Enjoy Your Yurt in Fall & Winter: What you should know

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As fall sets in we are reminded by the crisp mornings and chilly evenings to have extra clothing, blankets or quilts, and extra hot tea when heading outdoors. Many people are surprised that Cabot Shores is open 4 seasons, and even more so that we encourage our guests to stay in Mongolian and cedar style yurts during these cold months! Here are some frequently asked questions about us and our yurts during the colder seasons.

What is there to do in Fall and Winter?

The outdoors awaits you no matter what the season is! Many people come to Cape Breton Island in the fall to see the spectacular colours of the leaves along the sprawling mountainous coastline, as well as hiking, sight-seeing, fishing, and events like the Celtic Colours Festival. Fall is a great time of year to visit and many people prefer the more moderate temperatures while enjoying the outdoors. However, as the temperatures drop further and we approach Winter, transportation and weather play a huge role in whether or not guests visit Cape Breton Island.

It is hard to imagine a more beautiful and pristine landscape than that of our winter months, when cross country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and general fun in the snow is happening all around the island. Staying in a yurt during these frosty months can be a very comfortable, cozy and worthwhile adventure if you are prepared.

What are the differences between a Mongolian and Cedar Yurt?

Mongolian Yurts were used by nomadic peoples for thousands of years and were originally made of felt and furs. Also known as a ger (which means Home in Mongolian), modern yurts like the 7 we have at Cabot Shores are insulated with felt and canvas and bound by horsehair ropes. Their insulated walls allow the environment of the yurt to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A tono is the screened skylight at the top of your yurt which allows air circulation and extra light to shine through in the summer; it is covered by an insulated canvas flap that must be closed tightly during winter. These yurts are hand painted with beautiful, ornate designs and offer a unique experience through any season. Expect the roof to be lower than what you are used to in this style yurt. Each yurt is equipped with its own deck and are near a Cedar soaking tub which you can book upon availability.


The tono of a Mongolian style yurt

Cedar Yurts are a more modern approach to the same round structure. Made completely from Cedar with an insulated roof that features a large dome skylight, this yurt is built to keep in heat – but only to an extent. Equipped with a wood stove as the main source of heat, guests will need to tend to the fire to keep the environment toasty and warm. Wood, kindling and matches are provided to our guests. During very cold weather, the fire is lit and the yurt is warmed prior to your arrival. A Cedar soaking tub is also located outside of this yurt.


The dome skylight of a cedar style yurt

Is there electricity in a yurt?

Most of our yurts have electricity. In the summer, the Little Red Yurt, Sky Yurt, Big Orange Yurt and Wilderness Yurt have no electricity. They are outfitted with solar lamps, lanterns and flashlights. If needing to charge devices, we invite guests to use our main lodge.

How are yurts heated?

Our Cedar and some of the Mongolian yurts (Big Red and Forest) have electricity available but they are heated with a wood stove. To best enjoy this experience, it is essential that you are willing to keep your wood stove stocked with wood while you are in the yurt. This may mean getting up through the night to do so. When arriving during the winter, we will have your fire lit before check in; there is nothing more inviting than a warm, cozy yurt!

Our other Mongolian style yurts are heated with portable electric heaters that create a truly comfortable space to relax. The insulation of our yurts provides a cool environment in the summer and a warm environment in the winter.

Are bedding and towels provided?

Yes. Each bed is fitted with double comforters and warm blankets and sheets. Extra blankets are available if needed. Towels and face cloth sets are provided to each guest, as is fresh water, cups, flashlights, and a source of heat.

How far are the bathrooms from my yurt?

They are a short walk away and are located inside the main lodge during winter months. Staff ensure there is a clear, packed down path to each yurt by snowshoeing a trail each day (sometimes multiple times a day). It may be difficult to walk with boots only during certain weather; snowshoes are available on site and are included in our winter package.

How can I be sure that I will be comfortable in a yurt during fall and winter?

Besides evaluating which style of yurt best suits your preferences, preparedness will be the key to a cozy getaway in a yurt during the colder months. Packing sufficient clothing (including head wear or a hoodie to protect you ears and neck), bringing comfortable and warm, waterproof boots, and organizing snacks ahead of time will greatly improve your stay. Our GoBistro offers a nutritional breakfast and dinner, but you will not likely be travelling the long distances required to access grocery stores, so snacks or preferred foods are important to have on hand. If you are choosing to eat on your own and cooking outdoors, we recommend packing the essentials such as propane/stove, cookware, and food. We invite our guests to ask us what we recommend bringing with them ahead of time.

We also have an infrared sauna which helps your muscles relax and warm up after long hikes and/or cold days. Also, ask about our Cedar hot tubs which are available year round.

During winter, it is occasionally necessary during icey conditions to switch to a yurt closer to the lodge.

Is there a refrigerator where I can keep food cold?

Yes. It is located in our common room and can be accessed 24/7. We do however suggest bringing your own cooler as there is limited space.

What if the weather is too stormy to be outdoors?

Sometimes the wind, rain and sleet make it hard to spend time enjoying the outdoors. If you would like a break from hanging out in your yurt, you are welcome to sit by our stone hearth in the lodge and enjoy complimentary tea, books, board games, wifi and a game of ping pong or pool. We have also found that our guests enjoy the company of one another and often those interested in music end up jamming with the variety of instruments and noise makers we have available.

Is there cell service and wifi at your resort?

There is no cell service in Indian Brook where Cabot Shores is located. In either direction, cell service can be found in a few kilometers. We have a landline available for calls for a small donation. Wifi is available in the entire lodge building, but in no other accommodations.

Are dogs allowed in yurts?

Yes, with the exception of 2 that remain dog free in case a guest with allergies needs a pet free space. We recommend bringing your dog’s bed or a blanket for them to lay on as the floors can be cold. We ask that guests do not allow their dogs on beds or furniture. More information on our pet friendly accommodations here.

What if I don’t want to stay in a yurt – are there other accommodations?

Yes. We have more standard rooms in our lodge as well as chalets.

Here is a link to a great blog featuring ten facts about yurts.

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