Salt Marsh Trail

Salt Marsh Trail - 6.5 km (one way)

The Salt Marsh Trail is part of the abandoned Musquodoboit railroad that has been transformed into a part of the Trans Canada Trail. The trail provides an easygoing adventure for hikers and bikers alike. This trail is also a popular cross-country skiing destination in the wintertime. 
For some people, a short walk (1.0 km) out to the first bridge and back, will be a great adventure. Walkers and bikers will get to see the great salt marsh, smell the coastal air and view some beautiful panoramas. Others that seek more of a challenge can make the round trip of 13 km or the one-way trip of 6.5 km.   The trail is very level and the surface is a mix of crusher dust and gravel. There are markers for every kilometre of this trail to help you keep track of how far you have travelled. 

Hurricane Juan caused extensive damage in 2003; however, repairs have been made to the trail and it is still enjoyed by thousands of people every year. There are plans to stabilize the trail against further storm damage and the rising coastline, but in the meantime, it is open for use at your own risk.

Musquodoboit Railway History

The Blueberry Express

During the late 19th century, politicians and businessmen started thinking about a railway that would run from Dartmouth to Guysborough. Many false starts took place, primarily due to financing problems, before the actual construction began in 1912.

The first phase of the rail line covered the route between Dartmouth and Upper Musquodoboit; later the line continued to the village of Dean. Although construction of the line in Guysborough County was started, it never saw any trains travel on it; perhaps because there were conflicting ideas about which route the line should take.

In its heyday, the Musquodoboit Railway performed two main functions:

•  Freight from the Eastern Shore consisted of beach gravel from Lawrencetown and Seaforth; forest products from Porter’s Lake, Chezzetcook and Musquodoboit Harbour; and limestone from Upper Musquodoboit. Freight to the Eastern Shore and Musquodoboit Valley consisted primarily of general merchandise for the rural communities. Prior to the railway being built, coastal schooners provided most of the transportation of goods and services. However, when the railway opened, all the schooners were put out of business. Freight service continued from 1916 until 1982 and during the busiest periods, up to 14 trains made the return trip to Dartmouth each day.

•  Passenger service was originally very brisk, especially taking farmers to market and city workers home during the weekends. Prior to the passenger trains, people had a choice of either walking to the city or going by oxen or horse team over rough crooked roads. Passenger service ran from 1915 until 1960. 

The railway service received its nickname, Blueberry Express, from the many baskets of blueberries carried to market for sale in Halifax and Dartmouth. Some say the name originated because the train made so many extended stops thus allowing passengers to get off the train and pick the plentiful blueberries.

Please enjoy the trail and share your pictures!

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