Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Protected Areas


Cape Mabou Wilderness Area

Cape Mabou Wilderness AreaCape Mabou Wilderness Area protects a striking and culturally significant highland landscape which overlooks the surrounding lowlands and Northumberland Strait, between Mabou and Inverness.

Steep, heavily forested ravines radiate from the highland plateau in all directions. The ravines are blanketed by dense, older hardwood forest. Areas of highland plateau between the ravines support hardwood and transitional boreal forest. A small portion of the plateau is long-abandoned pastureland, now reverting to native forest.

The wilderness area is bordered by an impressive suite of protected private lands that extends to the Northumberland Strait. More than 800 hectares is protected by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT) and another 48 hectares by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). The properties are either owned by the land trusts or protected through conservation easements. These privately-owned protected lands share about 5 km of boundary with the wilderness area.

A popular, 35 km hiking trail network is maintained at Cape Mabou by the Cape Mabou Trail Club. About 10 km of this network passes through the wilderness area, including a trailhead on North Highlands Cape Mabou Road; most of the remainder is on lands now protected by NSNT and NCC. Trail users can explore humid ravines and hardwood ridges, visit abandoned farmsteads, and enjoy stunning views of the Northumberland Strait.

The Cape Mabou Pasture Co-operative Ltd. operates a community pasture on lands next to the wilderness area, on the highland plateau. As needed, the Co-operative may undertake certain activities in the wilderness area, such as retrieving stray cattle and managing vegetation along pasture fences along shared boundaries.

North Highlands Cape Mabou Road can continue to be used to access the community pasture, a trail head, and other Crown and private land on the highland plateau.

About 1,100 m of powerline passes through the wilderness area, near the North Highlands Cape Mabou Road. Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) can continue to operate and maintain this power line under terms of a license with Nova Scotia Environment.