Cycling or walking along the Confederation Trail is a wonderful way to discover Prince Edward Island’s charming villages and seaside scenery. This trail, a legacy of the railway that once ran from one tip of the island to the other, is accessible to all. Its pathways are wide and its gradients never exceed 2 percent so there is no need to be a super athlete to enjoy it!
With a total length of 435 kilometres, there is a lot to see along the Confederation Trail. To help you plan your adventure, we have listed a few of our favourite sections below.
Emerald - Borden Carleton
18 km (easy)
When driving to Prince Edward Island via the Confederation Bridge, Borden-Carleton will be the first town on your itinerary. This will also be your first opportunity to stretch your legs on the Confederation Trail. Start your adventure at the Borden-Carleton Visitor Centre. There, friendly locals will help you make the most of your time on the Island. Once you have all the information you need, take a walk in the same complex to sample the island’s legendary Cow’s ice cream. If you’re hungry for more, head on the trail and stop by The Handpie Company for delicious chef-made pies filled with the best local ingredients. At night, unwind at Chez Shea, Kikora Country Inn, a lovely family-run Inn surrounded by rolling hills.
Cardigan Junction to Montague
10 km (easy)
The Cardigan Junction-Montague section follows wooded wetlands and the Brudenell River Provincial Park, the largest provincial park in the eastern part of the province. The area is popular for camping and golfing. In Cardigan, visit the local farmers market to fill up on local produce and pick up a souvenir. In Montague, get your history fix at the Garden of the Gulf Museum. This museum’s building alone is worth the detour; built in 1888 using red sandstone, it’s a true architectural masterpiece of Prince Edward Island. Across from it, you’ll find Waterfront Park and the Montague Train Station, Marina & Wharf; the perfect place to relax, especially while seated at the Station Café.
Stratford to Murray Harbour
80 km (moderate)
The Stratford to Murray Harbour branch will take through farmland communities and small fishing villages. On that stretch of the trail, hire a bicycle from either Ocean Acres or PEI Cycling Tours. In Stratford, start your day with gourmet coffee, fresh pastries, or a lovely sandwich from Now N’ Zen Coffeehouse. Under the same roof, you’ll find a yoga studio offering morning classes. Once you get to Uigg, veer off the trail to relive the 1890s at the Orwell Corner Historic Village.
In Murray Harbour, join Forest & Stream Birding Tours to learn about the forest birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds you’ll encounter on the trail. At night, stay in one of their quiet cottages. A great place to camp in the area is the Northumberland Provincial Park, located between the Northumberland Ferry (your entry point to the Island from Nova Scotia) and the Rossignol Estate Winery.
Tignish to O’Leary
45 km (easy to moderate)
From the western tip of the island, travel from Tignish to O’Leary to explore lovely coastal communities and… potato country! To learn about the island’s celebrated tuber, drop by the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary. On site, have a meal at the Potato Country Kitchen and make sure to save room for a piece of their famous potato fudge! In Tingish, the trail starts near the beautiful St. Simon and St. Jude Church, renowned for its architecture and a restored pipe organ from the 1880s. As you make your way to Northport, a quaint fishing village and fishing wharf, take a break in Alberton to replenish at the delicious French Bakery Café Chez Cartier. If you wish to spend the night in Northport, a great halfway point, check in at the Northport Pier Inn. Another great option, requiring a little detour from the trail, is the 4-star Mill River Resort, a holiday destination complete with a full-service spa, golf course, indoor pool and waterslide, luxurious rooms and a large campground.
Wellington to Hunter River
65 km (moderate to hard)
From Wellington to Hunter River, you’ll discover the Central Coastal touring region of the Island. Expect hills on this moderately hard section of the trail. Along the way, you’ll find one of the province’s must-see museums: the Acadian Museum. There, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of the French settlers that came to Prince Edward Island three centuries ago.
Travel east for eight kilometres and you’ll find yourself in Summerside, the Island’s second largest city. Summerside is a great destination for entertainment; the Harbourfront Theatre and The College of Piping are two local favourites. Next, in the town of Kensington, visit the Haunted Mansion… at your own risk! For a good night’s sleep on this section of the trail, plan a stay at the Prince County Bed & Breakfast, Twin Shores Camping Area and Cabins or The Home Place Inn.