It's Easter weekend, and Shannon and I set off to the Economy area from Charlottetown. It was eleven months ago since I had been there hiking the Kenomee Canyon trail, and exploring other waterfalls in the area. This time, we were bound for Devil's Bend trail, an 8 km hike that runs along the Economy River. Our first highlight on route was seeing three deer foraging in the field next to the highway. We stopped for a photo.
Approaching Economy, we paused at the old orientation building before driving up the dirt road leading to the trail head.I set my GPS for the coordinates of Devil's Bend trail head, and watched as the distance ticked down. Bingo! We had arrived. We wern't alone either. The small parking lot had five or six cars. I guess hiking on such a beautiful long weekend wasn't the most original idea. Consequently, I was envisioning the trail packed with hikers. Funny that, as we got our gear ready and turned toward the trail, most of the cars had left!
There was a family of three who were also heading in on the trail at around the same time as us. We held back to let them gain some ground. They wern't carrying any gear, so we figured that they would make faster time. We were carrying full packs mainly as a training exercise for some of our multi day trips planned for the summer.
The trail started out seemingly like an ATV trail. We noticed some snow and ice still in the area, especially on the trail itself. I was wondering how much of the trail would be this wide. That was answered soon enough as the trail ducked down toward a creek. It got narrow very quickly. Some places were still quite slippery with ice from water run off.
Once under way, the first thing I noticed about the route was that there were few trail markers. Once in a while, we'd see waterfall signage, and some confusing distance markers. But for a major part, we were following other people's foot prints when the trail was snow covered, or the well worn trail itself. So my guess is that the trail was obvious enough, but during the winter and spring, things just wern't as easy to find.
One funny thing of note was that family we met at the trail head. Once in a while, we'd hear them or catch a glimpse of them further up the trail. Most of the time, it was the "mother" bitching about the trail. At one point as we passed them, the woman sat down and refused to go any further. Of course I was wondering exactly how she intended to get back to the car. They were about 6 kms in on the trail, so she would need to either backtracking on the rough terrain, or finishing the trail to the falls, and taking the easy way back via the road. Poor family...
At the enscarpment branch of the trail the guy and his daughter caught up to us, and asked how much was left of the trail. Apparently he thought the trail was merely a ten minute affair. Maybe that would explain why his wife was so upset. I showed him the map, and estimated that there was another 40 minutes to go. Hearing that, he ran back to his now "stuck" wife. I was still musing over their situation.
This was my first time on this particular trail. As we hiked along, and enjoyed the look-off views of the river, we were asking "So, this must be the "Bend?" I especially enjoyed the rocky terrain, signs of animal life, and the winding nature of the trail. One very pretty spot has the trail running along the base of a rock wall.
In all, I wouldn't say it was an easy trail, but due to its length, isolation, and linear nature, it certainly would classify as a fun day hike. Economy is a great area for hiking and wilderness camping. The terrain is extreme, and the views, vast. I hope to come back again with some camping gear for a longer stay.
Follow the road to Parsboro arriving at Economy. THere is a small building on the left showing where to find the trailhead. Take the dirt road opposite the building, and look for signs.
Use of your GPS works very well to find the trailhead.
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Posted By: The Big X
- Mon May 10 08:55:00 EDT 2010
UpsideWell constructed trail - rocks and roots are few and far between, making for a very even walking surface. Trail has unique features making it worthwhile: its proximity to the economy river canyon with its numerous look-offs, moss dominates the undergrowth for much of the trail allowing one to see well beyond one's immediate area for the most part, and an impressive waterfall to end it all off.
DownsideThe trail, as has been already said, is linear. To get back to one's car means backtracking the trail or taking the road.
CommentI did this trail on May 8, 2010. Well worth the trip. I highly recommend parking at the first parking lot and hiking from south to north because doing so leaves the best for last: the waterfall. It also affords a more time efficient return to one's vehicle if you take the road back - I did the return trip from the waterfall to the lower (first) parking lot in a little over an hour, which is significantly faster than backtracking the trail.
Although the trail was adequately marked, there are a few junctures where a "first timer" could get confused as to exactly where one is on the trail. A narrow road intersects the trail at one point and one must turn right and follow it shortly before exiting off it to the right to continue on (marked by a sign simply sitting on a rock on the ground, not fastened to anything) - something the maps available for the trail don't clearly illustrating, leading me at one point to fear I had overshot the waterfall area and was then walking up the Kenomee Canyon trail, because the topography got very, very steep on the slope to my right leading down to the river. But I stuck with it and continued to follow the markings and eventually came to the crossing to the escarpment trail meaning I had not overshot the falls afterall. Stick with it and you will be certain you have reached the trail that runs east-west between the upper parking lot and the falls because it is one that is very steep and is covered by a long run of wooden stairs (I say east-west because it appears roughly linear on that axis on the map, even though there are several turns at intersections with unmarked roads/trails on the way out to the upper parking lot that's don't quite show up on the map of the trail).
Posted By: Seascaper
- Wed Apr 28 07:51:46 EDT 2010
UpsideExcellent trail with a variety of elevations and scenic areas especially Economy Falls at the end.
CommentI've done Devil's Bend a few times now - once in the fall and just this past April and I'm still looking forward to doing it again. It's one of my favourites. The last time we were a little pressed for time so we hiked back on the road which cuts the trip down by a few kms and time since it's easier going. In total it took us about 3.5 hrs to do the loop including stoping for photos and admire the falls.
Posted By: Pushkin
- Sat Sep 23 14:20:04 EDT 2006
UpsideThis was one of the most well constructed trails I've hiked on, it looked like in some spots, large chunks of rocky ground higher than the height of a person were cleared away for the trail. There we're a few nice lookoffs over the bend, which is where I turned around as I didn't have alot of time that day.
DownsideI didn't see any downside with this trail, it's in perfect condition. Not exactly challenging as some books say it is, but still a nice hike.