Bike touring Nova Scotia and the Maritimes

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 14-21, 1996
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Bike touring Nova Scotia and the Maritimes
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Bike touring Nova Scotia and the Maritimes
Q: I'm planning a bike tour this summer to Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Do you have any information on these locations and this type of trip?
Chris Busacca
[email protected]
Nova Scotia's oh-so-scenic coastal villages
A: While I can't give you the definitive last-say on where to bike on eastern Canada's thousands of miles of back roads, I can suggest several multiday tours that deserve a closer look. In Nova Scotia, try a strenuous three- to five-day trip along the rugged western and eastern shores of Cape Breton Island. Pick up the famous 180-mile Cabot Trail in Baddeck and take it north through Middle River, Magaree Harbour, Cheticamp, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and Cape North and then south again to your starting point. Prepare yourself for steep, lung-busting climbs on twisting roads--not to mention spectacular views of river gorges, sand beaches, small coastal villages, and towering cliffs. Logistically speaking, there are plenty of inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and hostels along the way. Camping is also available throughout Cape Breton Highlands National Park. For more route-planning information, contact Bicycle Nova Scotia at 902-425-5450.

On PEI, opt for a short 40-mile out-and-back trip along the Gulf Shore Parkway in Prince Edward Island National Park. For panoramic views of sand dunes, salt marshes, and some of eastern Canada's prettiest beaches, follow one of the many side paths down to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Start the route at park headquarters in Dalvay Beach and pedal west past Stanhope Beach and Brackley Marsh to your turn-around at Cavendish. The PEI Cycling Information line (800-463-4734) can provide you with more details.

In Newfoundland, we recommend a 120-mile out-and-back spin through Gros Morne National Park on the island's west coast. Beginning in Deer Lake, the route parallels the spectacular Lone Range Mountains and takes you along rugged stretches of coastline, past fjords, high cliffs, and tidal pools rife with barnacles and sea urchins. There are plenty of campgrounds as you cycle north to Cow Head and Parson's Pond on Route 430. For more information, contact the Gros Morne National Park Superintendent at 709-458-2417. To extend this last trip by several days, consider continuing on from Parson's Pond to St. Barbe, near the northern tip of Newfoundland; from there, catch the ferry across to Blanc-Sablon, on the Labrador-Quebec border, where you can pick up paved Route 510 to Pinware River Provincial Park.

For details on two-wheel touring in Labrador, call the Newfoundland and Labrador Cycling Association at 709-576-2513. Finally, for additional ideas and resource information, pick up a copy of Cycling Canada ($12.95; Bicycle Books--San Francisco).

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