5 family-friendly hiking trails in PEI

Wild raspberries, outdoor exercise equipment and Anne’s Haunted Wood await along these awesome family-friendly hiking trails in PEI.

The Black Marsh Nature Trail offers amazing views. Photo: Tourism PEI/John Sylvester The Black Marsh Nature Trail offers amazing views. Photo: Tourism PEI/John Sylvester

1. Bay Walk Trail, Summerside This 6.5-kilometre trail curves along the harbourfront, so you can check out everything from the beach and outdoor exercise equipment to views of the Confederation Bridge and Indian Head Lighthouse. Along the way, there are 21 interpretive panels to give you bite-sized info about local natural history, such as wetland plants, oyster fishing and ocean birds.

Go hiking: Water Street, from MacKenzie Drive to Harvard Street, Summerside Free>

2. Breadalbane Nature Trail, Breadalbane If your gang of happy hikers is looking for a bit of a challenge, consider the Breadalbane Nature Trail. This semi-rugged trail consists of two loops that total 6.5 kilometres, and parking at the Dixon Road Trailhead means you can do one loop and then decide if you’re up for hiking the other or going to call it a day. Both loops include boardwalks over small streams fringed with ferns, marsh grasses, wild raspberries (yum!) and hilly ravines. Keep your eyes peeled for squirrels, rabbits, muskrats and beavers.

Go hiking: Dixon Road Route 246, Breadalbane Free>

3. Haunted Wood, Cavendish Hello, Anne of Green Gables fans: You just can’t pass up a chance to walk through the woods that inspired Anne’s “Haunted Wood.” At Green Gables Heritage Place, a national park site, stroll the gentle 0.9-kilometre trail, which is dotted with interpretive signs that highlight spots that were described in the series (who could forget Anne and Diana scaring themselves silly with all the ghosts they imagined?). Check out the Xplorers program, a free activity book aimed at kids ages six to 11 to help them explore the Green Gables site.

Go hiking: Green Gables Heritage Place, 8619 Route 6, Cavendish 902-963-7874 $19.60 per family>


4. Dromore Woodland Trails, Dromore The 1.3-kilometre Birding Loop circles through hardwood and mixed-wood forests that are home to boreal chickadees, grey jays, vireos and warblers. Once you’re back at the trailhead, you can head out again on the adjacent North Loop, a moderate two-kilometre trail that follows the Pisquid River (watch for slim silver fish called smelt in the spring) and has tons of mature pine trees. Tip: This is a great snowshoeing spot in winter.

Go hiking: Campbell Road, Dromore Free> 

5. Black Marsh Nature Trail In a province full of incredible vistas, North Cape offers one that shouldn’t be missed—think red cliffs, tidal pools and the longest rock reef in North America. Starting at the very northwest tip of the island, follow the 5.5-kilometre trail through the forest and past 80-metre-high windmills (the Wind Energy Institute of Canada wind farm takes advantage of the area’s blustery weather). While you take the boardwalk over the bog, keep an eye out for uncommon plants (orchids) and wildlife (bald eagles). If you’re in need of a meal at your hike’s end, Wind & Reef Restaurant specializes in fresh seafood dishes.

Go hiking: 21817 Route 12, North Cape, Tignish Free>

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