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.
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 traveler.
Learn more about the fantastic Confederation Trail: http://www.tourismpei.com/pei-confederation-trail
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, Finches, 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, they can start the journey from the Confederation trail near the old CNR bridge in Mount Stewart, pass by the waste 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 Road out about 0.4 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 will provide 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 0.8 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 a observation tower will be constructed for the viewing of wildlife.
Once you leave the gravel trail head south out the road approximately 0.4 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.