Mount Stewart is a heralded destination for hikers, cyclists, snowmobilers, bird watchers, and folks simply looking for an inspired stroll. It is home to a diverse array of trails that follow waterways, old railways, historic dykes, farmland and lush wooded areas.
Learn more about the fantastic Confederation Trail: http://www.tourismpei.com/pei-confederation-trail
Mt.Stewart Wildlife Management Area / Pigot’s Trail
Pigot’s Trail encompasses a variety of habitats from agriculture lands to a Ducks Unlimited pond and wetlands to the isolation of woodlands and small marshes.
Visitors will enjoy observing various species of waterfowl as they pass over the graveled portion of the trail around the Ducks Unlimited Canada impoundment.
Many wildlife and waterfowl species such as Belted Kingfisher, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Northern Flicker, Tree Swallow, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow Throats, Finchs, Red Winged Blackbirds, Black Ducks, Blue Wing Teal, Green Wing Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shovelor, Wood Ducks, Ringneck Ducks, may also be spotted as you walk or bike the trail, which passes along the Hillsborough River.
Trail users can start the journey from the Confederation trail near the old CNR bridge in Mount Stewart, pass by the waster water lagoon and carry on along the Ducks Unlimited impoundment out to the end of Allisary creek rd. Once you have passed over the Ducks Unlimited pond, follow Allisary Creek rd. out about .4 km’s and enter the woods to the nature trail on the right, where you will observe other species of wildlife and plants. You will cross over a small wetland and walk along the back of the pond and meet back up to the original trail. Keep your eye out for P.E.I.’s provincial flower, (the Lady Slipper).
Carry on up the path through a small hedge row to an agriculture field, to your left you will see a waste water management lagoon that is alive with waterfowl and vegetation.
Follow the trail along the river where trees have been recently planted to protect the buffer zone of the river from agriculture use, this portion of the trail provides excellent shade on those hot summer days in the future as well as habitat for wildlife.
Next you will come to the Ducks Unlimited impoundment which is a gravel trail and is approximately .8 km long. Here, on the right, you may see waterfowl resting on platforms placed in the pond for them to use. On your left you can view the Hillsborough river and it’s marshland. If you look closely you can see the old Acadian Dykes that were built in the 1700’s to hold water back. You may even see a beaver or muskrat swimming through the water as you pass.
There will be a resting point half way around the trail where an observation tower will be constructed for the viewing of wildlife.
Once you leave the gravel trail head south out the road approximately .4 km’s and the nature trail enters the woods on your right. You will pass through some woodland where you will see other wildlife species and vegetation. Pass over a small foot bridge and carry on along the back of the Ducks Unlimited pond, to meet up with the start of the trail.
Mount Stewart to Elmira
In the eastern section, an 70.3 km. segment was completed in November 1996. It begins at the Canadian Heritage Rivers Monument 4 km below Mount Stewart at the head of the Hillsborough River and goes to Elmira, near East Point.The Hillsborough was designated in July 1997, the distinction being based upon the cultural and recreational values on this, the largest river system in the province. Mount Stewart was a major junction on the railway with connections to Charlottetown, Souris, Georgetown and Murray Harbour. To date only the Souris line has been developed. The trail continues across the main street in Mount Stewart opposite the visitor information kiosk. It quickly passes into the historic salt marshes bordering the Hillsborough River used by our ancestors for marsh hay for their animals.
St. Andrews, a National Historic Site dedicated to Bishop MacEachern, overlooks the trail to the north as it passes inland to higher ground between the river and the Island’s north shore. Bristol Pond is the first of the bridges on this section and is located just before the trail reaches the village of Morell. One of the most significant features of the trail in this province is that there is no real wilderness. There are frequent villages, all of which were served by the railway over the past century. (The PEI Railway/CN Railway operated here from 1875 to 1989.) Each of these stopping points offers accommodations, food and services for the trail traveller.
Morell is the starting point for one the very few stretches of trail to follow the shoreline. Passing out of the village, one crosses the Morell River on a 235 foot long bridge, a structure which had a swing section in operation well into this century. The gears used for that function are still in evidence on the round pier under the structure. From here the trail winds along the coves and headlands of St. Peters Bay where Greenwich sand dunes, the new adjunct to the PEI National Park, are visible on the opposite side. Bridges also cross the Marie and Midgell Rivers where one has wonderful vistas into the estuaries and across the Bay. Shorebirds like the great blue heron and the kingfisher are common sights. The blue mussel fishing industry is also very evident from the trail with many boats among the neat rows of buoys up and down the bay.
Approaching the head of the bay, one is aware of the dominance of St. Peters Church long before reaching the Village of St. Peters. St. Peters Park and campground is located adjacent to the trail just before entering the village. This is the departure point for those wishing to see the Greenwich peninsula at closer hand. Following the trail, one comes quickly to a bridge over the St Peters River. From there the trail passes inland, crossing the main highway into woodland at Five Houses. The remainder of the trail is approximately in the centre of the peninsula that terminates at East Point and despite that, the surrounding terrain is quite varied. It crosses many wetlands indicating the headwaters of several rivers, flowing either north or south. Larkins Pond provides a large open area and an opportunity to see Canada geese and other waterfowl in season. The bridge across the pond was recycled from a problem area over a road and looks like an original structure. Beavers in this sector have been a problem where they obstruct waterflow and cause washouts. Some of their lodges are visible from the trail. The woodland habitat from this point rises into uplands where numerous grouse and the occasional owl are seen and where hardwoods are resplendent in season. They form a full canopy over the trail in summer. Roads are crossed frequently which lead either to the north shore highway and such places as the fishing port at Naufrage or to the main road to the south.
At Harmony Junction the trail unceremoniously divides with paths going south to the Town of Souris or continuing east to Elmira. Taking the eastern option, wetlands, hardwoods and farmland alternate all the way to Elmira, the terminus of the trail. Some of the roads crossed lead south to Black Pond Wildlife Preserve, Basin Head Fisheries Museum and Red Point Provincial Park, not to mention many fine beaches. The last station on the line at Elmira has been restored into a railway museum with artifacts and some collected history of railway life in the area. By road at this point, one is only a few kilometres from the lighthouse at East Point, one of the better places on PEI for viewing migratory waterfowl.