Prince Edward Island
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Did you know?
The Mi’kmaqs were the first people to live on Prince Edward Island. They called the island ‘Epekwik’, which means ‘resting on the waves’.
If you need to cool off after your Trail travels, head straight to the coast! P.E.I. boasts over 1,100 kilometres of coastline with plenty of sandy beaches waiting to be explored.
If you’re an avid geocacher, you’re in luck! The Confederation Trail is a treasure hunting hotspot with over 1,600 geocaching sites dotted along the route.
While there are countless ways to approach the Confederation Trail, the classic method is what’s known as the “Tip-to-Tip.” Totalling 273 kilometres, this route enables you to visit regions of Prince Edward Island that most travellers don’t experience: scenic countryside, hidden culinary gems and long stretches of leaf-covered corridors. The four-day itinerary starts with the most challenging day, and then it’s all downhill (in a good way!) The Confederation Trail is incredibly flat and, unless you’re in a hurry, you won’t need to exert much effort. It’s like casually strolling, but on two wheels! By tackling this Trail section, you will have biked across an entire Canadian province. You’ll see plenty of red-dirt potato fields, while spending much of your time under charming canopies of deciduous trees. While Cavendish – made famous by Anne of Green Gables – is not directly on the Confederation Trail, we’ve included an option for a day trip. If geocaching is a favourite pastime, the Confederation Trail is a treasure hunt hotspot with over 1,600 sites along the route. So, get on your bike and let’s get started!
Day One: Tignish to Wellington (89 km)
The name Tignish is derived from the Mi’kmaq “Mtagunich” meaning “paddle”. The 800-person town is home to the St. Simon & St. Jude Church (known colloquially as Tignish Church), which has been the site of a few reported apparitions of Jesus. While sightings of holy figures are not guaranteed, you will certainly find a prime selfie opportunity in Tignish. The town is considered “kilometre zero” of the entire Confederation Trail – so make sure to snap a requisite photograph at the trailhead!
The approximate halfway point of your day is O’Leary. Despite its size, the town includes some solid meal options. Pick up a snack at the Maple House Bakery, which provides employment opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities. If you’re game for an emblematic (if mildly stereotypical) P.E.I. experience, visit the Canadian Potato Museum. This attraction also offers a country-style kitchen with – you guessed it – baked potatoes, poutine, potato skins and more.
Located among a cluster of Acadian communities, Wellington was originally a mill town and an important stop on the former P.E.I. railway. The village – where 55% of the population speaks French as a first language – is home to the province’s only francophone post-secondary educational institution, Le Collège de l’Île. Grab a meal at Chez Char, where the waitstaff are friendly and the plates are plentiful.
Chez Yvette Bed & Breakfast (just outside Wellington near the 89 KM point) offers plenty of hot water, big comfy beds and a safe place to store bicycles. Yvette makes a hearty breakfast of French toast, fresh blueberry muffins, and fruit salad – the perfect fuel for a big day of cycling.
Day Two: Wellington to Hunter River (64 km)
At the 109 KM point, Summerside is the Island’s second-largest city and has plenty of amenities. History buffs should visit the Summer Street post office, which was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1983. As you pass through, you’ll also notice how much the community values green energy. This quiet seaside city is home to Canada’s first municipally owned and operated wind farm, and it is said to have more electric car charging stations per capita than any other city in Canada. The colourful Spinnakers’ Landing (a tourist-friendly fishing village) makes a great place for a rest and a nibble.
The former Kensington Railway Station is a National Historic Site of Canada and was designed by architect Charles Benjamin Chappell. Many visitors will also know it as the train station in the Anne of Green Gables film! Kensington offers a number of dining and shopping opportunities, including the Frosty Treat Dairy Bar. Grab an ice cream to help beat the heat from pedalling before continuing.
You’ve now reached the 155 KM point – over halfway! Hunter River offers a selection of services, such as By the River Bakery & Café – the perfect place for an afternoon coffee. In the evening, catch a show at the Harmony House Theatre, which is one of Prince Edward Island’s top venues for music, comedy and all kinds of merriment.
Your Anne-themed adventure doesn’t have to end in Kensington! If you’d like to visit Cavendish, arrange a shuttle from Hunter River with PEI Guide and Drive to bring you there. In Cavendish, Anne fans will want to immerse themselves in the vast array of attractions, from Avonlea Village and the Anne of Green Gables Museum to Green Gables Heritage Place.
At the Heritage Classic Inn in Hunter River, hosts Sylvette and Stephane offer a warm welcome in both French and English. Rooms are eclectic and comfortable. Signage is clear from the trail, meaning that you’ll spend less time navigating and more time relaxing with the adorable on-site dogs.
Day Three: Hunter River to Mount Stewart (51 km)
Adjacent to the Charlottetown airport, Royalty Junction is significant location of the former P.E.I. railway. All trains heading for the main waterfront terminal in Charlottetown needed to pass through Royalty Junction. This is your closest point to Charlottetown, so if you need to restock or seek city services, now is the moment.
The Trailside Café & Inn (at the 204 KM point) is one of the hippest establishments on the island. They offer a renowned brunch, and the intimate evening concerts are a perfect way to unwind after pedalling for the day. If you want to stay longer, four en suite rooms are located directly above the café and contain vinyl record players.
Located near the Confederation Trail at the 207 KM point, Bishop’s Rest is a former parochial house that was built in 1890. Since then, it has been updated with more modern comforts. In the morning, refuel with the freshly baked goods from the family bakery. For some extra indulgence, ask for a room with a soaker tub.
Day Four: Mount Stewart to Elmira (67 km)
The Morell River is a popular fishing stream for anglers seeking salmon and sea trout. However, the nearby town also has plenty to offer, including an art gallery, an information centre, and an outfitter for cycling and fishing. For a bite to eat, the Holy Cow bistro serves up a “Mr. Irresisti-Bull” burger with island-sourced beef. Golfers take note: the Rodd Crowbush Golf & Beach Resort – one of the island’s finest links – is just a few kilometres away.
The section between Morell and St. Peters is arguably the most scenic part of the Confederation Trail. With views over St. Peters Bay and plenty of handsome bridges, you won’t want to rush this section. In St. Peters, you’ll find plenty of amenities, including a tourist information office and snack options at St. Peter’s Landing.
This is the turnoff point to reach Souris (French for “mouse”), a popular seaside town with a ferry service to the Magdalen Islands. The green tunnels of leafy canopies are among the most handsome on the trail!
Welcome to the end of the line! Give yourself a big pat the back. Or, if you want to see the most easterly point of the island, keep cycling about 10 kilometres farther to the East Point Lighthouse, where the Pirates Galley Café offers both lunch and spectacular ocean views. Accommodation options are limited in Elmira, so arrange for direct transfer to Charlottetown or another destination of your choice. To obtain your official Tip-to-Tip certificate, pop into one of the Visitor Information or Regional Destination Centres.
Several options exist for bicycle rentals and transportation services, and daily luggage drop-offs can be arranged. In other words, cyclists don’t have to haul their gear from guesthouse to guesthouse. For more information, check out this bike shuttle service. For bike tours with rental and transfers, contact Independent Tourist or PEI Cycling Tours.