Hours of Operation
Cape Breton Highlands National Park's operating season is from May to October, with full services in July and August. The Cabot Trail is open year-round.
The park operates two visitor centres—one in Ingonish and one in Chéticamp. Bilingual staff are on hand to provide knowledge of hiking trails, facilities, special events, weekly activities and community services.
The visitor centres are open from mid-May to October 30.
Spring hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer hours: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fall hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hours subject to change. Please contact us for more information.
Chéticamp Visitor Centre
Chéticamp Visitor Centre © Parks Canada
Big changes are coming to the Chéticamp visitor centre! To accommodate the needs of our visitors and provide an introduction to our park, we are growing and changing. This season, you will note a minimalist decor, as our new exhibits are under development. As always, knowledgeable park staff are available to answer questions and get you on your way. In the evenings, the space transforms into a presentation venue for slide shows, films, concerts and even a Gaelic milling frolic every Friday night.
You can purchase the required park pass, register for night hikes and other exciting park programming, take advantage of the clean washrooms, grab a coffee, let the children play in the nearby playground or enjoy a quiet picnic under the trees. Ample parking is available.
Don't forget to browse through the nature bookstore, which is run by our co-operating association, Les Amis du Plein Air. Here, you will find field guides, souvenirs, games, local literature, clothing, a selection of Parks Canada merchandise and so much more.
Ingonish Visitor Centre
Ingonish Visitor Centre © Parks Canada
The new Ingonish visitor centre opened its doors in 2014. In this more spacious venue staff are happy to provide you with information about the park and local area, help you get oriented, sell park passes and program tickets, and give you the latest updates on park facilities and activities. Here you will also find official Parks Canada merchandise for sale, including popular designs in caps, t-shirts, hoodies and umbrellas. The Ingonish visitor centre is also home base for Parks Canada Xplorers and Club Parka activities for the younger crowd and brochures on a wide array of local services.
While you're stopped, take a quick climb up to Freshwater Lake Look-off. Or listen for a loon from the shore of Freshwater Lake, just behind the visitor centre. Don't forget to snap a picture at our photo panel and prepare to begin your adventure into Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The old Ingonish Visitor Centre, a small historic stone building and one of our Top 10 Geological Gems, is now home to our park wardens.