The Louisbourg Lighthouse trail is one of the best coastal hiking trails in Nova Scotia. This trail is steeped in history where it saw the future of Canada. Not only was it the site of the first lighthouse in Canada but the fall of New France also started here.
PLEASE NOTE - THE TRAIL IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO SEVERE DAMAGE FROM FIONA
Directions: Location just outside of the town of Louisbourg on the Fleur-de-Lis trail. Take Havenside Road (located to your left as you enter the town just across from the Railway Museum) and follow it for several kilometers until you reach the lighthouse. There is a very spacious parking area. Just look for the signs for the hiking trail.
GPS at trailhead: N 45o 54' 24.8" W 59o 57' 25.5"
Distance: 8.5 km (5.3 mi) return
Elevation: mostly level trail with no significant elevation changes
Time: 2-3 hours (could be closer to 4 if you go to Lorraine Head)
Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate
Food/Water: Water is always necessary. Lights snacks are also a good idea. There are several benches along the trail where you can stop for a break
Clothes/Accessories: A sweater or light jacket as it can be very windy along the Atlantic Ocean; the weather can change quickly so watch for incoming rain & be prepared; sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots; insect repellent; binoculars and a camera.
Facilities: there are no facilities on this trail
Canada's first lighthouse was built here in 1734. The remains of this historic lighthouse can still be seen as well as the remains of the 2nd lighthouse. They lie at the base of the current lighthouse which was constructed in 1924.
The lighthouse as a commanding view of the ocean and the coastline. There is also a great view of the Fortress of Louisbourg.
The fall of New France can be traced to this coastline. The British General James Wolfe and his soldiers sailed to Cape Breton from New England in 1758 to capture the Fortress of Louisbourg.
Afterward they would continue to Quebec City and Montreal and the Fall of New France would be complete. Wolfe and his soldiers landed on this coastline. You'll see several panels explaining the landing sites as you hike the Louisbourg Lighthouse trail.
One of the great things about the trail is that you can hike for as long as you want since you return on the same trail. Most of the trail is along the coast with only short spurts in the woods. The trail is very well maintained and clearly marked. However, after several kilometers it can get wet, more rocky and more uneven.
It was quite windy when I hiked the trail with my nephew. This meant that the crashing waves were unbelievable. The ocean sure gave us a show. It had also been raining so parts of the trail were very wet. I was very happy to have my hiking boots. And I always say that good footwear is necessary on any hike
Overall, I don't think this is a difficult trail. However, there can be a big difference between the relative ease at the beginning of the trail and later on.
I think the trail is good for kids but do be careful as you can get very close to the ocean. There are no guard rails once you venture onto the rocks so pay attention to your footing. The first part of the trail is very easy and is great for kids and for anyone who just wants to go for a short walk.
Make sure you turn around to look at the lighthouse once on the hiking trail. The views are gorgeous and perfect for the amateur photographer. You might also see some fishing boats while on the trail. Some of them come close to shore to check their traps so have your camera ready.
This trail is located just across the bay from the Fortress of Louisbourg. I strongly suggest you take a day to explore the fortress. The Fortress of Louisbourg is North America's largest 18th Century Re-construction. Inside this little seaport you will find costumed animators living life as it was in 1744.
There is a Visitor Information Centre (VIC) on the main street (7595 Main St.) in the middle of the town of Louisbourg. They will be able to let you know of any current activities happening during your visit.
Check Trip Advisor for restaurants too. Very usefull!
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