With autumn upon us and the leaves starting their colorful transition, I thought it would be a great time to share some hiking ideas for a spot near and dear to my heart; Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada. I can’t think of a more perfect spot to witness the fall colors in all of their glory than my home province.
The great thing about these hikes is that they are short and sweet, family friendly and will be extra spectacular framed with the yellows oranges and reds of fall’s festival of colors. I was a couple of weeks early for fall colors last September when I visited, but regardless I enjoyed these great days hikes to some excellent waterfalls. During the week the park was pretty quiet; this is the best time to get these special spots all to yourself. My favorite time of the day to visit any water features is the golden hour, when the sun is starting to set and the sky lights up and dances in the waters reflection. In the fall, the air will be chilly but quiet, so the only thing you can hear is the rush of water. There is something soothing about the sound of water falling. Sometimes I like to just sit on a rock next to the water and breathe deeply, feeling the cool spray from the falls on my face and letting the thunder of the water take my thoughts away.
There are so many spectacular hikes in the park, but I love how accessible these are for any one of any level or ability. These waterfalls are something you can enjoy with the kids, with some loved ones or simply to have some peaceful alone time. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the magnificent landscapes that Cape Breton is famous for.
- The Falls at Black Brooke Beach
Black Brooke Cove Beach is a really unique spot where you can listen to the crashing waves (big ones) of the ocean or enjoy the babbling freshwater brook that intersects the beach. You can soak up some sun and sand and then wander a short distance down to the far end of the beach to a secluded little waterfall that is nested into the rocks. If the tide is low enough you can walk on the rocks and get a closer look. You would miss it if you didn’t quite know where to look but you will want to pause and take it all in once you locate it. I listed this first because it may just be my favorite since the scene is epically Nova Scotian.
2. Mary Ann Falls
While you’re at it, drive about 20 mins from Black Brooke Beach and find Mary Ann Falls. From the parking lot, take a short and flat trail to the bridge. You can get a good look at the falls from a variety of viewing platforms. There is also a trail where you can climb down the stairs to the bottom of the falls in about 5 minutes or less. If you are nimble and able, it’s worth the view at the bottom, and maybe a dip at the base of the falls if you are brave !
3. Beulach Ban Falls
I read that these falls were once called Horsetail Falls but have since been renamed Beulach Ban Falls, influenced by Cape Breton’s Gaelic language. Beulach Ban, I read, means “White Gorge”. While I reason more with the former name, Beulach Ban has a beautiful ring to it. We stumbled upon these falls by luck. When driving by I saw a sign and said, “hey! stop! let’s go down this road and see what this is!”. I hadn’t found any information in my trail searches about these falls so I was intrigued. I was really glad we stopped to check them out. About a 2 min walk from the parking lot will take you to these towering falls set in a dark mystical forest. I tried to stand next to them for a bit of perspective so you can see how enormous these falls are. Though I didn’t get to see them in fall, check out some of the photos of how spectacular a smash of color makes this setting !
If a short but rewarding hike is on your radar, these 3 waterfall walks will be sure to please any outdoor enthusiast, no matter the age! While you are in the park, make sure you enjoy the other spectacular trails and sights or check out some of my other blog posts about must do hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands.