Written by Bryson Guptill, Island Walk Ambassador
When we walked the Island Walk in October we were especially excited about walking along the shore in the PEI National Park.
Our official route stayed on the main road, but our preference would have been to detour into Cavendish Grove at 2.17 km (right across the road from the entrance to Avonlea Village). We didn’t walk through Cavendish Grove then because there were still a lot of trees down from post-tropical storm Dorian. However, walking through this grove of Maple trees and out to the beach is more interesting than walking along the road. I decided to give it a try.
The entrance to Cavendish Grove is next to the parking lot at the site of the old Rainbow Valley amusement park. Parks Canada re-purposed the amusement park, removed the rides, and focused on more natural features, like the amazing and unique stand of maple trees that covers a good deal of the property.
The trail runs through this grove of maple trees, beside a tree maze, and along MacNeil’s pond on the right. There’s an easy gravel walking trail that takes you out to Cavendish Beach, about 1 km from the parking area.
My route took me out to the beach, past the washrooms, and down to a floating boardwalk over MacNeil’s pond.
Beyond the floating boardwalk, the path winds another kilometre along a gravel path to a magnificent vista of Cavendish beach.
After checking out the beach view, I continued along the paved Gulf Shore Way towards MacKenzie’s Brook. The paved path is lovely, but it’s more fun to walk along the beach. 3.38 km from the Cavendish Grove parking lot there is a staircase leading to the beach. I took these stairs and continued along the deserted beach, enjoying a gentle breeze and the hot late-June sunshine.
There was another staircase at 4.78 km and a third one at 5.15 km This is the last chance to exit the beach before getting to MacKenzie’s Brook. My book describes our adventure getting across the brook – suffice it to say that the bridge has now been replaced and walking across the beaver dam is no longer required!
Once I scrambled up the steep bank, I found a little grass-covered track just before MacKenzie’s Brook. If you’re walking on to North Rustico, you don’t need to worry about this track, but I wanted to return west to my car at Cavendish Grove. I walked down the grassy path and discovered it led back to the main highway between Cavendish and North Rustico.
Once I was out on the highway, I simply headed west to Cavendish, past the Anne of Green Gables house until I came once again to Cavendish Grove. You can retrace my route by loading this link: https://retrace.mobi/v/s166707b