Cape Breton Highlands NP – West side

July 22, 2019

Monday I drove north along the west side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park (NP).  The pictures I took Monday didn’t turn out very well and I went up to the Park again Tuesday and Wednesday.  These photos are what seem to be the best shots from all three days (so you will see variations is sky quality and cloud cover).


Shortly after entering the Park at the southwest entrance the first thing you come to is Grande Falaise, a rock wall that kind of reminds me, in shape, of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park (although they are very different in composition and height).


Next is a small parking area to the left just before the first uphill climb.  The road will go up and down along the coast for a while before making a final ascent into the mountains.  This post will cover the territory between Park entrance and that climb into the mountains.  I will make another post about the mountains and the northern edge of the Park.  The post below this one covers the east coast portion of the Park.

This is the view from atop the hill looking back.



And a view from the first lookoff area at the coastline looking south:





The road then goes back down near the water level.  Once down there there are two ponds, one to the left as the road turns towards the water and one on the right.

Left side of the road, looking south:


Right side of the road, looking north:


I drove out to the end of the parking area to the right of the pond in the first photo above to see Pillar Rock:


And some shore birds out on a rock looking right towards the Gulf:


The road then straightens out parallel to the water on it’s left, which at this point is the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  When I got out to the southern coast of Nova Scotia about a week ago I said that from that point forward all views of non-lake “big water” would be the Atlantic Ocean.  That was NOT correct!  Once I got up to the north coast near New Glasgow the large bodies of water off the coast are influenced by the St. Lawrence River which separates the northeast US from Canada.  It dumps out into the Atlantic Ocean north of here.  From this side of Cape Breton Island you are seeing the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and when on the east side of the Island you are, in fact, seeing the Atlantic.

Now that we have that straightened out….  Looking back south once the road gets out to the Gulf one sees Presq’ile:


And looking north the road continues ahead of me:


The road then climbs another hill and I stopped at the Cap Rouge Lookoff.  This is the view of the road looking north, ahead of me:



And looking back from where I just traveled:



When I drove the road going the other direction Tuesday I was struck by how different this looks when actually seen from the road (as the driver sees it) so I donned my trusty Safety Sam vest and stood out in the road taking pictures:


And from off the left side of the road – same spot:


Cap Rouge was also where I took the pictures of the clouds Monday.  This was looking up at the mountains from that parking area:



The first mountain the road would be climbing is French Mountain, which is just under 1,500 feet tall.  On Monday the low cloud deck was just below the very tops of the mountains.  I will be making a separate post about the mountains and the north edge of the Park.


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