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WeTommyD 02-20-14 07:22 PM

Nova Scotia Trip Planning
I'm starting to plan my late summer adventure and thought I would stay on the east coast this year. My heart seems set on the Cabot Trail & it seems to get great reviews.

I would love to get opinions on other cycling in Nova Scotia. I was thinking about Prince Edwards Island but my understanding is that most of the Confederation Trail is dirt & gravel, not paved. How is the cycling around the Providence? Any must see areas? I have about two to three weeks.

I may drive, so I would have the ability to ride a couple days and then move on to another section. Although I may fly or take the train.

djb 02-21-14 07:56 AM

The Confederation Trail is gravel, but a good surface that is like rail trails around here that have been converted to bike trails, from what I have read, the surface there is like the ones here, very rideable on 25-28 slicks. I'm sure you can get more specific info from some east coast forums about various sections of the trail.

All that said, PEI has some of the most polite, cautious car drivers you will ever see (without being mean, many of them drive so slow it can be frustrating sometimes in a car) and my recollections of driving there on a family vacation a bunch of years ago are that riding on the main highway would not be a problem in terms of traffic and drivers being respectful of bicycles.

You should be able to find good info on riding the Cabot Trail, and as in all coastal areas, be prepared for windy conditions sometimes. Bike touring info should give you an idea of predominant wind directions that are usually good to be aware of for planning a route.

ps, I was at a bike show last weekend and spoke with reps from an event in PEI, a supported 3 day ride named Granfrondo PEI, look it up if this sort of thing appeals. Its in July I believe.

axolotl 02-21-14 08:40 AM

I definitely preferred Cape Breton Island to PEI. The Confederation Trail was just as djb described, not at all a bad surface. We arrived on PEI by ferry from the Magdalen Islands, which we loved. They are exceedingly windy, but very pretty.

raybo 02-21-14 09:45 AM

This page has 5 links to information about bike touring in Nova Scotia.

Have a great tour!

mobile_simon 02-21-14 09:03 PM

The PEI provincial park beaches are all very well maintained and beautiful. The Confederation Trail itself is hard packed pea gravel, I'd say it's doable on 23C tires. It is kind of boring and monotonous though. There is a ferry in Souris to the Magdalen Islands which look cool. But keep in mind the scenery on the Cabot Trail trumps anything you will see in PEI. There are some pretty steep climbs through the Highlands.. like 13% if I remember correctly.

BobG 02-22-14 07:12 PM

FYI I understand that overnight ferry service is to be be restored from Portland ME to Yarmouth NS in May of 2014 after several years of abandonment. You did not mention your home but for cyclists from the US this would make Nova Scotia much more accessible in it's entirety.

I did a trip up to a folk music festival in Canso one summer. I took the ferry from Portland to Yarmouth and traveled up the west coast through the Annapolis Valley to Wolfville. From there I connected to smaller interior roads across the Rawdon Hills and hit the Atlantic coast at Musquodoboit Harbour, well north of Halifax. That stretch of coast was nice, low traffic riding all the way through Sherbrooke to Canso. I'd previously toured Cape Breton so did not continue this time on across the causeway. On a previous trip I found the coastal highway from Halifax south to Yarmouth, except for side loops, too busy for my liking.

I rented a one way car back to Yarmouth. Not sure if this is possible now. Sounds like Yarmouth has become a ghost town since ferry service was ended. Hopefully this will change if Portland service is indeed restored.

axolotl 02-23-14 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by BobG (Post 16518519)
On a previous trip I found the coastal highway from Halifax south to Yarmouth, except for side loops, too busy for my liking.

I felt exactly the same way about the coastal highway south of Halifax; too much traffic.

Cape Breton was by far, my favorite part of Nova Scotia, and not just the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton.

The ferry from Portland to Yarmouth was operating back when I visited, and that was how I got to NS.

Boudicca 02-23-14 01:40 PM

Cabot trail is very, very beautiful, especially in the fall, but has some amazingly vicious hills. Be prepared.

Jay H 08-07-14 08:15 AM

Took the newly reopened Yarmouth ferry, which is nice in that you leave Portland and wake up in Yarmouth. If you want to save some money in the already expensive trip (even with the current 20% off special), don't book a cabin and get a reserved seat. We pretty much had the reserved seating area to ourselves on the way up and we simply got some blankets and slept on the floor. You have bathrooms and showers there, if I were to do it again, I'd even just take my sleeping bag and thermarest from my car before I head up from the car area...

We did the trip CCW from the town of St Anns, since the winds and hills are mostly favorable in that direction..


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