The hike to the coast (no biking) is well worth the effort, as you will be rewarded with the sight and sounds of seals just off the shore and the bluest waters you will have ever seen. The white sands and rugged rocks are a popular haven for migrating shorebirds and the endangered piping plover. For more information on Keji Seaside, visit their site. There are two trails at Keji Seaside. The shoreline is a 45-60 minute walk from the parking lot (but well worth it!).
Harbour Rocks Trail
This trail passes through mixed conifer, birch, and maple forests. As you near the coast, the forest changes to mainly spruce and fir. The trail emerges into a dense tundra like cover of alder and sheep laurel just before you start to hear the breaking waves on the sandy beaches that await. The Harbour Rocks Trail follows the coastline to the western end of St. Catherines River beach. Expect to see large numbers of harbour seals lying on the rocks just off shore. Don't forget your binoculars as this is a prime bird watching location. Reminders of long forgotten farmers and families are evident in the stone fences, rock foundations, old clearings, and cattle trails that still seem to be calling to those who venture close. The endangered Piping Plover call two thirds of St. Catherine's Beach home from late April to mid August so watch for the posted signs that are a reminder to keep your distance. The trail is gravel and varies in width but is generally wide enough for two people to walk side by side. Well maintained with boardwalks over most wet areas.
Port Joli Head Trail
This trail branches away from the Harbour Rocks Trail and crosses the extensive bog by way of a long winding boardwalk. Let the scent of the juniper that grows along the boardwalk tickle your senses. You will stroll alongside small areas of predominately soft wood forest which hugs the coastline until you reach Port Joli Head. You will then wind your way along the shoreline to picturesque Harbour Rocks. The trail then follows the rugged coast past Isaac's Harbour, MacLeod's Cove & Boyd's Cove. You are bound to hear seals calling from their sunning rocks as they bask and play the day away. Keep an eye open for cormorants drying their wings on the rocks just off shore, a perfect photo opportunity for sure. Shore birds are in abundance along the white sand beaches. Sandpipers, yellowlegs and piping plovers are just a few that call St. Catherine's River Beach home. The trail is gravel and varies in width but is generally wide enough for two people to walk side by side. Well maintained with boardwalks over most wet areas.
Location: Port Joli.
Trailhead: Drive west along Highway 103 toward Yarmouth, take Exit 22. Turn left on St Catherine's River Road, and travel 6km to the park entrance. GPS (parking lot): 43.838280, -64.856291
Significant Features: Seal and seabird watching, endangered piping plover nesting area, home of the pitcher plant, mixed forest habitat, rugged coastline.
Trail Length: Habour Rocks: 5.2km return. Port Joli Head: 8.7km return.
Hiking Time: Harbour Rocks: 1 hour 45 minutes. Port Joli Head: 3 hours.
Ability Level: Habour Rocks: very few slight and moderate slopes, all skill levels. Port Joli Head: elevations and footings vary, for the active hiker.
For your comfort and safety: Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times and you must pick up after them. Stay on designated trails. A hat and sunscreen are strongly recommended. Swimming is not recommended as the water is extremely cold and dangerous currents and undertows may occur. There are no lifeguards on duty. Use caution on rocky headlands. Unusually large waves can occur and are often unexpected. Approaching seals on the beach is dangerous. Black bears are present, although seldom seen. Please respect all wild animals by viewing them from a distance. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions. Carry bug repellent. Plenty of water for drinking on hot days is a must. There is no scheduled winter maintenance. Pack in pack out.
Visitor Services: Between mid June and mid October the Kiosk is open at the trailhead. There is park and trail information available during that time. Washroom facilities, a tap for water, and beverage machines are available at the trailhead when the kiosk is open. Bike racks are available at the trailhead year round. Washroom facilities are available on the trails year round. Viewing stations and interpretive panels are available along the trails.