Your Travel Guide for a Getaway to Pollett’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Hike to the top northwest of Cape Breton Islands to visit these breathtaking views and friendly horses!!
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Pollett’s Cove is Cape Breton Island‘s largest wilderness area, it is located on the northwest coast, and is only accessible by foot or boat! This is Cape Breton‘s well kept secrets! 

This land is owned by multi-millionaire lottery winner, Matthew Moore, who purchased from a family who owned it for over a century. However, it is open for all to visit! 

As one of Nova Scotia‘s most remote regions, be ready for stunning coastal and highland scenery at all angles. There is also a beach that stretches along the coast – This spot is the perfect getaway date! Secluded and beautiful. Oh! Did I mention that there are horses that roam free there? Are you convinced yet that this is the perfect off grid getaway? 

So keep reading for the ultimate guide to a Pollett’s Cove getaway, starting with some must-know tips before you embark on this date idea.


  • Pack light! This trail is very strenuous with a lot of steep uphill and narrow rocky ledges
  • Start early and make a day trip if you did not want to hike in the dark or were not planning to camp overnight. It will take 3 – 4 hours to get to the cove, so if you wanted to spend a bit of time with the horses or wanted to fully wind down to enjoy the space… start in the morning!
  • No reception. You will not get cellular service. Make sure to download any maps needed for the trip. Also don’t forget your Spotify playlists!
  • Bring carrots! The horses are very friendly, and would come up to you for snacks! But BEWARE these horses are extremely intelligent and know hikers bring food! We have seen horses steal peoples’ backpacks – so do not leave your stuff unattended.
  • Trekking Poles. The hike includes numerous rocky and steep ledges. Trekking poles can give hikers more stability while also reducing stress on the knees. Being amateur hikers, my partner and I picked up long tree branches to improvise! It really helped us (and we felt like we were Gandalf)
  • Prepare to get your feet wet! You will have to pass a shallow river at some point during your hike. Take your shoes and socks off, and soak your feet in crystal clear waters! This was one of my favourite spots during the hike – the views of this valley was breathtaking.
  • DON’T GIVE UP! Again, the hike is not the faint of heart. It is not dangerous per se, but it is strenuous! Once you’ve arrived at the cove and see the horses.. It will be all worth it!
This Valley marks the halfway point of the hike.
Pollett's Cove

The Pollett's Cove Hike

Now that you have those important tips in mind, we have some insider info you’ll discover on your Pollett’s Cove journey.

As you’re hiking, prepare for a lot of ups and downs as you follow the natural mountain trails. This makes for breathtaking views, but could also take your breath away if you don’t pace yourself.

The first ascent of Pollett’s Cove is ‘Heart Attack Hill’ and is the most challenging part of the hike with its incredibly steep terrain.

It’s kind of like a relationship, with ups and downs and that first challenging patch to get to a beautiful destination, kind of a perfect date journey, eh? 

PS. The trail is dog friendly! 


The Horses

The best photo opp and cutest part of Pollett’s Cove is the horses! These horses are not wild and are incredibly friendly.

Your new horse friends are not permanent residents, the horses are taken in around the springtime and removed during the colder months. They of course, don’t trek the whole course, but instead get offloaded on the beach itself. 

Approx. 10 – 11 horses reside here, and again, they are curious of visitors! They are not shy at all and can be quite mischievous, knowing backpacks of hikers are full of goodies – so keep your belongings close. We’ve witnessed hikers chasing after the horses for their backpacks! 

Playful and beautiful. These horses are absolutely one of major highlights of this hike. You will see them running down the highlands, galloping in their herd with their manes in the air – it is a sight to see, and super romantic!

Our Pollett's Cove Experience (and what not to do!)

We are not avid hikers and knew this was a challenging hike. We knew we had to push ourselves – we are only young once! 

How did we get through?

  • Cheered each other on throughout the hike (must needed) – “eyes on the prize, eyes on the prize!”

  • We wanted to camp overnight so we both brought big hiking backpacks (Big mistake! It was too heavy for us and made the hike ten times harder) 

  • Bring tons of water! – We did not bring enough. At the end…We had to ration our water. BIG BIG mistake. 

  • Worth it! This was one of the most challenging things we had to do as a couple. We are so proud of ourselves for completing it! From keeping each other motivated….to laughing at our unfit bodies… We are so happy we checked this off our bucket list!

Once you reach the cove and see the playful horses galloping up and down the hills,  you’ll understand why you put yourself through all that sweat and hard work. 

Directions to Pollett's Cove

Getting to Pollett’s Cove isn’t easy, but the adventure is so worth it! If you’re embarking on this road trip, you’ll be driving about five hours from central Halifax to get to the trail.

Drive towards the Gampo Abbey, a western Buddhist monastery and once there, continue down that road until there’s a dead end and trail start for Pollett’s Cove.

You park alongside the road and start on the hike to your final destination!

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Add this adventure to your bucket list! This one will be an unforgettable experience with rewarding memories.

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