Located on the western shore of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Fishing Cove once served as the home to a few Scottish families and a lobster cannery, but it is now the site of the only designated wilderness campground in the park. Due to its inaccessibility by vehicle and its smaller size, this campground offers much more seclusion than the park’s front-country alternatives.
Visitors will begin the 6 kilometer trek to the campground at the Fishing Cove Trailhead, located on the west side of the scenic Cabot Trail. An old access road descends through a hardwood Acadian forest before becoming a rugged hiking trail that follows a tributary to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This trail is steep in spots and can be muddy, but the views from the campground make it worthwhile. Distance markers are located at each kilometer along the trail, making it easy to keep track of where you are in relation to the trailhead and campground. Be sure to be on the lookout for moose, coyotes, and black bears while during the hike to the cove.
At kilometer six, the trail emerges into an open meadow overlooking Fishing Cove. Eight wooden tent platforms sit perched above the cove, two of which are located in the meadow on the hillside, and they offering spectacular views of a cobblestone beach and the dramatic cliffs that encompass the cove. Although there is a freshwater tributary running alongside the campground, there is no potable water source on-site. Visitors are expected to pack out everything they carry in and be comfortable with backcountry travel. Fires are not permitted, so a camp stove is recommended. It is possible to make reservations, although specific tent-sites are on a first-come, first-served basis. A $10 per-person backcountry permit is required to stay at this campground and can be acquired at the Chéticamp or Ingonish visitor centers.