Canadian Cycling Magazine
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND FIVE BIG ADVENTURES
Prince Edward Island isn’t the biggest province in Canada (it’s actually the smallest) but that doesn’t mean there isn’t big adventure to be had here. You can explore the Island on two wheels and cycle across the entire province tip-to-tip on the Confederation Trail which is our section of
The Great Trail. The Confederation Trail is 435 km of rolled stone dust built on an abandoned railway. Taking this trail will lead you into small towns, by the shoreline, past farmland and through the woods. It’s one of my favourite ways to get around this Island that I call home, but it’s not the only kind of cycling we have up our sleeves. We have very popular fatbiking trails and despite a lack of mountains-great mountain biking! Here are 5 big adventures you should have next time you visit!
1 NORTH CAPE TO TIGNISH 13 KM
Starting a cycling trip on the North Cape Trail is pretty special. Not only are the views of the colliding tides spectacular, it is home to the longest natural reef in North America; a 2 km stretch into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. If you choose to explore the North Cape Trail (3.5 km return walking trail) you will really get to experience PEI’S coast. It’s on a ‘raised bog’ with a boardwalk and has some of the most amazing cliff views in the province. Also in this area are many large windmills that are truly impressive. Start the 13 km road cycle along the shore on Route 12, not far from here is Sea Cow Pond, take a left onto Doyle’s Road and go to the end and you will find the most lovely little beach with some very smooth sandstone rocks. Please note that many roads do not have paved shoulders and caution should be used in these areas. Helmets are mandatory while cycling on Prince Edward Island.
The real beauty in cycling Prince Edward Island is found when taking the time to explore side roads or trails. The ride from North Cape to Tignish is mostly flat but can be windy and the salty fresh air is very invigorating. INSIDER TIP: If you’re a music lover, be sure to stop into the Stompin’ Tom Centre in Skinners Pond! This is located on Route 14 which is the on the opposite side of Route 12.
2 TIGNISH TO O’LEARY 45 KM
Upon arriving in Tignish I suggest you check out the Tignish Cultural Centre before setting off on your Confederation Trail ride.
Centennial Park is kilometre 0 for the Confederation Trail. This section of trail is flat and runs through woods, beautiful bogs and some farmland. Take the time to go into Alberton at 21 km. You will discover one of the two stone stations on the Island, which has since been converted to a library. Head into the town and take Route 152 along Main Street to a side trip of 2 km to Northport Wharf. Check out the Northport Sea Rescue Station Interpretive Centre.
When back on the Trail start heading to O’leary and enjoy the quietness and the many shades of green. If you come in the fall, the maple trees are stunning with fall foliage of reds, yellows and browns.
Just before you reach O’leary, turn left onto the Howlan Road Route 143 which will take you to the Mill River Resort. Insider Tip: Mill River Resort is the perfect place to relax and unwind over a delicious meal, a round of golf or a day spent at the spa.
3 O’LEARY TO SUMMERSIDE 64 KM
If you love potatoes like I do, the Canadian Potato Museum in O’leary is worth the stop and it’s less than a km from the Trail. The Museum has a lot of interesting tidbits about potatoes and you can even refuel your body with some PEI potato fudge. Make sure to stop into Tyne Valley around the 80 km mark. The village is only 2 km from the Trail; follow the red dirt road when you see the signs for the village and Backwoods Burger. Enjoy some oysters from Valley
Pearl and a great specialty burger at Backwoods Burger.
Go off the Trail into Wellington where there is a small interpretive centre for Barlow’s Mill and across the road you can see one of the few cabooses left in the province. Insider Tip: If you loved the oysters at Valley Pearl, make your way to Moth Lane Brewing in Ellerslie and try the oyster stout.