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Polletts Cove

Length:   15 km (9.4 mi) return
Hiking Time:   6+hrs
Type of Trail:   compacted earth, natural surface
Uses (no snow):   walking
Uses (snow):   snowshoeing, cross-country skiing (advanced)
Facilities:   none
Dog Use:   off-leash permitted

Gov't Topo Map:   11K15 (Pleasant Bay)
Rating (1-5):   5 [remoteness, steepness, rugged conditions]

Trailhead GPS Reference:   N 46 52’ 23.5” W 60 44’ 34.8”

Access Information: From Pleasant Bay, turn off the Cabot Trail toward Red River on paved road. After 5 km (3 mi), pavement ends. Continue on dirt road to its end 4 km (2.5 mi) later, 1.5 km (1 mi) past Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist Monastery.

Introduction: Polletts Cove is on most people’s list of their favourite hikes in Nova Scotia. Once someone has camped in Polletts Cove, they tend to come back again and again. The rough, but serviceable, footpath takes you through the finest in Cape Breton’s highland scenery, providing access into the isolated wilderness north of the national park.

This is a route only for the experienced, and I recommend completing it over two days. More than 500 m/yd of vertical climb is required in each direction.

The land around Polletts Cove Beach is private property, although the landowner generously permits public access. Cattle and horses are sometimes left in the cove to graze, unattended. Please show particular care and practice Leave No Trace principles.

Cautionary Notes: Wildlife. Hunting permitted in season. Rugged terrain. No signage. No cell phone reception.

Ratings are designated from 1 to 5 indicating suitability for all fitness and experience levels, with 5 being suitable only for experienced and very fit outdoor people. Novices should only choose level 1 and 2 hikes, and work their way up. Level 4 and 5 hikes have indicators associated with their ratings.

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