COXHEATH HILLS WILDERNESS RECREATION ASSOCIATION
The Coxheath Hills Wilderness Recreation Association was founded on the premise of improving the physical fitness of our community and enhancing our understanding of nature from season to season through wilderness experiences in the natural environment of the Coxheath Hills. The Association was granted federal “Charitable Status” in 2006 and is currently governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the founders and citizens from the community who have a vested interest in our natural environment and the health and fitness of our greater community. Regular board meetings provide direction and long-term objectives; plan and implement fundraising applications and events; implement planned trail and lodge developments which minimize environmental impacts; work with other volunteer groups; and establish governance which will maintain the legacy of this community based environmental institution.
The Coxheath Hills Wilderness Recreation Association is a community organization which has recognized two very important facts related to our people and community. Firstly, we are fortunate enough to live in the Sydney River Valley which is dominated by the beautifully verdant and richly diverse Coxheath Hills. This wilderness area is a pristine natural environment which, with proper stewardship, will provide a wonderful legacy in our region. Secondly, we recognize that ours is a population which is not as engaged in physically active lifestyle as would be required to promote and maintain a high level of community wellness. Our organization has envisioned a great potential for our wonderful natural surroundings to enable our population to increase their activity levels, thereby raising the standard of wellness and creating a community norm related to regular physical activity.
About the Trail
Known to many as Coxheath Mountain, this 10km network of trails sits close to the hearts of may Cape Breton residents. Originally created to save the surrounding area from a proposed quarry, this trail system has blossomed into a well establish year-round trail used by visitors from all over the world. The Coxheath Hills Wilderness Trail is best known for it’s annual October Celtic Colours Hike and Ceilidh, but welcomes visitors for such events as mountain top readings, writing workshops, weekend cadet training sessions, and the occasional overnight guest wishing to spend the night at Pittman Lodge, nestled within the mixed forest atop Coxheath Hills.
The main trail can be a little challenging during the early climb but quickly levels out and presents a beautiful panoramic view of Sydney area, Cape Smokey, and East Bay Hills. The trail offers a glimpse of a babbling brook and waterfall, a refreshing trek through a mixed wood forest of white ash, hemlock, striped maple and beech, and the opportunity to rest your feet in the comfort of their hill-top cottage (available for overnight stays by contacting 902-539-7254).
Once reaching the Lodge you can continue on to the Northern Loop which will take you further into the Coxheath Hills, giving you several more panoramic views, and depositing you once again back at the cabin. The Northern Loop is well worth the hour it will take you to hike it. It is not too difficult and mostly free of hill climbs if traveled in a counterclockwise direction.
Some of the Softwood Trees included in the trail are: White Pine, Hemlock, White Spruce, Black Spruce, Balsam Fir, Eastern Larch, and Tamarack (Juniper).
Some of the Hardwood Trees included are: Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Striped Maple, Mountain Maple, Trembling Aspen, Largetooth Aspen, Balsam Poplar, Eastern Cottonwood, American Beech, White Birch, Yellow Birch, Grey Birch, Red Oak, White Ash, Showy Mountain Ash, American Mountain Ash, Ironwood, Serviceberry, Pin Cherry, and Choke Cherry.
Shrubs included on the trail are: Speckled Alder (Alnus incana), Ground Junniper (Juniperus communis), Wild Raisin (Viburnum nudum), Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta), Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), False Holly (Nemopanthus mucronata), and Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera).
Wildflowers include: Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum), Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis), and Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea).
Mosses include: Sphagnum Moss (Spagnum Moss), Hair-capped Moss (Polytrichum sp.) , Broom Moss, Shrebers Moss, and Club Moss (Lycocpodium spp.).