Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Nova Scotia with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Some newly felled trees across trail on West side of Ash Lake, otherwise in great shape this spring.

Simply Beautiful.

2 months ago

hiked this a few years ago. loved it!

Nice in the fall. Ash Lake is quiet and lovely. It's really good to record and compare with the map as the trails can be a little faint at times. There are tapes and paint at tricky spots though plus some signs. I didn't go the Hobson's Lake route but picked a different way in and back.

4 months ago

wonderful place!

great views. plenty of long climbs but space between them to gather your steam back.
Can be done in 3 days, 4 at a more moderate pace.

5 months ago

We were suppose to hike Skyline on the west side of Cape Breton, but fog rolled in. Franey was our next choice and did not disappoint at all. Great hike, great views. Up and back as the loop is not challenging.

6 months ago

Great hike. Incredible views of the Ingonish area. This was our first time hiking Franey. We've hiked Skyline numerous times. The views from Franey are more breath taking then Skyline.

6 months ago

Amazing view

great for a day hike

on Franey Trail

7 months ago

Nice views, a lake, some small streams. I recommend going up counter clockwise for an easier accent.

7 months ago

Loved the scenery

This trail was challenging and exhilarating all at the same time. The first day we hiked 12 ish from visitors center to Refugee. There were 3 climbs and descents that were said to be 45 degrees steep and one km in length each way. It was a long, slow zigzag descent and an even slower ascent on the other side. With each down we knew there was an up coming. Honestly, I'd rather go up than down.
Day 2 -we hiked 8ish km from Refugee to Big Bald Brooke. It was a spectacular day and absolutely beautiful scenery. There were some ups and downs, but not like day 1. The camp sites at big bald were lovely and we cooled off and cleaned up in the brooke right beside our camp site.
Day 3- we planned on hiking to Seal Cove (7 km) but things changed and we decided to boogy out to Eatonville where were parked a car. Day 3 was rainy and foggy in the morning. However, even with the fog it was obvious that the views would be sellar on a clear day.
TIPs: not for the faint of mind or heart.
TIP 2: take electrolyte drink or tabs to replenish what was lost in sweat
TIP 3: purify all water!!!
TIP 4: Be sure to hang food in a tree. 10' high, 5' out from the tree to avoid bears thinking you are the restaurant.

Above all... SMILE and enjoy

Beautiful trail, but no marking!

7 months ago

Tough but good to the top. Great views on top. Gravel road down

7 months ago

This is a beautiful trail! It is 1400+ feet to the top. The app says this is a moderate trail , however, I consider it very challenging. The first half is about a 45 degree incline to the top, over rocks and roots and the second half , although not as picturesque, is easier walking however there is loose rock terrain making your footing uncertain. Lots of signs of wild life (bear scat, moose droppings , and coyote). Didn't happen to run in to any though ( thankfully). If you want a great work out and about 4 hours of hiking, this trail doesn't disappoint. Bring lots of water! One bottle is not enough! I agree with others who have said , when you think you're at the top you're not! Keep going until you see the red chair! Stunning views make all your hard work worth it.

7 months ago

One of the best backpacking trips we've done!

7 months ago

Not outstanding in summer. The view from the top is nice, but I'm not sure it's worth the hike up there unless you just really like walking through the forest. However, I think this would be stunning in fall.

I definitely wouldn't do the entire loop unless you're there in fall. The southeast portion of the trail is probably what most folks do first. I would do an out and back along this route. The longer portion (that I don't recommend) is so buggy. There were just so many flies and sweat bees that weren't present on the first half. Plus, it's longer, and there's not really anything to see.

7 months ago

The first half is pretty challenging if you're someone who's used to being at sea level, but the views are 100% worth it. The second half of the loop is pretty boring, but easy.

Would probably rate this Trail as difficult due to rough terrain and very steep inclines. Took 6.5hrs and enjoyed every minute!

Two and a half days of travel. This was a great excursion for my buddies and I. Challenging but amazing look offs.



Beautiful Trail! The looped trail offers amazing backcountry camping without having to retrace your steps. New and amazing views every day. Did the full loop hike in 3 days and 2 nights. But for a relaxing pace and to have more 'down time' at your camping spots, I suggest 4 days and 3 nights. The best spots to stop for the night are Refugee Cove and Seal Cove. I have hiked the full trail in both July and August, both times water supplies were plentiful.

The Climb is well worth the Views

10 months ago

Great hike! We did this on a beautiful day at the end of April and there was still a lot of snow on the trail, so much that we were able to snowshoe the whole thing. Great views and had the mountain to ourselves. Saw lots of animal tracks and a couple piles of bear scat. We couldn't do the loop as the trail was snowed out still so took the fire road up and down. Highly recommend!

10 months ago

Nice relatively easy hike with a great payoff at the end.

11 months ago

Hiked this trail back in 2013 as soon as it was open with my husband. It was quite challenging with gear and took us 5 nights and 6 days.
We enjoyed the trip a lot. Plenty of chances to see the ocean and take pictures.

I was happy to see tags - its early in the season so parts of the trail were a bit hard to find - overall a great trail! I would certainly do it again :)

hiked for 3 beautiful days at the end of September. Perfect time of year for this trail. keep your energy levels up:-)

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Once you leave the Hobson's Lake Trail, you are more likely to see a canoe or kayak then another hiker. As a result, the Ash Lake loop offers a great opportunity to empty your mind and just enjoy the day.

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