Meat Cove Mountain

Meat Cove Campground Sunrise
Sunrise at Meat Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When I first heard the words, Meat Cove a bizarre vision of a ghastly coastline covered in dead creatures entered my mind. I was left to wonder why anyone would want to go there or why someone would name a place such a thing. After a little research my thoughts about the name are historically accurate, but after seeing only a few photos of the place I knew that I had to see this stunning landscape for myself. I needed to witness this place where the sharp cliffs rise up out of the ocean’s crashing waves and transform into rolling green hills. Those hills beckoned me to come and hike them. After a little research, the hill mountain to climb was clear. It was the one that bore the town’s name. We were going to this remote spot and we were hiking Meat Cove Mountain.

Stats

Meat Cove Mountain Wildflowers
The highlands of Cape Breton are covered in wildflowers throughout the Summer.
  • Rating: Strenuous
  • Distance: 2.25-miles (Round-trip)
  • Elevation: 110’ – 1,030’
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,032’
  • Trailhead: Meat Cove Mountain (AKA: Mountain Trail)
  • Location: The Northern Tip of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Getting to Meat Cove

Getting to the trailhead for Meat Cove Mountain is part of the adventure. It is located at the very northern tip of Nova Scotia on the island of Cape Breton. Meat Cove is the last small town at the end of a somewhat difficult dirt road. The 6-mile-long dirt road is in turn found at the end of the islands asphalt. This is a spot that is out of the way and yet a must-visit spot for anyone traveling this part of the world.

Meat Cove Campground

Meat Cove Campground
The Meat Cove Campground is perched on the cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean.

The best spot to take in the beauty of Meat Cove is the campground. It sits perched precariously on the cliffs lining the Atlantic Ocean and a stay here is worth the journey itself. The campground is considered to be the best one in Nova Scotia and is consistently ranked in Canda’s top 10. It is stunningly beautiful.

The Meat Cove Mountain Trailhead

The Meat Cove Mountain Trailhead Sign
This simple sign is the only indication for the trail at the trailhead.

The trailhead for Meat Cove Mountain is nothing more than a small pullout and only big enough for two vehicles at most. It is located on the left side of the road as it approaches the small town of Meat Cove. If you arrive in town you have gone just a little too far. There is a sign at the trailhead that simply reads “Mountain Trail.” If you arrive too the small pullout being full, more parking is available at the Meat Cove Welcome Center. The welcome center is located a few hundred feet down the road.

Hiking Meat Cove Mountain

Meat Cove Mountain Rope Railing
This rope strung between pieces of rebar is the only real trail construction found on Meat Cove Mountain, but it is very nice to have in the steepest sections.

The initial ascent of Meat Cove Mountain is a slog. To say that the trail is steep is an understatement. It rises 850′ in just over 1/2 of a mile. It is steep, strenuous and a little dangerous. There is very little trail construction found on this mountainside. The path is dirt and rock surrounded by thick woods. There are no steeps. The only form of “construction” to be found is that of a rope strewn between verticle pieces of rebar and this kindness is only available in the steepest sections.

The First Mountain Destination

Meat Cove Mountain Rocky Overlook
Jennifer standing on the first great overlook point on the hike up Meat Cove Mountain in the highlands of Cape Breton Island.

The destination for Meat Cove Mountain trail is three-fold. The top of the initial ascent tappers off at the top of the tree line. The trail then enters into a zone of brush filled with berries. We saw a lot of bear scat in this area and can assume they visit frequently. Quickly the trail arrives at a three-way split. Directly ahead there is a large rock that could be described as the first destination. From atop this rock, hikers are rewarded with views up one of the highland’s valleys. A deep cut into the earth that curves around the peak on its way to Meat Cove and the Ocean beyond.

The Second Destination to the Right

Meat Cove Overlook
Jennifer standing on the 2nd overlook which has the best views of Meat Cove.

The trail to the right first leads up a ridge where glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean can be found. However, the best views are located at the end of this spur. The trail descends back down into the trees and at the end, it emerges onto a small slanted overlook. This spot has the best views of Meat Cove and the Atlantic Ocean.  

The Third “Left” Destination – Meat Cove Mountain

Ridge-line of Meat Cove Mountain
Looking back at the ridge-line with the trail from the top of Meat Cove Mountain.

Taking the left path back at the junction leads hikers up a moderately steep ridgeline to the top of Meat Cove Mountain. Hikers are rewarded with different viewpoints into the deep valley below as well as views back down the ridgeline. In addition, there are views that stretch out to the left (east) of the trail. Here the landscape slopes gently but continuously down towards the Atlantic Ocean.

A Hike Up Meat Cove Mountain

Meat Cove Mountain and the Highlands
The highlands of Cape Breton Island as seen from Meat Cove Mountain trail.

This amazing trail that leads adventurous souls to the summit of Meat Cove Mountain is a hidden gem at the tip of Nova Scotia. It isn’t an easy trail to find nor hike but rewards those who succeed with stunning views of the Cape Breton Highlands and its rugged coastline.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Sublett says:

    So deeply interesting. So happy for you and Jennifer being able to go, visit, stay and hike.

    1. NomadicMoments says:

      Thanks Karen. We are blessed and having lots of fun exploring our world.

  2. Wendie. S/Y My JAGAII Rafferty says:

    Jim often talks about you two great blog always on the go very interesting keep it up

    1. NomadicMoments says:

      Happy to hear that you and dad enjoy. We are having a lot of fun. It is a lot of work but memories last a lifetime.

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