Partridge Island: Rock-hounding, hiking

Points of interest on Cape Chignecto, Nova Scotia

part 2

I had heard about a beach where you could walk the shore at low tide and search for amethyst. I don’t remember how I found it, I just remember driving my truck across a rocky beach. Then I proceeded to walk with my head down looking for and picking up any stone that had the slightest glimmer of purple.

A few years later I returned with my sister, brother-In-law and niece to camp in the area. Again we walked the shore,  looking for the precious gemstones.  We divided up and searched sections. I climbed the up the incline, just on the outer part of an area that was cordoned off for geological study. Any bits of amethyst I found, I stowed in my pocket.

After a good hour of beachcombing, we regrouped to show each other what we’d found, but it was slim pickings for all of us. We each kept our best find and left the rest on the beach.   On that day I wanted to climb the trails to the top of island but it was so muddy and slippery I decided against it.

For the third time I am back on Partridge Island, walking the beach. But today I head straight to the Eco trail sign and bound up the steep path.

Spring thaw has made for a spongy trail, and a harsh winter of punishing winds has taken its toll. I start thinking the trail may become impassible as I straddle a fallen tree and trip over some exposed roots.  I will need my happy feet for this hike.

Partridge Island Eco- trail
Partridge Island Eco- trail

Within a few minutes the path turns left and continues upward. The leaves have not sprouted yet, so from a bench at a lookout there is a decent view to the islands of Cape Chignecto, out in the Bay of Fundy.

trail  around partridge Island
Trail around Partridge Island

The final rise to the top affords a good view of the basin.

top of hill on trail
What can be seen on a clear day: An open view of more than 44 kilometers of coastline from the Minas Basin to Cobequid Bay sign at the top.

To complete the trail to the look off tower you have to go downhill for about 10 minutes. The path is dry and worn.




Other side of Partridge Island. Tower look off
Other side of Partridge Island. Tower look off

It is not a loop trail – you have to return the same way you came. When I get back around to the front of the island I hear a horn blow.  I pay no attention, continuing to place one foot in front of the other. Then the siren screams off again and a thought crosses my mind: It could be a warning that the tide has begun to come in. Visions of being cut off from my truck and being stranded on the island frighten me into a gallop down the path.

dashing down the path.
Dashing down the path.

When I exit the trail the panic subsides. The island beach is essentially a breakwater, so I was never in any real danger of being stranded. I believe the entire hike took only 35 minutes. You will want to have at least an hour to do some rock-hounding, and make sure to get a look at the basalt columns, similar to the famous ones at Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

As I drive slowly back across the beach, I make a discovery: The first and only house on the road leading down to Partridge Island beach is Ottawa House. One of the oldest buildings in the province, it was built in 1780s as a summer residence for Charles Tupper, who was the premier of Nova Scotia, a Father of Confederation, and the sixth prime minister of Canada. Please read In Honour of Canada’s 150th for more on my search for the Fathers of Confederation.

Ottawa House Hoe to Charles Tupper
Ottawa House- Home to Charles Tupper, a premier of Nova Scotia, Father of Confederation, and the sixth prime minister of Canada.

I pull over and walk up the onto the porch. With my hands shielding the sunlight, I peek into a window  The home is dark and a Closed for the Season sign is placed in the window.  I guess that means I will have to do a fourth trip to Partridge Island. I snap a few pictures then return to my truck and accelerate back on the road towards Parrsboro.

Please join me as I continue around Cape Chignecto, Nova Scotia. Here is Joggins fossil cliffs- UNESCO WHS If you missed the beginning of my trip. Until next time happy travels from Maritime Mac.



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26 thoughts on “Partridge Island: Rock-hounding, hiking

Add yours

    1. My story didn’t explain the hike to much. I love hiking but mention every twist and fold hill and hollow is not interesting to anyone. It is an excellent place to go for an afternoon, for everyone, rock-hounding, or laying on beach, or hiking picnicking, Some history on a secured island it was great and worth a story for sure.,

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Good morning from western Canada. I love the rich history of our country ever since I was a young boy on the prairies. These places you visit are amazing to say the least !! Keep searching for the next exciting find on your journey Maritime Mac !!


  2. This is a fun but short hike. We went last June, and the trails were much fuller with greenery…….I believe this is where I encountered poison ivy. I will more aware next trip……maybe I will wear pants!


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