From the village of Guysborough, travel east on Route 16 to the community of Queensport. Below the hill of St. Vincent DePaul’s Church on the right, you will find a small gravel clearing leading to the trail head. To access the Cole Harbour entrance, follow Route 16 east from Guysborough, turning right at the junction with Hwy 316 toward Larry’s River. Arriving at the intersection in Charlos Cove, turn left toward Cole Harbour. The backside of a stop sign facing into the trail distinguishes the trail head.
This 150-year-old road was the first overland route constructed in the area, joining coastal communities at Chedabucto Bay and Tor Bay. Skirting the edge of the Bonnet Lake Barrens Wilderness Preserve, this area incorporates an ancient landscape created by bedrock faulting and glacial movement. Granite barrens expose themselves to foggy climates and wind-swept conditions, while creating a comfortable home to bogs, rare plants, lakes and streams.
|Length:||9 km one-way|
|Type:||gravel road, barren, natural path|
|Nearby:||Queensport, Larry’s River|
From the Queensport access point, you will begin your hike along a clearly defined road. Through forests of spruce and fir, one notices large boulders thrown to the side, some wedged amongst the trees, while a brilliant green carpet of moss creates a velvety open floor. Approximately 1.5 km in, you will arrive at a river crossing. If the rudimentary bridge is precarious, wading across the river is a viable option, while retracing your steps a few meters provides a footpath to an old concrete dam which may also serves as a narrow bridge. Approximately 3 km in, the trail catches the east edge of the Bonnet Lake Barrens Wilderness area, which is
composed of exposed granite, and ecologically sensitive raised bogs. Climbing atop the boulders, you will gain a panoramic view of Chedabucto Bay, Isle Madame, and Cape Breton. This summit is a wonderful place to stop and explore, rest, or have lunch. Continuing along the path toward Tor Bay, the trail descends into moist terrain through low, but dense brush, exposing glimpses of Blackberry Run Lakes, Second Cow Lake and First Cow Lake. In this area, you may find the remaining foundation stones of an old air force radar base which was abandoned in 1945.
Wildlife to be enjoyed on this hike are small critters such as mice and moles, garter snakes, frogs, toads, and pheasants, while berries, roses, and pitcher plants are abundant. The final descent toward the highway, leads you toward the Atlantic waters stretching before you, and bringing you to the end of the trail.