Hiking 'Money Point' in Bay St. Lawrence, Cape Breton - Treasure is waiting at water's edge
Money Point, Bay St. Lawrence, is a place we’ve been trying to get to for a while and the timing has always been off whenever we’ve been near. I first heard of it when we did the Kauzmann trail, which is nearby (another cool hike - similar to Skyline) located in the same area, Bay St. Lawrence. Apparently Money Point gets its name from a shipwreck centuries ago; a French Galleon sank off the coast and gold coins washed ashore. When we were hiking I had the thought “I wonder if there’s still coins to be found?!” Alas, we found other treasure at the water’s edge instead.
We started early - leaving Cheticamp before 8am to get hiking around 9am. On the drive there we even saw a young moose up on French Mountain; it just looked at us and walked calmly back into the forest. We also saw lots of grey rabbits - the animals must have been out early for a little breakfast!
When we arrived in Bay St. Lawrence we just followed the road towards the wharf - where you’ll see a road sign on the right that says “Money Point”; we turned right and headed toward the mountain - eventually the paved road turns into a dirt road. You basically come to a dead-end and park your vehicle there- just make sure not to block others or to get yourself blocked in! The trail is the one to the left and it’s marked with a few pieces of orange tape. We managed to get there for a 9:15 start and began our adventure.
The hike starts out with a steep climb right away, there’s no joking around here, it’s all uphill for a good 30-45 minutes. I just kept thinking I need a reprise from this hill. It was full sun and we were feeling it! We were lucky and spotted a few garter snakes basking in the warm sunlight - I love catching glimpses like those of nature. About half way up we even stopped once to pull out the bug spray - something we don’t often have to do, usually there’s a good breeze to keep the black flies at bay.
When you get to the top of the mountain you keep to your left (there’s a dirt ATV trail/road to access the cell towers on the right - you want to avoid that route). You basically stay on the left side which is also a dirt road, but it’s slightly narrower. This continues for about 1.6 kilometres until you come to yet another fork in the road. Stay left again! This one descends toward Money Point. Watch out it’s a long descent and it will catch your ankles unaware if you’re not super careful. There’s a lot of loose rocks and it’s really steep in places. You’ll probably catch yourself thinking “oh this is going to suck going back up”, or at least that’s what I thought!!
Toward the base of the descent you’ll notice that there’s large animal droppings, we kept thinking maybe there was cattle out near the grassy area, but we were even luckier! There were four large horses grazing near the ocean. It was by far the most unexpected view. Roman was up ahead of us and the horses started to run toward us - we were thinking either they’re going to charge and trample us or be happy to see humans. Either way we didn’t have time to move. They came right up to us, sniffing our packs looking for food - and licking our hands as we petted them. They were super sweet! Our friend had a dog with her and the horses didn’t seem to mind! The horses followed us for a little ways as we headed toward the old lighthouse location. We just were so surprised to see horses, grazing here, out of all places!
We stopped and had our picnic lunch at the far side of the lighthouse foundation remains; it’s hard to believe the amount of buildings that were once here. On our way back toward the trailhead the wind picked up and chilled us; we grabbed our windbreakers and headed for the shelter of the trail. There’s apparently still a shipwreck on the coastline - we didn’t get to the end to see it this time. On the way back up the trail we felt the climb. It just seemed like it was endless and I mean ENDLESS! It was so hot, the sun was just scorching and the loose rocks didn’t help either. It meant lots of stops to have water and catch the ocean views. The water was stunning, with fishing boats and shimmering blue ocean. You can see St. Paul’s Island from here, and across to White Point.
The last part of the hike was pretty easy, there’s a flat section before the last mountain - this was really nice. As you descend there’s striking views of Bay St. Lawrence that we totally missed on our way up. We stopped to take a few photos here and take it all in. The final stretch is downhill for a couple of kilometers, watch the rocky sections as you descend!
We absolutely loved this hike. The steep mountain climbs are a real workout!! We really love a great hike that gets your heartbeat up and blood flowing. The highlight of this hike is definitely the scenery on the other side of the mountain. The openness of the sparkling blue ocean, the fishing boats and of course the treasure - four beautiful horses grazing at the water’s edge.
We highly recommend this hike if you love a steep climb and ocean views!