If you have not arranged for an airport pick-up, please make your way to your centrally-located accommodation in Charlottetown (contact information provided with final documents). 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.
You will be picked up from your accommodation around 8:30am 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 Center. 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.
Option A: Approximately 21km. More direct route, heading north out of Kensington via hilly back roads through farmland and pretty countryside before crossing the bridge over Southwest River to New London (birthplace of author Lucy Maud Montgomery and home-turned-museum) via roads 20 and 6 for just 2.7km (Beware - this is a high traffic section with no shoulder - exercise extreme caution with road traffic) before detouring up through Campbellton (to avoid staying on route 6) taking you into Stanley Bridge from the north.
Option B: Approximately 32km. Avoids busy Road 6 and Road 20. Follows quiet back roads near the main trail for about 16km (or simply backtrack on the trail) to Emerald, and then north through farmland and gradual hills along scenic Rattenbury Road past rivers and creeks heading into Stanley Bridge.
Overnight at Stanley Bridge Resort with a lovely view across New London Bay.
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. Optional visits to interesting Avonlea Village (best in July and August), Green Gables House, and L.M. Montgomery's Cavendish Home/post office.
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 le 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 private access to the beach (approx 600m).
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 cans 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 Mt. Stewart:
Option A: 20.5km direct route via shouldered roads and quiet country/residential roads which meet up with the Confederation Trail at Tracadie.
Option B: 36.5km more difficult route along shouldered, hilly roads and a longer stretch of trail. This route takes you through Stanhope and Covehead and connects to the Confederation Trail at York.
Overnight at the Trailside Cafe and Inn, Mt. Stewart. There is loads of character in this little building which is right next to the trail. You will enjoy a delicious dinner (included) and have the option to attend the cafe's weekly live musical performance (cover is not included).
Please note that breakfast is not included this morning, but is available next door at Kristie's Diner.
Today's route is considered by many to be the most picturesque section of the Confederation Trail, which you follow out of Mt. Stewart 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.
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.
Option A: Total 38.5km, taking the branch south at Harmony Junction to Souris. The first half of this branch winds its way through tall, hardwood Acadian Forest with a lovely melange of maple, yellow birch and beech trees, while the second half affords more forest lookouts as you descend towards Souris. The final stretch is quite rewarding as the trail takes you through town, under a canopy of trees, through a small tunnel, and around a bend opening up to a view of sailboats, the ferry terminal, and historic Souris East Lighthouse. Souris is, in fact, the original terminus of the main rail line (Elmira was added years afterward) so if you didn't make it all the way out to Elmira, you can still be satisfied in knowing that you made it to the 'end of the line'.
Option B: Total 76.3km, heading all the way to the eastern point of the Confederation Trail at Elmira, then backtracking 8km back on the trail and turning south on back roads to take you to Basin Head Provincial Park and locally, one of the most popular beaches on the island. Enjoy a well-deserved beach break before heading back out to route 16 (at time of writing, a shoulder was being started along this stretch of road, but please use caution if choosing this itinerary) and then onto backroads which will have you meet up with the Confederation Trail on the outskirts of Souris allowing you to complete your tour by cycling to the end of the Souris line. *The main reason for choosing Option B is to simply get to the eastern point of the trail, and also to visit Basin Head Beach. This is a long route option, and should only be attempted by the avid and confident cyclist.
Make your way to your final, centrally-located accommodation in Souris for overnight.
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. Exact time and drop-off point to be confirmed prior to arrival on PEI.
Suggested day trip to Basin Head Beach / Singing Sands, if time permits.