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Five Islands Lighthouse Trail


Five Islands Lighthouse Trail

Quick Facts

Difficulty wheelchair
Trail Type loop
Distance 1 km
Estimated Time 20 minutes
Surface Type crushed rock, grass
Elevation Change 5 meters
Features lighthouse, coastal views
Trail Markers none but easy to follow
Scenery Rating beautiful
Maintenance Rating well maintained
Cell Reception medium
Dog Friendly on a leash
Fees none


Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia Book



The Five Island Lighthouse is surrounded by a field that provides unobscured views of the five jagged islands just off shore. Continue along the cliff tops and enjoy the views from several benches. Continue through a small patch of trees along the edge of the field. The trees were decorated with Christmas bulbs when we were there in May.


Travel through Economy on Route 2 and past the road to Five Islands Provincial Park. Drive another 5.4 km past the park road and turn left onto Broderick Lane. At the end of the road you will find a parking lot on the left.

From the Sign

The Five Islands Lighthouse

In JULY 1913 the provincial government purchased 2,132 acres of land at Sand Point, from David Corbett for the purpose of building a lighthouse. This structure was completed and the light to guide mariners up and down Minas Basin was lit for the first time in 1914. For many years the light used kerosene oil. It was lit from the second week in April (depending on ice in the bay) until the last day of December.

The first light keeper was Cyrus MacBurnie. After his death in 1925 he was succeeded by his son John. In the fall of 1963 Roland Marsh was appointed Lighthouse Keeper. Shortly before this the big oil lamp was removed and a light bulb system installed. This was powered by heavy duty batteries. This method continued until 1967 when electricity finally came to Sand Point. With the installation of the new system, the light which for years was natural colour, was change to a red light.

The lighthouse was officially closed by the Coast Guard in 1993.

In 1996 the lighthouse was sold to the County of Colchester and leased to the Five Islands Lighthouse Preservation Society.

The frost, weather and tides cause a portion of the bank to wash away every year and the lighthouse has been moved back four times. The last time was in 2008 when it was moved 7km West to its current location. The last move was due to the sale of the land.

From the Sign

Ship Building

It was natural that the early settlers saw the possibilities of ship building as all varieties of native virgin timber grew right on the waters edge. Nearly every village had one or more ship yards and Five Islands was no exception.

The first ships were built in North River with another yard located near East River.

There was a block factory and a paint company located in North River that provided blocks for the rigging and the paint necessary for the industry.

In the early days all that was necessary to start a ship yard was skilled leadership and some ordinary hired labour along with a sheltered beach and sufficient water depth at high tide to float the ships.

The timber wass often cut in winter and hauled to the site with oxen. Here some of it was squared with a broad axe after which two men with an "up and down saw" made it into planks. The work was hard and time consuming.

After the vessel was completed the launching ways were made ready. The time of launching was set for the day of the highest tide. This was a big event and everyone came from miles around. The Captain and mate were there to take over the ship. Just before she slipped down the ways she was christened.

The last ship that was built in Five Islands was the "King David" in 1910.

Trail Last Hiked: May 20, 2018.

Page Last Updated: November 12 2018.