Park interpreters are out and about delivering a wide range of activities, from pop-up roves and regularly scheduled programs to special events and individual tailored outings. Check out our weekly schedule online, or pick up a paper copy at either of the park's visitor centres.

Here's a list of programs held throughout the summer. Which ones will you try?


There's more to explore!

Make the most of your visit with these unique enhanced programs. A rich variety of programming is offered all summer throughout the park. From cultural to culinary programs, to sunsets, salmon, and square sets, there's something for everyone to enjoy. (Additional fees apply.)

Skyline Sunset Hike

Immerse yourself in the splendour of the sunset as the ocean glistens below

Skyline Sunset Hike
Seeing in the Dark

Explore the night in a place where it truly gets dark

Seeing in the Dark
Lantern Walk through Time

Step into the past and become spellbound by tales of this place

Lantern Walk through Time
Salmon Tales and Tubes

Take a lazy tubing tour on the Clyburn River while learning about this protected species

Salmon Tales and Tubes
Seaside Square Set

Learn about local square dance traditions, and show your steps to live fiddle music at Ingonish Beach

Seaside Square Set
Learn-to-Lobster Boil

Cook and enjoy fresh lobster on a beach steeped in history as the sun sets over the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Learn-to-Lobster Boil
Go Wild! Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose your own guided adventure to discover the park's secrets

Go Wild!
Choose Your Own Adventure
Live! At the Park

The Chéticamp Visitor Centre comes to life with a variety of special guests from around the island

Live! At the Park
Gaelic Milling Frolic

Join Gaelic singers Geoffrey and Rebecca-Lynne as they explore Gaelic culture through song

Gaelic Milling Frolic

Salmon Pools Hike

Salmon PoolsSalmon Pools Hike

Become acquainted with Cape Breton Highlands National Park and find out what makes this area so special. Walk the Salmon Pools trail with a park interpreter, with various stops along the way, en route to the First Pool.

Hear all about the area’s natural and cultural history from your experienced and informative guide. You may also hear about the Acadian forest, its importance to the region, the Atlantic salmon, the area’s geology and past glaciation, recent flood events, and the various ways the Mi’kmaq used the resources found all around you, as well as the area’s plants and wildlife.

Listen as an Indigenous interpreter recounts her story of the discovery of maple syrup if you happen to take the shorter walk on Sundays.

Continue on to the end of the hiking trail once the guided walk ends, or to return to the trailhead in the company of your guide.

Daily
June 24 to September 4
10:00 a.m.
2 - 3 hours (6.5 km return)

There are no age restrictions for this program, but small children may find the walk too long to complete easily. There is no limit to the number of participants.

Meet at the Salmon Pools trailhead. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellent or sunscreen. Sturdy footwear is recommended. Participants should bring their own drinking water and snacks.


Meander to Middle Head

Meander to Middle HeadMeander to Middle Head

Walk the Middle Head trail with a park interpreter, and learn about the natural and cultural history of the Middle Head Peninsula, the Ingonish area, and its surrounding marine environment. A wonderful introduction to Cape Breton Highlands National Park for first time visitors and a welcome return trip for those who have already fallen in love with this place, this trail has something new to offer each day, as birds return, flowers bloom, berries grow and weather changes.

Make your own way back to the trailhead as you explore the looped trail, or return in the company of your guide. Pack a lunch to enjoy a picnic at the end of the road, on the tip of the peninsula, while you watch for seabirds and aquatic mammals in the ocean far below.

Daily
June 22 to September 4
10:00 a.m.
2 hours (4 km return)

There are no age restrictions for this program, and there is no limit to the number of participants.

Meet at the Middle Head trailhead. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellent or sunscreen. Sturdy footwear is recommended. Participants should bring drinking water and food or snacks.


Explore

ExploreExplore

Hey, kids! The park is a great place for you to explore the outdoors, discover the natural world, and have fun!

If you’re staying at one of our three main campgrounds, come check out our Explore program. And bring your parents, too—they’re welcome to join in the fun! We play games and have lots of different things for you to do. Want to know what the theme of the program is? Ask at the campground kiosk or find one of our friendly staff members—you can recognize them by their snazzy uniforms!

Sundays (Chéticamp and Broad Cove Campgrounds)
Mondays (Broad Cove Campground)
Tuesdays (Chéticamp and Ingonish Beach Campgrounds)
Wednesdays (Chéticamp and Broad Cove Campgrounds)
Thursdays (Broad Cove and Ingonish Beach Campgrounds)
Fridays (Broad Cove and Ingonish Beach Campgrounds)
Saturdays (Broad Cove and Ingonish Beach Campgrounds)

June 24 to August 31
7:00 p.m.
45 minutes – 1 hour

There are no age restrictions for this program, and it’s designed for children and their families, but many children at heart have enjoyed these programs too! There’s no limit to the number of participants.

Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellent or sunscreen. We recommend wearing a pair of sturdy shoes. A short walk may be part of the evening’s activities.


Discover

DiscoverDiscover

Do you want to learn more about Cape Breton Highlands National Park and its wildlife or geology? Have you heard about the conservation efforts of the Bring Back the Boreal project, or would you like to know more about species at risk within the park? Do you have an interest in our many hiking trails?

The Discover program may shed some light on at least one of these subjects—there’s a different theme each week!

Watch and listen as a park interpreter presents a slideshow or nature movie, or invites a guest speaker to help you discover more about various topics related to the park’s natural and cultural history. To find out the specifics of the program offered the week you’re visiting, ask at the campground kiosk or visitor centre, or find one of our interpreters.

Tuesdays
June 25 to August 27
9:00 p.m. (July); 8:30 p.m. (August) – Outdoor theatre at the Broad Cove Campground
1 - 1.5 hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays
June 25 to August 29
8:30 p.m. – Chéticamp Visitor Centre
1 - 1.5 hours

There are no age restrictions for this program, and there is no limit to the number of participants. The program is intended for all audiences, but may be a little too late in the evening for some of our youngest visitors. Bring a blanket and insect repellent for Broad Cove Outdoor Theatre shows if you wish, and a folding chair if you require a back rest (regular theatre seating is on benches with no back board).


Sweet Discovery

Sweet DiscoverySweet Discovery

Come listen to the story of Sismoqnapui Skwe’j, the Sweetwater Maiden.

Based on oral history, Sweetwater Maiden shares the Mi’kmaw story of the discovery of maple syrup, as told to park interpreter Mary Louise Bernard by her mother.
This program recognizes the importance of our natural environment, and explores the human relationship with trees.

Listen as Mary Louise reads aloud from her illustrated book, discuss the Mi’kmaq relationship with nature, and taste delicious maple syrup.

Thursdays
June 27 to September 5
7:00 p.m.
Approximately one hour

There is no age restriction for this program, and no limit to the number of participants. While the program is intended for campers, non-camping park visitors are also welcome. The program is presented in English with references to Mi’kmaq vocabulary. In addition to English and Mi’kmaq, the book has been translated into French and Gaelic; audience members who speak those languages may be invited to do a multilingual reading.

Meet at Kitchen Shelter C, near the playground in the Chéticamp Campground. Dress appropriately for the weather; even though the program will be held inside the shelter, evenings can be cool.


Smudging

SmudgePark interpreter Mary-Louise Bernard

Since time immemorial, many Indigenous cultures have used sacred smoke made from medicinal plants for spiritual cleansing. A ceremonial way to cleanse a person, place or object of negative energies or influences, today elders recommend that smudge should be done in our daily lives, schools, and workplaces to promote healing.

Listen as Indigenous interpreter Mary Louise Bernard discusses the history and beliefs of the Mi’kmaq nation and describes some of the common medicinal plants used in smudge ceremonies, and explains their uses. Watch as she performs a smudge cleansing for herself and offers the opportunity for you to participate, if you wish. Hear traditional Mi’kmaq drumming and singing from Mary Louise, a Mi’kmaq elder. And finally, make your own small medicine bundle to take with you.

Fridays
June 28 to September 6
8:30 p.m.
1 hour

This program is offered in English, with references to Mi’kmaq vocabulary. There are no age restrictions, and there is no limit to the number of participants. While this program is primarily offered for visitors staying in the campgrounds, all visitors are welcome.

Meet at Kitchen Shelter C, near the playground in the Chéticamp Campground. Dress appropriately for the weather; even though the program will be held inside the shelter, evenings can be cool.


Wi'klatmuj': The Little People of the Forest

Wi'klatmujWi'klatmuj': The Little People of the Forest

Travelers from across the Great Water come and meet a Mi’kmaq grandmother at her campfire in the forest as she shares stories of Unamak’i, the Land of Fog (Cape Breton Island), and its connections to the spirit world.

Meet a park interpreter who introduces the program and leads you to Mi’kmaq elder Mary Louise Bernard, who waits at her campsite in the forest. Listen as she journeys to the past and shares Indigenous stories passed down through the generations. Discover how the people of this land became known as The Dreamers as you hear the story of the Wiklatmu’j, the Little Forest People of Unamak’i. Perhaps you, too, may become a Dreamer.

Saturdays
June 29 to September 7
8:30 p.m.
1.5 hours

There is no age restriction for this program, and no limit to the number of participants. The program is presented in English with references to Mi’kmaq vocabulary.

Meet at the Chéticamp Visitor Centre. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellent. Evenings can be cool, so bring an extra layer for warmth.


