When we planned this route, we agonized over where in Charlottetown to begin. We could have started in front of Province House National Historic Site, probably the single most important landmark in the city. Other logical choices would have been the front entrance to Confederation Centre of the Arts, or the main Charlottetown Visitor Information Centre on Water Street, or even the city's lovely waterfront park. But we chose to begin on Victoria Row, a pedestrians-only block inconspicuously tucked behind Province House and Confederation Centre. We did so, first, because it is one of our favorite hangouts in the city, and we wanted to be sure you would find it. Also, a loop by definition ends where it began, and the pleasant outdoor cafés and restaurants along Victoria Row, together with entertainment from talented sidewalk musicians, make it a perfect place to end the ride, as well as to begin it.
Victoria Row is the block of Richmond Street between Queen Street and Great George. There is a decorative, wrought-iron arch above the Queen Street entrance. This ride begins at the Great George end, directly behind Province House.
|0.0||With Province House to your left, ride on Richmond Street away from Victoria Row.|
|0.1||Turn left on Prince Street, the second street on the left.|
|0.2||Turn right at the traffic lights onto Grafton Street.|
|0.9||Turn left onto the Charlottetown Branch of Confederation Trail, which begins in a small park.
Even though you are still in the city, the trail soon passes fields and farm buildings on the right; this is an Agriculture Canada research farm.
|2.9||Cross Belvedere Avenue with caution and continue on Confederation Trail.
The Charlottetown Farmers Market is on the left just before this busy cross street. The market is a wonderful place to stop on Saturday before 2:00 pm. There is a great selection of prepared food as well as fresh produce, and many local people traditionally enjoy Saturday breakfast or lunch at the market.
Next the trail passes the Atlantic Veterinary College and the University of Prince Edward Island Campus on the left.
|5.4||Stop at Mt. Edward Road. Walk your bike to the left on the shoulder of Mt. Edward road to the traffic lights, cross the Arterial Highway, and then cross Mt. Edward Road. Be sure to use the crosswalks. Proceed along the shoulder of the highway, toward oncoming traffic, for less than 100 meters.|
|5.7||Turn left, back onto Confederation Trail.|
|8.9||Bear right at a fork in the trail, following the sign to Mt. Stewart, 27 kilometers.|
|9.9||Cross Route 15 in Brackley. This is one of the busiest roads between Charlottetown and the PEI National Park.|
|14.8||Cross Route 25 in York. Continue straight ahead on the trail unless you would like to visit Veseys Seeds.
There will be more crossroads over the next 10 kilometers; just stay on the trail.
|27.0||Cross Route 2 with caution and continue on Confederation Trail for another eight kilometers.
(If you prefer, you could turn left here and ride to Mt. Stewart on Route 2. It is safe enough because of the wide, paved shoulder.)
From the trail, you will soon catch glimpses of the Hillsborough River to the right. The last few kilometers of trail before Mt. Stewart pass through marshland with more views of the river. The marshes are quite lovely, but bring mosquito repellent if you want to stop and savor the scene. Otherwise, the mosquitoes may savor you.
|35.8||Turn right onto Route 22.
Just before this turn there is a picnic gazebo on the right, and the Trailside Inn and Café is straight ahead. (A left on Route 22 will take you in less than 400 meters to the intersection with Route 1. There is a convenience store with groceries on this corner).
|36.3||Cross a bridge over the Hillsborough River.|
|36.4||Turn right onto Mt. Stewart Road.
This is still Route 22. You now ride over gently rolling terrain, with lovely views of the Hillsborough and Pisquid Rivers below to the right.
|39.4||Turn right at a crossroad onto Fort Augustus Road, PEI 21, following the sign to Stratford.
Enjoy coasting downhill to a bridge over the Pisquid River, and then climb back up.
Stay on Route 21 for nearly 25 kilometers, until you reach Route 1 just across the Hillsborough River from Charlottetown. The scenery is a patchwork quilt of fields and woods draped over gently rolling hills.
|44.8||After the intersection with Route 213, in less than a kilometer, you'll pass an imposing Catholic church on the left and a sign saying "Welcome to Fort Augustus; We Are Teamed with County Monaghan, Ireland." On right is the Fort Augustus Recreation Center.|
|49.5||Keep right to stay on PEI 21. Route 215 merges from the left.|
|52.9||Bear right to stay on Route 21; the left goes to Donagh.
In Johnston's River, as you draw closer to Charlottetown, there are more suburban-style homes scattered here and there among the farms. Traffic may gradually increase.
|57.8||Calvin Presbyterian Church of Mermaid, a particularly pretty little church, is on the right.|
|60.1||Turn right, staying on Route 21 to Strafford; Route 251 goes straight to Bethel and Crossroads.|
|62.6||Enter the Town of Strafford. There is now a good paved shoulder on which to ride.|
|64.2||Bear right at a fork onto Route 1 West.
(If you were to bear left at this fork, you would quickly come to a busy strip of stores and supermarkets on Route 1.) On the right immediately after the fork is Robert Cotton Memorial Park and Trail. Soon you will see Charlottetown across the river.
|64.9||Begin crossing a causeway and bridge over the broad Hillsborough River. There can be a great deal of traffic, but with wide lanes with good shoulders, it is quite safe. Be careful when you get off on other side of the bridge.|
|65.9||Continue straight at the traffic lights after the bridge, onto Grafton Street.
Use caution. There are seven lanes of traffic getting on and off the bridge, and the right lane is for right turns only. Consider walking your bike through this busy intersection. Immediately after the light, a Tim Horton's and a Wendy's Restaurant are on the right.
Just a few hundred meters after fast food restaurants, notice the park on the right where you started onto Confederation trail. Grafton Street narrows to only two lanes, but you are now in the city and traffic moves much more slowly.
|66.7||Turn left at a traffic light onto Weymouth Street, following the sign to the Visitor Information Center.
(You could continue straight on Grafton Street to Province House and Victoria Row where the ride started. However, the the last few blocks of this route pass by the Visitor Information Center on the waterfront and through some interesting, older parts of Charlottetown.)
|67.0||Turn right at traffic lights and a T intersection onto Water Street.
The Charlottetown Visitor Information Center will be on the left about 50 meters after the entrance to the Railroad Yard Parking Lot. You may wish to visit the Visitor Information Center and the nearby shops.
|67.8||Turn right onto Queen Street.|
|68.1||Turn right into Victoria Row, the pedestrian mall where this ride began. Consider rewarding yourself for completing the ride with a stop at one of the sidewalk cafés.|
|68.3||Reach the end of Victoria Row where this ride began — perhaps an hour or two later, if you take our advice about stopping at a café!|