Submitted by: Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Trail
The Pelee Island Waterfront Trail is part of the 1400 km Trail from Windsor to Quebec connecting 68 communities and 405 parks.
Pelee Island is the first island to be designated as part of the Trail.
The Pelee Island Waterfront Trail is a 28km circular route, following close to the Lake Erie shoreline all around the Island. The route travels quiet country roads, through farmland, vineyards and natural areas, and has equal sections that are paved and unpaved. The Waterfront Trail also connects to the Islands’s Ecological Trail System, providing access to beaches, forests, sand dunes, marshes and alvars found nowhere else in Canada. It is a wonderful family-friendly week-end getaway!
Pelee Island is located 32 kilometres south of the Ontario mainland and is part of an archipelago of islands in the western Lake Erie basin. This location of Canada’s southernmost inhabited land area (Middle Island is the southernmost) creates an environment of unique plants and animals and is on major migratory bird and butterfly routes.
The Fish Point Nature Reserve and the Lighthouse Point Nature Reserve provides habitat for rare species including the Blue Racer Snake, Lake Erie Water Snake, Smallmouth Salamander and Spotted Turtle. In addition, 31 provincially rare and 19 regionally rare plant species are located in the reserves. Another unique feature is the Stone Road Alvar, a globally significant area, where you can find plant and animal life that occurs nowhere else in the world. The physical presence of limestone combined with a southerly climate has created a unique Canadian Savannah environment.
In addition to the natural heritage features, there are significant cultural heritage features including the Pelee Island Heritage Centre, the Pelee Island Lighthouse, Pelee Island Art Works, the Pelee Island Winery, the Kite Museum and local limestone architecture.
The Pelee Island Waterfront Trail is open all year–accessible by ferry from Spring to late Fall, and by air during winter months. Spring and fall bird and butterfly migrations are favourite times to visit. There is an annual fall pheasant hunt on the Island occurring in part of October and November, when trail users should be cautious.
Accommodations on the Island include bed and breakfasts, cottage rentals and camping. Pelee Island is a wonderful gateway to Sandusky, Ohio and the American coast of Lake Erie.