Skmaqn–Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site
Please note: Cameras may be used on site for wildlife monitoring.
Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site boasts a newly invigorated trail system spanning 6 kilometres. Explore the newly-opened areas of an 18th century Acadian settlement and 19th century British farmlands, follow the Old Harbour interpretive trail to the remains of Fort Amherst and Michel Haché-Gallant’s homestead or take in the stunning views of Charlottetown from our coastal paths.
Download your own copy of the Skmaqn–Port-la-Joye–Fort-Amherst trails map (PDF, 2.13 MB).
1. Old Harbour Path
Location: Starts at the Visitor Reception Centre.
This paved and accessible 0.3 km interpretive trail shares the stories of Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst. Learn about its role in early European settlement during the Franco-British struggle for imperial dominance.
2. DePensens Path
Location: Connects the Old Harbour Path to the Skmaqn Trail.
This 0.2 km path connects the Old Harbour Path to the Skmaqn Trail. Named for Jacques d’Espiet de Pensens, esquire, officer of the colonial regular troops in Acadia, Placentia (Plaisance) and Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island); councillor of the Conseil Supérieur of Isle Royale; king’s lieutenant and commandant of Isle Saint-Jean; knight of the order of Saint-Louis, who was instrumental in the early development of the French colony.
3. Farmscapes Trail
Location: Connects either from Alliance Alley, Rangelight Row or the Warren Farm Path.
This 3 km trail boasts previously inaccessible landscapes, where historic farm properties dating from 18th century French and Acadian settlement era, and 19th century British settlement era, that were later established when cannon gave way to plough.
4. Alliance Alley
Location: Connects the Old Harbour Path and the Skmaqn Trail.
This 0.5 km path connects the Old Harbour Path and the Skmaqn Trail, and refers to the historic political alliance once formed between the Mi’kmaq and French officials.
5. Rangelight Row
Location: Connects either from the Old Harbour Path, Skmaqn Trail or the Warren Farm Path.
This 0.6 km trail highlights two range lights, beacons of navigation that allow for safe entry to and exit from Charlottetown Harbour.
6. Skmaqn Trail
Location: Accessible from the lower parking lot or connects from Rangelight Row.
This 0.8 km trail, meaning “waiting” in Mi’kmaq, is named for the annual practice whereby Mi’kmaq leaders and Elders would assemble at Port-la-Joye to renew their political and military alliance with the French. Grand ceremonies of feasting, as well as speeches and presentation of French gifts would take place in the area along this trail.
7. Coastal Forest Path
Location: Starts behind the Visitor Reception Centre.
This 0.3 km wood chip trail connects the Skmaqan Trail to the Visitor Reception Centre and weaves through a forested area along a section of Prince Edward Island’s south shore coastline.
8. Survey Lane
Location: Starts at the lower parking lot and emerges at the upper parking lot.
This 0.3 km path is named for the fact that Samuel Johannes Holland began his survey of the British possession in North America from this small island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. His home and base command was located just adjacent to Fort Amherst.
9. Warren Farm Path
Location: Connects Alliance Alley with the Farmscapes Trail.
This 0.6 km gravel path is named Warren Farm after Walter Patterson’s wife’s family name. Patterson was St. John’s Island’s first Governor (appointed in 1769), and acquired farmland in this area.
Facilities and Services:
Accessible Trail Exhibit Hiking
Lookout Monument Parking
Range Light Washrooms
Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site is not maintained between Thanksgiving and Victoria Day each year. During this period there is no Parks Canada emergency response.
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