Freshwater Lake Trail – Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Starting next to the ocean, this short, level trail follows the shoreline of a small lake that was once an ocean bay. A side trail (1.6 km return) follows the cobble barrier beach which separates the lake from the Atlantic Ocean. Hear the unique song of the loon, or catch a glimpse of one from the viewing deck. Complete your stroll with a dip in the ocean or in Freshwater Lake itself. Bicycles are permitted on this trail but pedestrians have the right of way.
Trailhead: The Ingonish Beach Day Use Area parking lot
Significant Feature: Atlantic coastline, lake, beaver pond
Length: 1.7 km (1.1 mi)
Hiking Time: 30–40 minutes
Elevation: 0–15 m (0–50 ft)
Level, wheelchair-accessible trail. Suitable for families with young children.
Trail Rating: Easy
GPS Co-ordinates for Trailhead (in decimal degrees):
Lat: 46.650291 Long: -60.390789
Park is open year-round but full visitor services are only available from mid-May until mid-October. A park pass is required all year for hiking or use of other services in the park; park entry fee applies. Check in at the Parks Canada visitor centres in Chéticamp (16 Visitor Centre Rd., situated on the west side of the park) or in Ingonish (37637 Cabot Trail, on the east side of the park) to obtain passes, information on visitor safety and any other information you may need, including a trail location map.
For your comfort and safety:
– Do not approach, disturb or feed wild animals.
– Take along appropriate clothing – rapid weather changes often occur on the plateau or along the coast.
– Carry water with you, especially for longer trails, climbs or open barrens.
– Bring insect repellent as black flies and mosquitoes are common all summer.
– Mountain bikes are permitted only where indicated, for public safety and protection of the environment.
– Stay on designated trails and boardwalks to protect fragile vegetation.
– Do not throw food or scraps along the trails or roads.
– Read “Keep it Wild, Keep it Safe” brochure, available at park visitor centres and on the Parks Canada website.
– Recreational drone use is prohibited within the national park for the safety of wildlife and other visitors