Prince Edward Island By Bike


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    Welcome to Prince Edward Island! Canada’s smallest province, located on the Atlantic coast, is small in size and big in character. Best known for its friendly locals, red sand beaches, potato farms, lobster dinners, and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’, PEI is also a cyclist’s dream. It was the first province to complete its section of the Trans Canada Trail (now called ‘The Great Trail’), with the ‘Confederation Trail’ reaching from the far west to the far east coast of the island – a route which is known locally as the ‘tip-to-tip’ trail. The trail itself is a modified abandoned railway line, like many sections of the Great Trail across the country, and takes you through farmland, hardwood forest, wetlands, rivers, small towns, and charming former railway stations. Great Canadian Trails has taken highlights of this hybrid rail trail and combined them with other must-visit areas inland and along the north shore, including rolling rural back roads, the stunning Gulf Shore Way, and through the heart of Green Gables. You have the opportunity to visit the main tourist sights as well as plenty of local gems recommended by islanders themselves. The terrain is quite gentle, especially along the hard-packed rail trail sections, but there are certainly a few paved hills to give you a bit of a challenge. Along the way you should find plenty of time to explore small artisan shops, sample local restaurants, relax on beautiful beaches, and visit little museums and interesting sites such as Avonlea Village where you can go back in time amongst heritage buildings and characters in period costumes (July and August only). Even if you’re not familiar with the story, the village provides unique cultural experiences with the opportunity to try your hand at oyster shucking, and to attend a traditional Maritime kitchen party! Whatever your interest, the beautiful landscapes and friendly faces of PEI will leave you dreaming of your return to the red island.

    Highlights

    • Cycle the Confederation Trail, an abandoned rail trail and part of Canada’s ‘Great Trail’
    • Gaze across the Confederation Bridge, the world’s longest bridge crossing ice-covered water.
    • Get your fix of Anne of Green Gables at many historical sites
    • Sink your feet into the red sands of Prince Edward Island National Park
    • Coast along the smooth and scenic Gulf Shore pathways
    • Indulge in fine dining in pretty St. Peter’s Bay
    • Learn about the history of the rail trail at its charming old railway stations
    • Enjoy maritime arts, culture, and cuisine

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Arrive Charlottetown
    The heart of PEI, Charlottetown is also where the Fathers of Confederation met at Province House National Historic Site in 1864 to plot out the creation of Canada. Now called ‘the birthplace of Confederation, it is the smallest and one of the most charming provincial capitals in the nation. If time permits, we recommend extending your stay to take advantage of the numerous shops, restaurants, museums, and optional day tours available from Charlottetown.

    Day 2 Cycle Borden Carleton to Stanley Bridge (Options for 53 or 63km)
    You will be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the bicycle shop where you will pick up your bicycles and make any adjustments before being transferred to the base of the Confederation Bridge at Borden Carleton. On the way, we will make quick stops at Victoria By The Sea and Cape Traverse where you will be afforded a spectacular view of the impressive Confederation Bridge – the longest in the world spanning water which freezes solid each winter. Load up on any snacks, water, etc. and say goodbye to your driver at the start point of the Confederation Trail just outside the Borden Carleton Information Centre. Heading north, the trail follows a relatively flat branch line of abandoned railway to Emerald, where it meets the Island’s former main line – now the main trail – which stretches the length of the island. At Emerald, head west on the main trail to Kensington. The converted stone railway station is a perfect place to stop for lunch. From here, you have 2 paved road options to take you north to Stanley Bridge. Your lodge room tonight offers a lovely view across New London Bay. (B)

