into the ground without even realizing it. Then all of a sudden they see somebody taking a picture of this mushroom, as an example, or wildflower, or whatever the case may be, and all of a sudden they become aware of it, and they say, ‘Oh my god. That’s incredible. I‘ve never noticed those before.’”

Hayes said over the last ten years he’s noticed that even hikers who don’t set out with a burning interest in photography are finding themselves on the trail with cellphones or tablets that pack powerful cameras. And they are using them.

“They want to get as much out of (the device) as they can.”

Hayes says new smartphone applications like LightTrac, which creates maps overlayed with the direction the sun shines at certain times, make it even easier for hikers to capture powerful images of sunsets and sunrises.

Festival schedulers are running a 6 a.m. sunrise hike on Sept. 15 at Middle Head trail, and, later in the week, a Sept. 19 sunset hike on the national park’s Skyline trail. A photo contest will be held after the ten-day festival featuring pictures from most of the 20 featured hikes.

For more information on hiking, walking or snowshoeing in Nova Scotia contact Hike Nova Scotia through www.hikenovascotia.ca.

Hike the Highlands Festival: Sept. 14-23, 2012

The Hike the Highlands Festival, happening from September 14 to 23, features some of the best hiking you will find in Nova Scotia. There’s a wonderful selection of hikes to choose from and lots of evening events and activities too. This is a must do for anyone who loves Cape Breton, beautiful scenery, hiking and meeting a great bunch of people! Check it out at www.hikethehighlands.com. This is a photo of what you discover at the end of the beautiful Fishing Cove hike in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Fall Guided Hike Series

Another slate of Fall Guided Hikes is available through Hike Nova Scotia and its partners across the province. The 15 hikes in September and October are led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Click here for details on the following hikes:

  • Sept. 9: Annapolis Royal Seasonal Walk
  • Sept. 10: White Point to Burnt Head Trail, Cape Breton
  • Sept. 15: Fishing Cove Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Sept. 18: Cape George Trails, Antigonish County
  • Sept. 18: St. Mary’s River Walk, Waternish (Guysborough County)
  • Sept. 18: Windhorse Farm Trail, New Germany
  • Sept. 24: Greenwood Walk, Greenwood
  • Sept. 25: Card Lake Colors Hike, Card Lake Provincial Park (near Chester)
  • Oct. 2: Keji Trails, Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site
  • Oct. 12: Acadian Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 13: Branch Pond Look-Off, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Franey Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Kingston Year Round Walk, Kingston
  • Oct. 22: Kentville Pumpkin Walk, Kentville
  • Oct. 23: Rogers Hill Trail, Durham (Pictou County)

Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground: Valley Trekkers Volkssport Club, Hike the Highlands Festival, Fresh Air Society, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, St. Mary’s River Association, Windhorse Farm, Chester Recreation and Parks, Annapolis County Recreation Services, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Celtic Colours Festival, and Cape to Cape Committee of the Pictou County Trails Association.