Hiking Highlights

Distance: 8.0 km

Estimated Time: 2 hrs 


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Durham Hill Trail

Trail Description: From the starting point on the Condon Road in Scotsburn (N45 39.161 W62 51.250), the Durham Hill section of the Cape to Cape Trail heads in an easterly direction on the abandoned Short Line Railway that is now known as the Jitney Trail in reference to the passenger train that used to travel between Pictou and Oxford Junction.

After walking about 1.5 km along the Jitney Trail, turn to the right off the Jitney and cross Highway 256. Walk along a short stretch of asphalt road (part of the old highway) to a kiosk with a map of the Durham Hill Trail. There is a sign with the Cape to Cape Trail logo indicating the pathway down the bank to the Sawmill Brook (N45 38.888 W62 50.137). Most of the time it is possible to ford the brook, but during periods of high water there is a plank bridge a short distance up stream. (N45 38.899 W62 50.159)

Follow the Cape to Cape Trail markers about 0.5 kilometres to an opening in the wire fence. At this point the trail goes into a field that, in the growing season, has a crop of oats or corn; looking toward the west, walkers will see Fitzpatrick Mountain and the two wind turbines near Millsville.  Now, walk in a southerly direction along the edge of the field to a marked opening in the fence and continue on the trail through a grove of mature hemlock trees. The owner of this woodlot has recently cut some of the trees as part of a silviculture management plan.

Next on the trail look for a sharp left turn that is marked with the Cape to Cape logo and a directional arrow, then continue walking through a mixed-wood forest of both hardwood and softwood trees. The next landmark is a paved highway, the Stewart Road (N45 38.174 W62 50.072). At this point (looking to the left) you often see the smoke rising from the pulp mill at Abercrombie Point.

Cross the Stewart Road (N45 38.184 W62 50.080) and follow the Cape to Cape Trail signs. The next section of the trail heads in an easterly direction following an old property boundary so it is a bit rocky in places. Look for the directional arrow that indicates a right turn into the woods. After crossing a tiny stream, the trail follows an old hauling road; then it veers to the left through a grove of old spruce trees, heads down a gentle slope and crosses another small stream.

After going through a small grove of mature hemlock trees, the trail follows another old hauling road. The trail is lined with birch saplings on the higher ground and alder bushes lower down. Look for a right turn in the trail where it heads up a slope into a grove of beech trees. Continue on until the trail meets the Quarry Brook.

Walk along the intervale beside the brook until coming to the marked place where it is possible to ford the brook (N45 37.719 W62 49.829), at least most of the time. During periods of high water walkers are advised to stay on the high bank above the brook and walk a few hundred metres to the Durham Road and then return to the trail by walking back along the other side of the brook.

From the ford across the Quarry Brook, the trail heads up a steep bank and then goes for a short distance through a grove of saplings. Then the trail crosses a gravel-surfaced driveway and follows alongside a field that is marked by a wire fence. Regard the fence with caution since it is designed to keep animals in the field using an electric current. There is also barbed wire on sections of this fence.

NOTICE Effective May 2016: The trail is blocked (from the driveway described above to the top of Durham Hill) due to fence construction by the landowner. The only option is to walk along the bank of Quarry Brook to the Durham Road.

Next on the trail there is a narrow stone causeway across a wet area, and then a stone field boundary to the right. Walk up the gentle slope where the trail is adjacent to a field, again enclosed by an electric fence. In the distance across the field there is a view of Hardwood Hill. Just before coming to another large field the trail turns sharply, 90 degrees to the left, and then heads through a hedge of trees between the two fields.

Note: The trail is under construction at this point, without proper trail markers; however, walkers should be able to follow the trail by observing recently-cut trees and red tape tied to the trees.

The trail goes through the woods (temporarily marked by red tape) until it meets a well-defined hauling road. Follow the road down the gentle slope until coming to a Cape to Cape Trail marker indicating that the trail heads to the right across a field and then into a grove of trees. Deep ruts in the trail show that this was once a hauling road leading to a house up ahead. Continue along the trail behind the houses to the paved highway, the Durham Road, between the villages of Durham and Scotsburn.

Cross the Durham Road, while at the same time looking for the Cape to Cape Trail sign on the other side, just a bit to the right. For a short distance, the trail is a mowed path through a hay field before heading into a grove of trees behind the houses in the village of Durham. The exit from the Durham Hill section of the Cape to Cape Trail is at the intersection of Highway 376 and the Durham Bridge.

Trail Access Points: Durham (N45 37.030 W62 48.726)  and Scotsburn (N45 39.161 W62 51.250)

Directions to Durham from Exit 19 on Highway 104: From Exit 19 travel East on Highway 4; i.e. towards New Glasgow. After travelling about 5 km East on Highway 4, turn left onto Highway 376 towards Pictou. Travel about 5 km on Highway 376 to the centre of Durham; i.e. in the vicinity of the Durham Presbyterian Church and the Durham Bridge.

The trail access point in Durham(N45 37.030 W62 48.726) is directly across Highway 376 from the intersection with the Durham Bridge. There is a parking place across the highway from the trail access point.

Directions to Scotsburn from Exit 19 on Highway 104: From Exit 19 travel East on Highway 4; i.e. towards New Glasgow. After travelling about 5 km East on Highway 4, turn left onto Highway 376 towards Pictou. Travel about 5 km on Highway 376 to the centre of Durham village where there is a paved road between Durham and Scotsburn called the Durham Road. From Highway 376 in Durham, turn left onto the Durham Road towards Scotsburn. Travel about 5 km to the intersection with Highway 256, then turn left to the centre of Scotsburn; i.e. in the vicinity of the post office, the school and Scotsburn Dairy. (N45 39.161 W62 51.250)

The trail access point in Scotsburn is near the intersection of Highway 256 and Condon Road; i.e. at the back of the parking lot adjacent to the abandoned Short Line Railway that is now known as the Jitney Trail.