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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Walking Trails

Our walking trails, which help tell the stories of Louisbourg, are located outside the walls of the Fortress of Louisbourg including areas across the harbour and along the shores of the North Atlantic. Use of these trails is at your own risk.

Accessibility of the trails varies as some of these trails are within gated areas. The gated trails include the Mi'kmaw Trail and Wolfe's Redoubt Trail. The Simon's Point Trail is also gated and somewhat difficult to access when the gate is closed. There are no gates to consider when accessing the Lighthouse Trail, the Old Town Trail or the Royal Battery Trail.

It is important to know that the Kennington Cove Road is not always easily accessible. Weather, variable road conditions and time of year are some factors that affect accessibility. During times when the road is gated, please be mindful of the extra distance required to access some of these trails.

Old Town Trail

Located on Route 22 just past the Royal Battery Trail, this 2.25 kilometre (1.4 mile) walk along the shore of Louisbourg Harbour takes visitors through what is known locally as Old Town, telling its story, from 300 years ago to present day, through a series of interpretive panels. Ending at the causeway, the trail brings visitors into the 18th century, to the place where the original fortified town once stood. Impressive views of the Fortress of Louisbourg and the harbour can be enjoyed along this historic trail. Bicycles are not permitted on the Old Town Trail.  Wheelchair accessible. Parking is available. Open daily.

Lighthouse Trail

Located across the harbour from the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Lighthouse Trail runs along the coastline offering visitors of all skill levels the opportunity for an enjoyable experience. With unsurpassed vistas, this 2 kilometre (1.28 miles) walk leads visitors around a looped trail with interpretive panels explaining the area's significance including its flora and fauna. Beyond this loop is a rugged trail currently being developed by the Coastal Connections Trail Association, an association solely dedicated to this Lighthouse Trail. This rugged section is wet in places and sturdy footwear is recommended. For those who desire to offer some financial support to this Trail Association, you will find a trailhead sign erected each spring and a donation box that enables supporters to contribute to the cost of maintaining the Lighthouse Trail. There are also small wooden donation boxes available at various businesses within the modern community.

To access the trail year-round, locate and travel along Havenside Road, situated in the modern community of Louisbourg and follow the "Lighthouse" signs. You will note the iconic lighthouse situated on this site. This is the site of the first lighthouse in Canada (1734). Interpretive panels help explain the history of this pivotal spot.

Royal Battery Trail

Located on Route 22 just past the entrance to the Parks Canada visitor centre, this short 678 metre (0.42 mile) looped walk skirts the outline of a major French defence work, the once impressive Royal Battery. Given the nature of this trail, there is no actual trailhead. Interpretive panels and a spectacular view of the harbour, the Fortress of Louisbourg, and the lighthouse combine to offer memorable visual experiences for many visitors. Parking is available. Open daily year-round.

Ruins Walk

A must-have experience for those who wish to wander among the rich and truly untouched cultural resources of the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Ruins Walk offers visitors an incredibly unique opportunity. The Ruins Walk is a 2.3 kilometre (1.44 mile) trail through the remains of the original 18th century town. Accessible from the reconstructed town, a voice box at the trailhead panel orients visitors to the Ruins Walk and works. The voice box is operated by continuously turning the handle. Interpretive panels along the trail provide information on significant features. Please note that the footing is uneven. The views can be spectacular; the opportunity to walk among so much of what was can be a fascinating part of any site visit. The experience of the Ruins Walk helps visitors to place the interpretive experience of the reconstructed town in its proper context.

Visitors are welcome to download the Explora smartphone app. This app provides in-depth stories and images to promote better understanding of the parts of the Fortress of Louisbourg that haven't been reconstructed and the environmental changes that threaten them.