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Ghost Beach


Length: 7.5 km (4.7 mi) return
Hiking Time: 2+hr
Type of Trail: crushed stone, natural surface, rock
Uses (no snow): walking, ATVs
Uses (snow): snowshoeing
Facilities: interpretive panels, garbage cans, benches
Dog Use: off-leash permitted

Gov’t Topo Map: 11F11 (Port Hawkesbury)
Rating (1-5): 2

Trailhead GPS Reference: N 45 38” 53.4’ W 61 24” 46.0’

Access Information: On the Canso Causeway, turn left (north) immediately after crossing the canal. Park in lot next to trail pavilion. From Port Hastings, turn right just before the steel truss swing bridge.

Introduction: The Inverness and Richmond Railway Company was incorporated in 1887 to construct a railway from the district of Margaree to Mabou, and Port Hood, and Port Hawkesbury, with a branch to Whycocomagh. In the end, they developed a route from Port Hastings to Inverness, the first train running in 1901. Following financial problems, the line was leased to Canadian National from Feb, 1, 1924 until they purchased it in 1929. CN operated the line until the late 1980’s, when its biggest customer, the Evan’s Coal Mine in Inverness, was shut down due to flooding.

Although it is part of the much longer Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, Ghost Beach is more like its own separate trail, because it cannot be biked. Its setting in the Strait of Canso so close to the causeway and all its human activity gives it the feel of a walk in a city park – until the wind howls down and dashes waves completely over the narrow land bridge that is your route. Despite its proximity to these busy communities, it can have the feel of a challenging hike. When a rain or snow squall descends, which happens often in the shoulder seasons, the exterior world disappears and it is easy to imagine that you are trekking on the edge of the earth.

It is exhilarating, and if you are lucky enough to have a pod of pilot whales cruise past at the same time: unforgettable.

Cautionary Notes: High winds and waves.

Ratings are designated from 1 to 5 indicating suitability for all fitness and experience levels, with 5 being suitable only for experienced and very fit outdoor people. Novices should only choose level 1 and 2 hikes, and work their way up. Level 4 and 5 hikes have indicators associated with their ratings.

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