Prince Edward Island National Park is clustered into three segments on the north shore of the island: Greenwich, Cavendish, and Brackley-Dalvay. Driving to and from the part property it is easy to enjoy the rural beauty and rolling hills of PEI, if you’re lucky you will pass canola and potato fields in bloom.
The park boasts swimming beaches, paved trails for cyclists, campgrounds, history and hiking trails through a variety of ecosystems. Birds are abundant, along with coyote, foxes, beavers, and mink – but there are no deer or moose on the island.
Unique in North America, take a hike through the crescent shaped mobile parabolic dunes on the three mile trail, round trip – out and back. Down the paved path from the parking lot summer paints an idyllic picture. Mussel farms dot the water in the near distance.
Wildflowers relentlessly coat the flanks of the path.
Enter the Acadian forest and look for the bright blue northern parula warbler under the shade of the white spruce. The vibrant painted leaf hopper also lives here, jumping through the lichen of the grey dunes.
An expansive boardwalk floats over the marsh where birds can be spotted with a keen eye.
The dunes are covered in Marram grass, a very important plant that spreads quickly with its specialized roots. They help hold the sand dune in place and provided a home to many animals. It is so important not to walk on the dunes because it only takes ten footsteps to kill the grass, and then the dunes lose their stability.
At the end of the boardwalk the trail turns to sand, watch where you step, for frogs sake.
Head out onto the beach where the water is surprisingly warm, head back the way you came.
From the parking lot stop first and admire red sand cliffs, so vividly contrasted by the sea.
Next stop the sign that points towards the trail head and make your way there. The Dunelands Trail is three miles round trip, out and back.
Queen Anne’s lace bounced and bobbed in the breeze lining the trail.
Admire the lush rolling hills of the dunes.
Take the boardwalk over to the beach as you reach the concession stand area equipped with restrooms – but note the trail continues quietly behind this area. Into the woods filled with quiet scenes.
A short herd path leads to an overlook coveted by cormorants.
A wasp attempts to penetrate a webbed nest filled with new caterpillars.
He almost gets trapped to become dinner himself, but makes it out safely with no meal.
Birds sing and wildflowers bloom – berries of all colors were plump in the happy summer season.
+Lucy Maud Montgomery the author of the popular book Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908 lived in Cavendish on her grandparents farm for the first 37 years of her life. The homestead is open to visitors seasonally for a minimal fee, along with the Green Gables with the Haunted Wood Trail, Balsam Hollow Trail and Lover’s Lane which inspired the book.
+Oil tycoon Alexander McDonald built his luxurious summer home Dalvay-by-the-Sea in 1896. The Queen Anne Revival style was popular during this time in Canada. The house is now a resort hotel.
Good to know:
+Free in 2017 during Canada Year
+Tours and wildlife walks are available