    Day 3 To Brackley Beach via Green Gables and North Rustico (23km + transfer)
    The cycling distance today is short in order to give you plenty of time to enjoy every bit of this spectacular section of the gulf shore. A popular cycling route, road 6 from Stanley Bridge through Cavendish has a paved shoulder, allowing you to more safely explore the many Green Gables-themed tourist attractions in the area. However, it’s only necessary to follow this road for part of the way, as there are much more interesting detours along the trails through Cavendish Grove, and of course along the beautiful Gulf Shore Way West – An 8.5km stretch of paved, multi-use trail following the sandy coastline, with magnificent views and lookout points over dunes and out to the sea. Follow the Gulf Shore all the way out to pretty North Rustico Harbour/beach/lighthouse before turning west and heading into North Rustico Village, where you can enjoy a famous (and very hearty) Lobster Supper (or lunch until 4pm) before your pick-up and transfer on to Brackley Beach. From your accommodation at Brackley Beach, cycle out to the point at île Robinson, a great spot to sit on the quiet beach and watch the sun set. Overnight Shaw’s Hotel – A historic property located on its own bay, with cozy cottages and private access to the beach (approx 600m). (B)

    Day 4 Brackley Beach to St. Andrews (36.5 or 50.5km)
    Brackley Beach is located just outside of Prince Edward Island National Park and part of an extensive dune system. Another short cycling day gives you plenty of time to explore the park, dunes, beaches, and possibly even take out one of the complimentary canoes or kayaks from your bay-side accommodation. The route takes you along the east section of the scenic Gulf Shore Way (paved, multi-use trail), past Historic Dalvay-by-the-Sea (featured as the “White Sands Hotel” on Road to Avonlea and the Anne of Green Gables movies, and also where Will and Kate spent time during their Canadian tour, participating in Dragon Boat races, and sampling local oysters). From the end of the Gulf Shore Way, you have two route options taking you to St. Andrews.  Tonight’s accommodation is in St Andrews at the charming Bishop’s Rest B&B. A delicious dinner is included at your accommodations. (B, D)

    Day 5 St. Andrews to St. Peters Bay and Greenwich (26km or 44.5km)
    Today’s route is considered by many to be the most picturesque section of the Confederation Trail, which you follow out of St. Andrews all the way into St. Peters Bay. Along the way, you follow the Hillsborough River and surrounding wetlands through a designated provincial wildlife-management area alive with a variety of bird species (including a number of bald eagles), through forest and ponds until you reach the town of Morell, where the trail takes you out to the edge of St. Peters Bay and runs alongside the water crossing the mouths of three rivers on old steel trestles, offering plenty of photo opportunities of the picturesque bay and St. Peters’ prominent Catholic church. Once you reach the village of St. Peters, you can opt to have lunch in town and then head straight to your very comfortable accommodation, or continue with the out-and-back route to stunning Greenwich Dunes, an adjunct of PEI National Park and considered the ‘hidden jewel’ of Prince Edward Island. The locals would consider it a tragedy if you didn’t allocate a good part of your day to exploring the interpretive trails, beach, dunes, and over 20 provincially rare plant species making up this world-class ecological gem and local treasure. Tonight, you will be spoiled with an incredible 3-course dinner and overnight stay at the 4-star Inn at St. Peters (if not available, a cozy nearby B&B will be used and dinner will still be included at the Inn). (B, D)

    Day 6 St. Peters to Souris (38.5km or 76.3km)
    Be sure to pick up some lunch before leaving town today, as there are no amenities between St. Peters and Souris (or between St. Peters and Elmira on the eastern tip). Depending on your interests and energy level, there are two very different route options today. From St. Peters, return to the trail and follow it east through apple trees, blackberry bushes, fields, and wetland before entering a dense, continuous forest and riding on a gradual uphill until your arrival at Harmony Junction where the trail either continues east to Elmira and the most easterly point of the trail, or branches south to Souris, where your final bed and breakfast awaits. (B)

    Day 7 Tour ends with transfer to Charlottetown (airport or hotel).
    There are no activities planned today. You will be picked up at your accommodation in Souris and transferred to Charlottetown for bicycle return and drop-off at your hotel or at the airport (B)

    Inclusions

    • 6 breakfasts
    • 2 dinners
    • 6 nights accommodation on a twin share basis with private ensuite facilities
    • Performance hybrid bicycle rental, including helmet, bike bag and rack, bike lock, basic repair kit, and bicycle insurance
    • Luggage transfers (1 piece per person, not exceeding 20kg)
    • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 package per room)
    • GPX tracks and link to online maps and voice navigation for smartphones
    • Emergency hotline
    • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
    • C$50 per person donation to The Great Trail

    WEX-PEI