Gairloch Trails

Wood Fern Selkirk

Gairloch Trail

Location: Gairloch Rd. PE
Type: Hilly Woodland
Length: 7km total
Difficulty: Difficult Sections

The Gairloch Road Trail is located in Lot 60, in the southeast corner of the province. It makes up almost 400 acres of the 2000 acres of Public Land that we are managing for the Province. The name Gairloch likely comes from a village of the same name on the Loch of Gair, in County Ross and Cromarty in Scotland. From the start of settlement in the early 19thcentury Lot 60 had only 780 inhabitants by 1861. The area remains as close to “wilderness” as a person can get in Prince Edward Island.

This is primarily a loop trail of about seven km including spurs and connectors. There is potential to make a quick through cut, turning it into two loops in a figure 8. The trail is of moderate difficulty, running through hilly terrain, with several stream crossings. Since it is built for shared use by cyclists and hikers, the treadwayand water crossings are wide. The steep ravine sides have switchbacks.

The trailhead entrance is also very convenient for mountain biking use, since it is located at the juncture of GairlochRoad (Rte 204), and the Confederation Trail. The site is also excellent for snowshoeing in winter.

The Gairloch Road site presents approximately 400 acres of the full range of typical woodland cover. It is under the management of the provincial forestry division and the MacPhailWoods Ecological Forestry Project. These groups are making efforts to not only maintain and protect the forest, but to restore it to the original Acadian forest state. The trail runs through and skirts dense white spruce thickets, as well as more open pine and hardwood copses, where ground pine and other club mosses abound.

Native and imported wildflower species teeming in open meadows. On this and neighboring sites “birders” have noted up to 15 species of warblers, gray jays, hermit thrush, and rose breasted grosbeaks. Northern goshawks and the barred owl have also been sighted.

The area and the trail are also home to typical fur bearers, including squirrels, hares, skunks, foxes and coyotes. You need to be alone or just a few walkers and very still to spot these and other inhabitants.

Island Trails is a local non-profit organization dedicated to creating, expanding, and maintaining a network of trails across the Island. Take a look at their website for some great trail recommendations.

Upcoming Events

Jul
3
Mon
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Jul 3 @ 9:00 am – Jul 7 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
Jul
10
Mon
9:00 am Young Ecologists Week 1
Young Ecologists Week 1
Jul 10 @ 9:00 am – Jul 14 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and develop their understanding of
Jul
15
Sat
2:00 pm Forest Restoration Workshop
Forest Restoration Workshop
Jul 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Forest Restoration Workshop @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The Forest Restoration workshop offers alternatives to clear-cuts and plantations, and other ideas on how to improve the health of Island forests. It starts with a presentation in the Nature Centre and then participants will