Black Marsh Trail
|Estimated Time||2 hours|
|Surface Type||grass, boardwalk|
|Elevation Change||24 meters|
|Features||lighthouse, coastal views|
|Scenery Rating||must see|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
The Black Marsh trail is one of the most popular trails on the island. It starts at the north tip of the island near the North Cape Lighthouse. It follows along a gravel road and a chain link fence. The fenced in area is a testing site for many different types of windmills. If you cross the road you can take several short trails out to the cliff tops overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence but be careful. The cliff edges are hidden in the grass and quite crumbly.
The trail goes through a small gate and then enters a stretch of woods. There are many interpretive signs along the trail that tell you about the ecology of the area and the fishing industries that work in the area. The woods trail is quite narrow and goes through a tunnel of green. Abruptly there is an opening in the canopy and you are looking straight up at one of the giant windmills.
The trail continues through the woods passing another windmill. There is a side trail that takes you out to a lookout on the clifftops. Eventually the trail comes out into the large open marsh and onto a long boardwalk. The boardwalk follows along the clifftops. A couple of side trails take you deeper into the marsh to an elevated lookout platform. From here you can see windmills in every direction across the marsh.
The boardwalk continues along the clifftops until it comes to an end at a lookout platform. The platform overlooks a large rock sticking out of the ocean just off shore. This is Elephant Rock. It used to have a trunk but the trunk has collapsed. I think it now looks like a giant spear head.
You follow the same boardwalk back across the marsh but once you go back into the woods you can keep left and follow the sandy trail along the clifftops. The trail eventually comes to the access road for one of the windmills. You can follow this access road back out the fields.
From the Sign
Black Marsh Nature Trail
Welcome to North Cape, a symphony for the senses!
Feast your eyes on the wonders of North Cape from the seals and birds gathering along the longest rock reef in North America to the majestic giants that generate the energy that lights up the lives of many islanders. Listen for the swooshing of the windmills, the chatter of the gulls, and the sound of the ocean meeting the red capes. Smell and breathe in the fresh ocean air and feel the energy as the wind brushes past. Hike the Black Marsh Trail (5.5km return) and taste seafood at its best in the award-winning Wind & Reef Restaurant. Don't forget to visit the North Cape Interpretive Centre to take in the aquarium and new interactive displays to learn more about wind energy generation and the North Cape story. For visitor information or that perfect souvenir, stop by the gift shop and if time permits, stick around until day's end to experience the most magnificent sunsets in PEI. Enjoy the magic of North Cape... where nature and technology exist in perfect harmony.
A section of the Black Marsh Nature Trail divides to form a forest route and a coastal route. To visit all the interpretive panels, we suggest you follow the forest section on your way out and the coastal section on your return trip. On the section through the trees, you will learn more about the unique forest features. Along the coastal trail section, you will learn more about the local fishing industry. When the trail rejoins, follow the boardwalk to the lookout platform to learn about bog ecology. The trail ends at the huge rock separated from the coastline, known as Elephant Rock (now sadly missing its trunk). Do not forget to visit the interpretive panels located at the lighthouse, the reef, and WEICAN. Happy trails!
Trail Last Hiked: September 12, 2020.
Page Last Updated: March 29, 2022.