North Cape Nature Trail
The North Cape Nature Trail lies on the windswept northwest tip of the Island. Due to its location the area was slow and late for settlement, and due to its topography it remains largely open today.
These same factors have brought on other forms of development. A lighthouse has stood at the site since at least the mid nineteenth century. Today it is the site of a large windmill farm, and a wind energy research station. A fine restaurant and gift shop serve tourists to these installations and to the trail.
The trail is a linear boardwalk, starting at the North Cape Windmill Farm, following sheer cliffs of from 30 feet to 40 feet on one side, almost two km to the remains of an isolated rock column just a good leap offshore. (Don’t try it.)
Off the cliff side lies the endless seascape of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at certain points, the beach is accessible at low tide. The boardwalk readily accommodates wheelchairs, but it is not accessible to motorized vehicles, and bicycles are not welcomed.
The trail passes through scrub woodlands taking a side trip of a couple of hundred yards into Black Marsh, with its unique flora. Here is a raised resting platform and look off. The Marsh, (probably more technically correct, a bog), covers a very extensive area on the cliff tops, with the Marsh extension barely penetrating its edge. Dozens of varieties of coarse plants unique to the Marsh may be seen, with their tiny colorful flowers in appropriate seasons.
In addition to marsh birds and common birds of the Island on one side, from the cliff you may see terns and gulls, cormorants, loons, scoter, old squaw. Eider and harlequin ducks, gannets, and bald eagles.