Looking for an island adventure for your next RV getaway? If so, you won't want to miss out on the opportunity to visit Cape Breton Island's Whycocomagh Provincial Park. It's one of the Great White North's most beautiful vacation destinations.
Whycocomagh Provincial Park is located on Cape Breton, an island which is connected to mainland Nova Scotia by a causeway. This recreational haven is near to all of the region's most popular attractions including the world famous Cabot Trail and some of the province's best hiking locales. Whycocomagh Provincial Park is particularly stunning in the fall when the leaves change, blanketing the landscape with a sea of rich color. Set on a hillside with spectacular views of the Skye River Valley and the Bras D'or Lakes, this campground is well-renowned for its air of solitude and its incredible scenery.
This park takes its name from the small community in which it resides. It rests in the eastern portion of Inverness County and is home to only 854 residents. The name "Whycocomagh" descends from the Mikmaq language and means "head of the waters." The Skye River passes through the center of two communities: Whycocomagh and We'kogma'q First Nations. Whycocomagh is largely populated by descendants of English and Scottish settlers who made the area their home in the early 18th and 19th centuries.
A portion of the famous Transcanada Highway (Highway 105) runs along the length of the Bras D'Or Lakes, making the drive to Whycocomagh Provincial Park extremely picturesque. Situated only a 30 minute drive from the seaside gem known as Baddeck, this campground is near to many great amenities including world class restaurants, resorts, entertainment venues, boutiques, and even a library, hardware store, and pharmacy.
Whycocomagh Provincial Park is open for RV camping only seasonally, from June 7th through October 31st yearly. To experience Nova Scotia, Canada at its finest, plan an RV stay at Whycocomagh Provincial Park today.
Travelling to Whycocomagh Provincial Park could not be easier. The quaint seaside village of Baddeck is situated only 37 km (or 23 miles) away, approximately a 30 minute scenic drive. The capital city of Cape Breton Island and the area that is home to most activity, Sydney, is 114 km (or 71 miles) from the campground. From either of these cities, you will travel along the Transcanada Highway 105 W which meanders through winding roads along the coast of the Bras D'Or Lakes. The drive is majestically scenic, and there are several lookoff points where amateur photographers can practice their skills with the incredible Cape Breton landscape for a backdrop.
Highway 105 is primarily a two lane highway, and traffic progresses moderately. Though it forms a part of the Transcanada Highway, it is not heavily congested. This section of road passes through several small villages that are ideal stopping points for gas, treats, or general sightseeing. Be aware that this stretch of highway does undergo road construction in the summer, so delays may be inevitable.
If heading to the park from mainland Nova Scotia, simply follow the Transcanada Highway 104 E across the Canso Causeway. Follow the road sign to the left that is marked Cheticamp/Baddeck. From here Highway 104 E becomes Highway 105 E. This highway leads directly into the village of Whycocomagh with the campground only minutes away directly off this stretch of road.
The Canso Causeway sits just 51 km (or 32 miles) from Whycocomagh Provincial Park. This bridge which connects mainland Nova Scotia to Cape Breton Island is breathtaking to behold with its deep marine blue waters and surrounding mountainous terrain. Once on Highway 105 E, the roads are well-maintained but do tend to wind. The highway is two lanes only, so exercise caution in passing other cars. Road construction is a possibility from this direction as well.
There is plenty of parking directly off the mouth of the highway just outside the entrance to the campground. Proof of a current camping permit is required to access the campsites.
Bus service departs from Sydney (coming from the west) and Antigonish (coming from the east) via Acadian Lines. There is a scheduled stop in Whycocomagh; however, transportation directly to the campground is on foot only. Bus schedules are available online.
Whycocomagh Provincial Park has two campgrounds divided into two sections known as Loop 1 and Loop 2. These two loops contain 37 campsites. 27 of the campsites are in open or partially wooded areas and are unserviced. There are ten spots which offer water and electric hookups. Reservations are highly recommended though walk-in services are available.
Whycocomagh Provincial Park is Nova Scotia's first campground to offer yurts for rent. There are three yurts on site; each of which contains a bed, solar-powered lighting, an outdoor deck, and a barbecue.
There are many amenities at Whycocomagh Provincial Park including toilets, showers, laundry facilities, sewage disposal centers, and a multi-purpose building for events. Wifi is available free of charge in the administration building at the entrance to the campground.
There is also a playground for children to enjoy and cooking shelters suitable for barbecuing and picnicking. Pets are welcome so long as they remain on a lead.
Generator use is permitted but only between the hours of 9 AM and 8 PM daily.
This campground is open seasonally from June 7th through October 31st yearly.
The Cabot Trail, a picturesque drive of over eight hours in length, lays claim to abundant mountains and hilly terrain. Its twists, turns, and climbs make it a captivating trip that is not to be missed.
Along the Trail, there are many quaint fishing villages, artisanal shops, restaurants, beaches, and camping areas. The Cabot Trail lays claim to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Canada's #1 rated golf course, the Highland Links. For world class fishing, golfing, camping, and hiking, the Cabot Trail is a must visit destination.
Whale watching tours depart from a number of areas along the Cabot Trail including Pleasant Bay, Ingonish, and Cheticamp. Some offer guaranteed whale sightings in season.
The Cabot Trail has two entry points. One via Margaree which leads through Cheticamp and is only ten minutes from Whycocomagh Provincial Park. The other is approximately thirty minutes away in St. Ann's and passes through Ingonish. Alternatively, to start the Trail from the Ingonish side, a short ferry offers passage for passenger cars from a small dock in Englishtown. All access points are directly located off Highway 105.
Whycocomagh Provincial Park is ideally situated when it comes to sightseeing. With Baddeck only a 30 minute drive away, families can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the docks or perusing the shops that line the village's nostalgic Main Street.
Baddeck is home to many excellent restaurants and boutiques which feature everything from nautical themed clothing, high caliber fiber arts, antiques, , and souvenirs. There is even a charming cafe where you can enjoy a cappuccino and some people watching.
Sailing excursions are also available in Baddeck, and small watercraft such as kayaks and canoes can be rented for the day.
Baddeck is also home to the Bell Bay Golf Resort, the course that is the host to the annual Wayne Gretzky Invitational Classic. Celebrities often frequent this seaside retreat. Perhaps you just might sight one during your visit!
Situated along a large grass area with an awe-inspiring view of the Baddeck Bay and the Bras D'Or Lakes rests the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. True fans of history will thrill to spend a day learning more about the genius behind one of the earliest known flying machines known as the hydrofoil and the great communications tool, the telephone.
The museum is home to a large collection of personal items, photos, and original models of Mr. Bell's work including a full size representation of the Silver Dart and an HD-4 Hydrofoil. There is a section specifically for children to enjoy which includes kites, games, and interesting science-based activities.
Alexander Graham Bell made this region his home for many years. His estate can still be glimpsed; perched atop a mountain, overlooking the beautiful Bras D'or Lakes though access to the property is still denied to the public.
The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is located in Baddeck, just 30 minutes away from Whycocomagh Provincial Park. There is a fee to enter the grounds. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase on the premises.
Fishing is a popular year round activity in Whycocomagh. Ice fishing can be enjoyed during the winter months and is typically most common from December through April yearly.
Whycocomagh abounds with all kinds of different fish. Among the most popular varieties found in the Bras D'or Lakes are cod, haddock, mackerel, and smelt.
A visit to the area will unearth row upon row of lobster traps in season. Lobster fishing is government regulated, and a commercial fishing license is required.
To fish in Nova Scotia waters, it is necessary to obtain a fishing license.
The Highland Village Museum is located in the town of Iona. The property offers visitors a tour of a real world pioneer village complete with a chapel, ironsmith, and a working farm which houses horses, sheep, and cattle. Situated only 39 km (or 24 miles) from Whycocomagh Provincial Park, Highland Village Museum is also home to a restaurant, a hotel, a gourmet chocolate shop, and a gift store.
Though the museum is open year round, there are reduced hours in the off season which typically runs from the end of October through May 31st.
Entrance to the museum is fee-based.
Hiking opportunities are abundant at Whycocomagh Provincial Park both in and out of season. The park property itself is the starting point for a network of challenging trails which lead up Salt Mountain to four different lookout points from which to view the stunning Skye River Valley and Bras D'Or Lakes.
The hiking trails are extremely challenging and travel up steep terrain. Don't forget to bring good hiking shoes and to carry lots of water to keep hydrated during the climb.
The trails are most scenic during the changing of the leaves in October though the scenery is beautiful year round. From the top of the mountain, lucky hikers may catch sight of eagles in flight.
The trail system encompasses a total of 4.9 km (or 3 miles) in total.