Highlands National Park
7.4km Loop
Mountain, Woodland


Franey is one of the hiking trails that show you what Cape Breton is all about – rolling mountains, fall colours, and cool ocean scenes. Even if you have only hiked it once, you will never forget it.

The mountains in this region of the Highlands National park roll one into the other, forming a virtual sea of vegetation. Steep high mountains such as Cape smokey and lush fertile valleys such as the Clyburn litter this area.

Climbing 330 metres in only four kilometres this mountain hike is quite steep in areas. As part of the park the trail is well kept and safe. Stairs have been constructed in some of the steeper portions of the trail but that does not mean it is easy.

The climb is well worth it. When you reach the top the brush opens up to the former sight of a fire tower. Here you will find a large outcrop of flat rock perfect for a snack or to sit and take in the sights below.

From here you can see the eastern coast of Cape Breton, the valley river far below, and, if visited in early October, a sea of reds, oranges, and yellows.

When heading down, take the old ranger’s road which will take you on a more gradual descent down the mountain. It is located just to the right of the trail you came up.

MapFrom the Locals
From the Locals
While traveling the Cabot Trail, turn at the Englishtown ferry (located at the base of Kelly¹s mountain), continue toward Ingonish. A few kilometres past the entrance of the Highland National Park you will see a sign across from the beach at Ingonish Centre, turn left here. Continue on this road for another kilometre. (The hike is located in the Highlands National Park, so you may want to pick up a map of hiking trails as you enter the Park)
Photos by: Steven Rolls (

Leave a Comment