Waltes

WaltesWaltes

Waltes is a traditional Mi’kmaq game played with moose bone two-sided “dice” that are “tossed” by banging the wooden plate. Each round has a slightly different scoring system and goal. Learn how to play the game as a Mi’kmaq interpreter also explains some of the game’s history and the meaning behind the names of the pieces.

Fridays
June 28 to September 6
7:00 p.m.
Approximately one hour

There is no age restriction for this program, and no limit to the number of participants. While the program is intended for campers, non-camping park visitors are also welcome. The program is presented in English with references to Mi’kmaq vocabulary.

Meet at Kitchen Shelter C, near the playground in the Chéticamp Campground. Dress appropriately for the weather; even though the program will be held inside the shelter, evenings can be cool.


BioBlitz

BioBlitzBioBlitz

Are you curious about plants and animals that live in our special places? Then BioBlitz might just be the event for you!

New format for 2019

First, participate in a survey conducted by a park interpreter and a subject matter specialist from our Resource Conservation team. Try to find as many different species of a certain class as possible at the survey location. Each week, there is a focus on a particular living organism—plants, insects, aquatic species, birds—if they’re out there, we want you to help us find them! Learn all about the iNaturalist app, which can help to identify the species you’ve found.

Then, participate in the evening component, a presentation open to the public regardless of whether or not you’ve participated in the morning survey. This presentation focuses on the importance of identifying and cataloguing species, their interconnected relationships within an ecosystem, the effects climate change may have on them, and how Parks Canada and the public can play a role to help protect these species and the environment in which they live.

Enjoy this great opportunity to see wild creatures up close and support the protection of this special place!

Chéticamp

Tuesdays
June 25 to August 29
10:00 a.m. (morning survey; 2 hours)
8:30 p.m. (evening presentation; 1-1.5 hours

Morning surveys will meet at the Salmon Pools trailhead unless otherwise specified; evening programs will be held at the Chéticamp Visitor Centre. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellant (and sunscreen, if participating in the morning survey).

Broad Cove Campground

Wednesdays
June 26 to August 30
10:00 a.m. (morning survey; 2 hours)
9:00 p.m. in July; 8:30 p.m. in August (evening presentation; 1-1.5 hours)

Morning surveys will meet at the Middle Head trailhead unless otherwise specified; evening programs will be held at the outdoor theatre at Broad Cove Campground. In case of inclement weather, the evening program will be moved to the activity building. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellant (and sunscreen, if participating in the morning survey).

There are no age restrictions for this program, and there is no limit to the number of participants. The program is intended for all audiences, but the evening component may be too late for some of our youngest visitors.


Campground Campfire

Campground CampfireCampground Campfire

The program name says it all! Enjoy the company of your fellow campers and a park interpreter around a fire in the campground fire pit, and participate in an evening of stories, reflection, games, songs, and other campfire classics for the first hour or so. Add to the fun by bringing musical instruments if you have them, and continue to enjoy the campfire and connection with fellow campers into the evening—at least until quiet hours begin at 11 p.m.!

Each campfire program is unique and has different offerings, but there may be hot chocolate or tea, marshmallows and roasting sticks, or dough to make your own bannock over the open fire.

Monday (Broad Cove Campground Beach)
Friday (Ingonish Beach Campground)

June 24 to August 30
8:30 p.m.
1.5 hours

There are no age restrictions for this program, and there is no limit to the number of participants. While the program is intended for campers, non-camping park visitors are also welcome. In the case of truly inclement weather, the program may be cancelled or moved to a kitchen shelter, where the gathering can still take place around the wood stove.

Friday’s programs take place at the campground group fire pits at Ingonish Beach campground, next to the Parka Activity Building. Monday’s campfire will be held on Broad Cove Beach.

Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellant. Bring a mug for hot beverages, and your musical instruments to help us make music!


Starry Night

Starry NightStarry Night

Discover astronomy through a presentation featuring local legends about constellations and interactive activities. Learn how to use a constellation finder, why dark skies are so important to our natural world, and what we can do to improve our night skies.

On nights when the skies are clear, use a large telescope to look more closely at stars, planets, and the face of the moon. On nights when the skies are not clear, there is still a presentation, but instead of using a telescope, explore the sky using technology: night sky apps!

Saturdays
June 30 to September 1
9:00 p.m. (July)
8:30 p.m. (August)

1 - 1.5 hours

There are no age restrictions for this program, and there is no limit to the number of participants. The program is intended for all audiences, but may be a little too late in the evening for some of our youngest visitors.

Meet at the Chéticamp Campground or the outdoor theatre at the Broad Cove Campground. Programs occur simultaneously at both locations.

Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to apply insect repellant. To protect night vision for stargazing, the use of flashlights and mobile phones is discouraged. If you have a red light, this will permit you to see without impacting night vision.