I recently had the
opportunity to hike the Chapel Gully Trail in Canso on a warm breezy afternoon.
I was the only person there though a glimpse of the log book indicated the
trail has had plenty of recent visitors. I enjoyed several hours of seclusion despite knowing I was never
far from town.
An observation tower is located on a plateau and yields a scenic 360 degree view that takes in ocean, Camp Glasgow, a bunch of islands and part of the town itself. A look off in another location takes you to the edge of the Gully which, at low tide, barely separates the trail from Little Island.
There is a surprising variety of vegetation jumbled into a confined parcel of land. Every few minutes you have the impression you're in a new area because the look of the surroundings has so completely changed.
The trail itself has hundreds of meters of boardwalk which is super easy to walk on and also has parts that are narrow paths tightly hedged with vegetation. Short sections furthest from the parking lot are a bit rough but no special footwear is required. I did not mind the trail surface in the least, it does not compare in difficulty to other, more challenging trails in the county like the Liscomb River Trail.
Numerous covered picnic tables offer good spots to stop for a snack or to obtain shade. Benches are positioned to offer respite for those challenged by the length of the hike.
It's possible to hike a variety of distances without backtracking. Interconnecting trails allow hikers to make loops to suit their time and/or energy levels.
Even the shortest possible route provides a wonderful jaunt around a tidal marsh with much of the distance covered by bridge and boardwalk.
Geocachers should note the presence of caches hidden on or near the trails.
Other attractions in Canso include: the Whitman House Museum and the Canso Islands Historic Site (Grassy Island).
For anyone unfamiliar with the county please refer to this Map for assistance getting to Canso. To find the trail drive through Canso until you see Union Street. Make a right turn then proceed a little over a kilometer. You will see signage for the trail which begins just off Wilmot Drive (to the left).