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Gaetz Brook Greenway Info:
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (Distance).
- Facilities: Dedicated parking lots.
- Signage: Trail maps on info panels at main entry points. Interpretive panels on local nature & cultural history.
- Features: 7.4km compacted crusher dust trail. Converted railway with no significant hills. Benches, picnic tables & unique artwork throughout the trail.
- Biodiversity: Alewife, Blueback Herring, Goldenrod, Swamp Milkweed, Orange Jelly | Observations on iNaturalist.
- Tags: #Bridge, #Family-Friendly, #Fishing, #Lake, #Picnic, #Rails-To-Trails, #River, #Wheelchair-Accessible.
Gaetz Brook Greenway
The Gaetz Brook Greenway is a 7.4km (one-way), linear, multi-use (non-motorized), compacted crusher dust trail. This greenway leads from East Chezzetcook, through Gaetz Brook ending near Musquodoboit Harbour. These flat rails-to-trails harmoniously link small neighborhoods nestled in the enchanting, untouched coastal vistas of Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. The natural scenery combined with the amount of love, work & creativity these communities have put into the trail makes it a masterpiece amidst nature’s craft gallery which is the Eastern Shore. If you love art, community, pristine natural beauty & authenticity then you owe this trail & Nova Scotia’s entire Eastern Shore a visit.
Parking & Access
The main parking area is at the trailhead off of Debras Way in East Chezzetcook. This dedicated parking lot has room for about 15 cars and is located a short distance away from the trailhead. Conveniently located close to halfway through the trail is Royal Canadian Legion Branch 161 and an adjacent parking area for the trail (no need to take up space in the Legion’s lot). Less than 1km from the Legion is Gaetz Brook Junior High School where you can park when the school year is over (the end of June until the beginning of September). Unlike the Legion, the school does not have direct access to the trail. At the trail’s end, is parking off of Stat Hill Road near the Junction of Highways 107 and 7, under 3km away from the community of Musquodoboit Harbour.
Typical of most rails-to-trails in the province, the Gaetz Brook Greenway has a wide, compacted crusher dust base. Even by rails-to-trails standards, it’s remarkably flat with little up/downhill grading. The trail is extremely well cared for and is in great condition thanks to the SATA Trails Society (join them, it’s free & it helps). Beyond the great condition of this recently completed trail, volunteers have put a ton of work into numerous benches, a covered picnic table and play area, as well as public restrooms.
The trail has 2 converted railway bridges that cross the Chezzetcook River & a 200m causeway that stand as reminders of its railway past. At the Legion access point, you can read about the area’s cultural past, including the former railway on thoughtful interpretive signage. Another earnestly written panel greets you at the East Chezzetcook trailhead. Other panels teach visitors about the local natural habitat, from fish to flowers.
Sculptures & Artwork
Artwork lines this trail from beginning to end. You’ll see beautifully intricate sculptures & seasonal decorations as you progress down the trail like a parade of creativity. The artworks perfectly complement the natural beauty & add a lot to the trail experience. The sculptures are by local artist Calvin McKay, using reclaimed material & natural materials collected from his own property. “Owlvin” overlooks Rogers Brook Bridge & “Lill” (in memory of his mother) atop the Chezzetcook River Bridge. “McEagle” sits on the Gaetz Brook Bridge, with its partner next to a nearby bench.
Part of The Great Trail
Currently, the Greenway is bounded to the North by a 3km stretch of unmaintained, rough trail that connects to the Musquodoboit Trailway. To the South is a similarly rough, unmaintained trail that stretches for 15km until it meets the Atlantic View Trail. Improving the connection to the Musquodoboit Trailway is planned and in the works for the near future. Hopefully the southern “Blueberry Run Trail” will be similarly improved. Once completed, these trails will be especially scenic links in the chain that is The Great Trail, the world’s longest, stretching from coast-to-coast.
Gaetz Brook Trip Tips
Make sure you have a bicycle helmet (it’s the law) & a bicycle bell for a polite “ding” to alert pedestrians before passing. Dogs are expected to be on a leash & under control. Share the trail by keeping to the right & be mindful to give room for bikers & joggers to pass. Remember that this trail is maintained by volunteers. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics, pack out what you pack in & don’t leave dog waste bags laying around (use a bag carrier: https://amzn.to/44iOyUL).
If you’re interested in spending a few days in the area, the Crowbar Lake hiking trail system is a 15-minute drive from the Gaetz Brook Greenway trailhead. The Crowbar Lake trails are extensive, rugged, backcountry trails that are best done by setting aside a full day. Similarly, near the opposite end of the Gaetz Brook Greenway, the Musquodoboit Trailway offers extensive, multi-day, backcountry hiking trails that are accessible directly off of the Musquodoboit Trailway’s 14km rails-to-trails. Further up from the Musquodoboit Trailway is Elderbank Waterway Park & paddling opportunities on the Musquodoboit River. You can camp nearby the Gaetz Brook Greenway with a 20-minute drive to Porters Lake Provincial Park, or rent cabins & campers 5 minutes away at Sunset Inlet.
To browse & shop local artistry, check out the nearby Eastern Shore’s Gallery & Mike Lorette Wood Carvings or walk by Calvin MacKay’s, all just a few minutes from the East Chezzetcook Rd. trailhead. For food, drink & supplies head to the community of Porter’s Lake, nearest the Chezzetcook Rd. Trailhead, or the community of Musquodoboit Harbour, nearest the Stat Hill Rd. Trailhead.