Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail
Trail Description: The trail access point (N45 36.762 W62 54.365) in the village of Millbrook is on the New Road which is a gravel road alongside the Four Mile Brook; i.e. about one kilometre down this gravel road from its starting point at the intersection with the Millsville Road. There is a sign with the Cape to Cape Trail logo located at the side of the New Road on the bank above the Four Mile Brook. There is a parking place across the road in an old gravel pit.
From this access point on the New Road the trail leads down the bank to a place where it is possible to ford the Four Mile Brook. As you cross the brook, you will see a small waterfall to the left. Now the trail heads steeply up the bank and continues on a rock-lined path above the brook. As the trail veers away from the brook it passes through a grove of white spruce trees and after about one kilometre comes to the Millsville Road.
Walk directly across the Millsville Road to the trail entrance that is marked by the Cape to Cape Trail logo. This part of the trail follows an old hauling road for about a kilometre, then veers to the right and crosses a tiny stream. Here the trail heads up a gentle slope through a grove of mixed softwood trees.
The next part of the trail passes through a former clear-cut that is now shaded by mixed-hardwood saplings providing ample shade. After leaving the relative openness of the clear-cut, the trail passes through a grove of mature hemlock trees and then through an abandoned farmstead that is partly overgrown with decaying white spruce trees. Next the trail passes a wind turbine in a large clearing; in the distance, there is also a good view of other wind turbines on Dalhousie Mountain. Then the trail goes through another section of mature forest. On the way to the top of the hill, there is a switchback in the trail lessening the effort required to climb the steep slope.
By now it is possible to hear and catch a glimpse of the two wind turbines on the summit of Fitzpatrick Mountain. This is a good place to take a rest on the wooden bench donated by Shiretown Dental, a friend of the Cape to Cape Trail.
Just below the summit, the trail crosses a hauling road that leads up to the right to a scenic picnic spot adjacent to the wind turbines (about 275 metres above sea level). Walkers are invited to take a break while viewing the surrounding countryside. The group of wind turbines to the south are situated on Dalhousie Mountain. The rustic benches and picnic table were constructed by Ward Brubacher.
At this point it is possible to return to Millsville by walking down the hill on the Tower Road and the Irving Young Road, and then alongside the paved Millsville Road.
After crossing the hauling road (i.e. the one leading up to the wind turbines and the picnic spot) the trail heads through an another area of abandoned farmland that is now overgrown with saplings, shrubs and blueberry bushes. Since the trail is on private land and since the owner of this property depends on the income earned from harvesting the blueberries, it is expected that walkers will refrain from picking them.
The next section of the trail was clear-cut about 20 years ago, but it is now shaded by tall hardwood saplings, fortunately just the right growing environment for raspberry bushes to thrive.
Further on, the trail passes through a grove of mature hardwood trees, including beech and maple. Due to the lack of undergrowth, there is an unobstructed view through the forest and, at some points, a view of the countryside below the mountain.
On this part of the trail there are several intersections with the network of mountain bike trails on Fitzpatrick Mountain, so walkers are advised to pay attention to the Cape to Cape Trail markers.
Unfortunately, since the establishment of the Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail, the original path of the trail has been obstructed by the construction of a telecommunication tower. For this reason, it is necessary to walk across the cleared area around the tower, keeping to the left of the access road, in order to continue on the trail.
Shortly before the trail reaches the Smith Rock Lodge & Chalets, there is a turn to the left from the main trail that leads directly to the chalets, while the main trail keeps to the right of the chalets and the access road up the hill to the chalets.
On the downward slope of Fitzpatrick Mountain, in the vicinity of the Smith Rock Lodge & Chalets (about 225 metres above sea level), there is a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the Northumberland Strait beyond. On a clear day it is possible to see Pictou Harbour, Pictou Island and the ridge of hills to the east leading to Cape George.
The trail now heads downhill, first through a field overgrown with small saplings and then into a mixed forest of softwoods and hardwoods.
After about a kilometre the trail crosses the access road to the Smith Rock Lodge & Chalets and then continues on through a mature forest of hemlock trees. The brook adjacent to this part of the trail flows through a ravine etched into the gravelly soil of the mountain. The bridges built to cross the brook are now unsafe and obviously need to be replaced; therefore, in the meantime, walkers will have to ford the brook.
The trail ends at the Scotsburn recreation park adjacent to the Scotsburn Elementary School and Highway 256. Beside the asphalt parking lot there is a kiosk with a map of the Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail.
Trail Access Points: Millsville (N45 36.762 W62 54.365) and Scotsburn (N45 39.192 W62 51.354)
Directions to Millsville 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. After travelling 3.5 km on the Durham Road, turn left onto the Millsville Road. Travel 6 km to the community of Millsville, then turn left onto the New Road.
The trail access point (marked by a sign with the Cape to Cape Trail logo) is on the New Road about one kilometre from the intersection with the Millsville Road. There is a place to park across the road 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.
The trail access point in Scotsburn (N45 39.192 W62 51.354) is at the recreation park beside the Scotsburn Elementary School. There is a paved parking lot adjacent to Highway 256. From the parking lot, walk to the the back of the recreation park where there is a sign showing the beginning of the Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail.