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Day Hiking above the Bay of Fundy
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

©Outdoor Adventure Canada

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, located in Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia, rises above the Bay of Fundy and has 29 km (18 miles) of coastline. It is an area full of Mi'kmaq legend. One of the legends speaks of the Mi'kmaq God, Glooscap, who was moose hunting when his prey was chased off by three dogs. In retaliation Glooscap turned the three dogs into what is known as the Three Sisters and he made the moose immortal by turning him into "Isle Haute". It is the Three Sisters that first piqued my interest in the day hikes on Cape Chignecto's coastline.

The trails range in difficulty from easy to very challenging and all of the trails can be done in one day except for the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail which has a three to four day completion time. The shortest trail leads to the beach at Red Rocks and is considered an easy trail taking only a half hour to complete. The next in difficulty is the Christie Viewpoint Trail which visits an old farmstead, now abandoned, and provides spectacular views from the Escarpment. The trail takes under an hour to complete.

The Fundy Ridge Trail and McGahey Brook Canyon Trail are more challenging and both take about 4 hours to complete. The Fundy Ridge Trail is 5 km (3 miles) long and has beautiful views. Be sure to check the tidal schedule. You will reach elevations of approximately 150 m (164 yards). The McGahey Brook Canyon Trail hooks up with the Fundy Ridge Trail to form a 9 km (5.6 mile) loop.

The Mill Brook Canyon Trail can be done as a full day trip or as an overnight trip. It is a steep trail with amazing views from the top of the canyon. This is not a loop trail and the total distance for the trip is 15 km (9 miles) including the return journey. The Refugee Cove Trail is also very challenging and like the Mill Brook Trail can be done with an overnight stay. It is a 12 km (7.5 mile) journey with a campsite at Refugee Cove. The beach is not an appropriate return route because of the tides. There are large hills on this trail reaching over 200 m (218 yards) and at times you will descend to almost the elevation as the ocean.

The Eatonville Trail should only be attempted by experienced hikers as it is steep and long, about 20 km (12 miles) including the return trip. You will see the Three Sisters from this trail and visit Eatonville which was a busy community in the 1890's but is now only the remains of cellars and mills. If you plan your trip right you can even access the Three Sisters during low tide. More information about the Three Sisters and the tides can be obtained from the Visitor Center.

Cape Chignecto is a relatively new wilderness park that was opened in the summer of 1998. It is the biggest provincial park in the province, 4200 hectares (10378 acres), and is home to all types of wildlife including wildcats, peregrine falcons, black bear, moose and seals. Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is open every year in May and there is a small fee for using the park.

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is heaven for day hikers and backpackers alike. It delights us with incredible views from the top edge of the Chignecto Fault and the area is full of culture, legend and history. On your next trip to Nova Scotia be sure to include a day hike at Cape Chignecto in your itinerary.

Visit the Cape Chignecto website for more information on this incredible place.

Three Sisters Photo courtesy Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association
Photo of hikers courtesy Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture & Heritage

masthead photo courtesy




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