The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail)

As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail) connects Canada from coast to coast to coast. People can explore our vast country, experience its diverse landscapes and connect with our people along the 24,000 km of trails, waterways and roadways of The Great Trail. This trail is a community-based project. Trail sections are owned, operated and maintained by local trail organizations, provincial authorities, national agencies and municipalities across Canada. Initiated in 1992 as a project to celebrate Canada’s 125th year, the Trail was officially connected in 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Butter TrailThough The Great Trail is now connected, the work is far from over! Please continue to support community trail organizations, government agencies and other partners who continue the effort that people can experience this epic trail, for free, and for generations to come.

The Great Trail: The Colchester Connection

The Great Trail route runs east-west and north-south through Colchester County. It includes some of our best trails — the Butter Trail and Short Line Trail (see below) along the Northumberland Shore, the Gully Lake hiking trail system, and the Cobequid Trail. The route also follows scenic secondary roads—through rolling hills and beside spectacular rivers—highlighting some of Colchester’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Short Line Trail and Butter Trail

Waugh River BridgeThe east-west portion of The Great Trail through Colchester County follows the Short Line Trail, a former railway line along the North Shore. The 5-km trail section of the Short Line Trail through Tatamagouche is known as the Butter Trail, named after the Tatamagouche Creamery beside the trail. The trail crosses the French River and Waugh River (both tidal), runs through Nelson Memorial Park, and passes by Patterson Wharf Park. The Short Line Trail runs a total of approximately 107 km on the former railway between Oxford and Pictou.

Tatamagouche Area Trails Association manages the 26-km section of the Short Line Trail through Colchester County. The Province of Nova Scotia owns this former rail corridor.


Short Line Trail and Butter Trail

Type: Linear
Length: 26 km one-way (Butter Trail in Tatamagouche is 5 km long)
Surface: Gravel, crushed gravel (between Bayhead and Denmark), wooden bridges
Rating: Easy, flat
Marking: Follow obvious rail trail, signs
Permitted Use: Walking, cycling, equestrian, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing; dogs on leash

Parking available at these locations:
- 24 Station Road, off Main Street in Tatamagouche
- 29 Creamery Road, off Main Street in Tatamagouche
- 40 King Street, near Patterson Wharf Park in Tatamagouche
- Nelson Memorial Park, 153 Loop of Hwy 6, west of Tatamagouche
- Sutherland Steam Mill Museum, 3169 Hwy 326 in Denmark


Tatamagouche Area Trails Association 902-657-2277

Trans Canada Trail (North Shore)

North-south route of The Great Trail: Denmark to Shubenacadie

From the Short Line Trail in Denmark, the route continues south to Earltown, through Gully Lake Wilderness Area, through Kemptown, to Bible Hill and Truro. From Truro, the route heads west to Old Barns, south to Princeport and Riverside to Stewiacke. From Stewiacke, the Great Trail follows the Shubenacadie River into the Municipality of East Hants.

Detailed north-south route (description in progress)

From the Sutherland Steam Mill Museum in Denmark, go south on Highway 326 to the junction of Highway 311 at Earltown. The lovely Earltown General Store is located on the east side of Highway 311. The next section of The Great Trail starts at 5300 Highway 311; this is the trailhead for Earltown Lake and Portage Trail (part of the Gully Lake Wilderness Hiking Trail System). Continue through the wilderness hiking trails - along the Sandy Cope Trail, Willard Kitchener MacDonald Trail, Gully Lake Trail and Juniper Head Trail - to the trailhead at 737 Glen Road, Pictou County.

From the Glen Road trailhead, continue south on Glen Road (gravel), then south/west on Highway 4 to Valley (intersection of Highway 4/Pictou Road and Salmon River Road).

Through Valley, follow the sidewalk route along Salmon River Road and College Road into Bible Hill. Continue along Main Street and through downtown Truro to reach King Street and the Cobequid Trail rail trail section.

The Cobequid Trail continues west almost 11 km to Shore Road in Old Barns. From this point, follow Shore Road (gravel) to Black Rock Road (gravel), to Highway 236. Continue south on Highway 236 for about 3 km then turn onto Princeport Road. Follow Princeport Road to Riverside Road. Look for the historic site of the former Princeport church and school. Continue south on Riverside Road, along the Shubenacadie River and saltmarshes beside its tributaries. The route crosses and follows Hwy 236 for 1 km in Green Creek. Continue south on Riverside Road. Caddell Rapids Look-off Provincial Park has a wonderful view of the Shubenacadie River - look for Bald Eagles! Continue to Stewiacke. From Stewiacke, the Great Trail  is a water route on the Shubenacadie River (or follow the parallel Back Road and Highway 2 for a land-based option) into the community of Shubenacadie in the Municipality of East Hants.

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