You have got to check out the red ribbon of trails flowing through Prince Edward Island. Smooth, flowy threads of red dirt lead you through the island trails. Sometimes surrounded by yellow farmer’s fields, or green forests, Prince Edward Island offers a beautifully contrasted landscape. A great getaway for the family who rides together as the trails suit the beginner through intermediate rider who loves to flow.
We have compiled a highlight reel from our visits to Prince Edward Island for your epic trip planning purposes!
Brookvale Nordic Centre
The Brookvale Nordic Centre is a short drive from Charlottetown or Borden-Carleton and is a mountain bike destination for riders of all levels. Pump your way through the new singletrack, or check out the roots and dirt on some of the older trails. With over 20km of varied singletrack and a pump track in the parking lot, it’s a must ride while on PEI for individuals, families or groups. The trail network consists of a combination of flat, smooth terrain, flowy machine built trail and old-school rooty, technical riding all carved through the famous red PEI dirt! A great place to introduce flow into your riding.
After your epic ride at Brookvale, enjoy a drink or bite to eat on the deck overlooking the hills at Riverdale Orchard. If you’d like a lesson or guided tour, check out Sacred Rides PEI for the local experience.
Riding Brookvale on a Thursday evening? Check out Barnone in Rose Valley for great beers, music and views at a real farmhouse brewery.
Bonshaw Provincial Park
The Bonshaw trail network is just 20 minutes from Charlottetown and Borden and spans throughout the Strathgartney Provincial Park and the Bonshaw Provincial Park. The 25km of trails are perfect for intermediate and advanced riders. From the smooth, flowy Elliot River Run to the rooty, technical Goat Trail, this location is ideal for an afternoon ride. The trail systems are connected via the Bonshaw bridge underpass and the “Strathshaw Link”. Although these trails are strategically designed for mountain bikers with hard-packed dirt with roots, rocks and bridges, this is a multi-use trail system and a popular hiking destination, so there are options for those in your crew that may not ride.
No double black diamond trails exist in this network however there is plenty of technical riding for experts to enjoy. Rock n Roll and the Goat Trail are a must-do for advanced riders and the Elliot River Run although rated green is the most popular trail in the system.
Gairloch features a 7km loop that combines singletrack and several access roads open to mountain bikers. Counter-clockwise is the most popular direction but this trail can be ridden both ways. Most of the trail has tight, rooty singletrack built for intermediate and advanced riders. This trail system is rooty with several steep climbs – a challenge for new riders. The trail is located just off the Confederation Trail, so you can choose to ride the smooth, groomed trails and then test out a bit of singletrack.
Head to Montague for post-ride BBQ at Bogside then across the street to Copper Bottom for some live music.
For a change of riding pace, check out the Robinson’s Island trails located in the National Park near Brackley Beach. This 5 km multi-use beginner to the intermediate family-friendly trail is open to bikers and hikers with a pump track located next to the trail entrance. This rolled stone dust trail is flat and designed as a stacked loop. It features 11 technical trail challenges such as ramps and teeter-totters located in spurs that break off of the main trail.
Rotary Park is a beautiful network of tree-lined gravel and clay trails on a 64-acre parcel of land. The park contains a network of nearly 6.5 kms of multi-use trails that will take you through farmers’ fields, wetlands and through old-growth forests.
Stop into local bike shops MacQueen’s and Outer Limit Sports in Charlottetown for all your mountain biking needs.
Cool down in the swimming pool or heat up in the hot tub at the Kindred Spirits cottages in Cavendish. The National and Provincial Parks also have camping options close to beaches and other apres-ride amenities. Looking for a unique spot to stay? Check out TreeTop Haven in Mount Tryon.
Eat & Drink
Prince Edward Island boasts a variety of restaurants and breweries for every appetite! Here are a few favourites recommended by local riders:
- After some hard riding, head into Charlottetown for a beer and a brewery tour at PEI Brewing Company or Upstreet Brewing.
- Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico is a great spot to chill after checking out some beaches (it’s very busy so make sure you give yourself some time, but it will be worth the wait!)
- Founder’s Hall Urban Market in Charlottetown for the crew that can’t make up their mind what to eat
- Fishbone’s for a great late-night patio, Baba’s Lounge for the local hang and Craft Beer Corner for some chill vibes
- Boom Burger is great “slow” fast food and next to a Cow’s Ice Cream
- Be sure to hit Lone Oak Brewery in Gateway Village for beer and live music if you’re coming or going from the Confederation Bridge
- If you want something more upscale, Sim’s Steakhouse is a good bet
- Slaymaker and Nichols is a hot new restaurant in town with a long local tap list
- Red Island Cider in Charlottetown is the go-to for cider
- Check out Receiver for coffee and baked goods
Traveling with the Fam Jam? PEI boasts two amusement parks; Sandspit and Shining Waters. Stratford has the Red Rock climbing wall and a new trampoline park, Bounce.
A trip to the beach is possible after any ride on Prince Edward Island. Check out Canoe Cove Beach after Brookvale or Bonshaw, North Rustico after Robinson’s Island Beach and Panmure Island Beach after Gairloch and Montague. A meal next to the waves, and a swim in the ocean to wash away that red dirt is a uniquely-PEI-way to end a day of riding!
We recommend visiting the island as early as May and into October. Be sure to book your hotel or campsite early during the peak summer season as the Island is a very popular summer destination for families.
Written by Sam Bosence with contributions from Mike Robertson and Matt Martel