A Summer of Hiking in Nova Scotia

renee's picture
Submitted by renee on

Like Damien mentioned in his last post Milestones, Nova Scotia is not a hiking mecca. Our family has literally laughed our way through the hiking guide book descriptions of the most innocuous trails we've ever hiked.

Hugging the hillside, the trail winds right and left around uncharacteristically tight curves... you will cross a small bridge across a steep stream cascading down the almost vertical cut... the track is narrow and the climb substantial.

We walked this particular trail (Nictaux Falls Rail-Trail if you want to know) in utter disbelief of the guide book description. Never encountering the tight curves, steep stream, vertical cut or substantial climb. Artistic license to the extreme.

The treacherous trail in question

The lack of elevation and challenging trails didn't stop us from getting out. But to be honest, it did dampen our enthusiasm on a fairly regular basis. 

But this post is not a complaining post because there were a lot of good hikes. And really, who wants to listen to a complainer.

Here's a few photos (ok, a lot of photos) of our more memorable hikes from this summer.

Kejimkujik National Park

I wrote about these two hikes earlier this summer. Inland Keji, the main park wasn't really for us. Too flat, but would be great for backcountry camping with a canoe.

Our trip to the Seaside Adjunct was much more rewarding. It is a truly beautiful spot. 

Cape Chignecto

The longest and "most difficult" hike we could find in Nova Scotia. A four day, three night backpacking trip we took in June. We learned a lot on this trip, as Damien shared in Milestones. Some of it, like the horrific bugs, we would like to forget but it's all part of the journey. 

It was a great trail, lots of variety and the ocean views were amazing.

Green Bay-Broad Cove

This is really close to where my parent's live in Lunenburg county. Highly recommend as an easy, yet a bit challenging (stream crossing and marshy areas to navigate) for beginner hikers. Green Bay is a really beautiful little beach for swimming also.

Close to Halifax

Long Lake Provincial Park 

This trail is very accessible to Halifax. Most people don't go very far along and you will have to do a bit of scouting to find the path that goes along the lake. It's worth it though because the crowd thins out and even though you are just kilometers from the city you feel like you're in the wilderness (just ignore the cell towers and highrise on the horizon). The lake is great for swimming. 

Salmon River Trail

Close to Dartmouth and Lake Echo this is a lovely trail through a designated wilderness area. Much more remote than Long Lake, we didn't encounter any other hikers on our day hike there. The trails are well marked and maps can be found at each junction. 

Rail to Trail System

There is an extensive rail-to-trail system in Nova Scotia, part of the Trans Canada Trail System. Score one for the province. But for hiking it's kind of boring, as we discovered at Nictaux Falls.

Thankfully that hike was redeemed by a swimming river at the end. There's a lot of water in Nova Scotia and we tried to work that into every single hike we took.

One week instead of hiking we borrowed my parents bikes (for Damien and I to use) and went biking on a converted rail trail instead. It was fun at first but there was no water, and well... we missed our usual hike. 

Bluff Wilderness Trail

The Bluff Wilderness Trail is a Halifax area treasure. It was enjoyable enough to warrant a repeat visit. Our first visit was a simple day hike around one of the loops (there are a few loops you can do).

We returned the next month for an overnight backpacking trip that was memorable on many levels. Damien wrote about our milestones from that trip, mainly that it was the longest day distances we've ever done. The trip was also memorable because our car was broken into. In the end though, the crisis passed but the good memories of the trip remain.

Cape Blomidon

September brought cooler temps, (blessedly) less bugs, and blackberries! Cape Blomidon is a great day hike on the Bay of Fundy.

Cape Split

The last hike of the summer season was Cape Split. We went last weekend with my parents. The view was truly spectacular and the hike just wonderful. Don't be intimidated by the sign, it is not a stenuous hike.

If You Go

Nova Scotia is a very water beautiful province. It's a great place to have a canoe or kayaks. We have neither.

The most spectacular hikes are those along the water, especially the "Capes". Cape Blomidon (day hiking & camping), Cape Chignecto (backpacking) and Cape Split (day hiking). Cape Blomidon and Cape Split are moderate hikes (by flat lander eastern standards) and would be good for beginners. The views are excellent, the hiking relatively easy. 

It was a good summer. I definitely can't complain.




Kid's backpacks

I have the same question about the kid's backpacks. We are looking at getting packs for our girls and I'm curious to know what your kids carry. Do you like them? Would you recommend something different?

Now Renee, ever since reading

Now Renee, ever since reading your blog I keep thinking I'd love to meet you. When I read you hiked the Bluff trail, that would have been my oportunity! Next time you go, you can park your car in my drive way, not have it broken into, and I can meet you and your cool family! Great post.


When our kids were small, the older two had a GoLite Ion, and youngest had a CiloGear 20L WorkSack. The Ion's are not made anymore, but the Cilogear is, and at 20L we found it was a pretty good pack up until our daughter was 6. After that it started to get a little small volume-wise, so she graduated to an Ion and my older kids moved to a GoLite Jam (in the smallest women's size). Our youngest now uses a BackpackingLight Absaroka pack which is discontinued, while the older two continue to use the Jam. Overall I think the Jam is a really good pack for kids in the 8+ age range.
Another option I have heard is that the ULA Circuit (http://www.ula-equipment.com/circuit.asp) is a good junior pack in the small sizes, but we haven't tried it ourselves.

Tiny Torso's

Hey Damien,
What is the torso and waist size for Brienne? Dae is just so dang dinky. We haven't found a single thing (including the GoLites and the ULA's) that will fit him. I'm thinking I'm going to have to make him a personalized RayWay pack.

We have tried dang near every pack we own (that is over 15) on him. Everyone he has carried isn't terrible, but it slides too low on his butt for him to optimally hike. We need a torso size somewhere around 13 inches. His Osprey Viper is amazing, but can't fit enough stuff in it (volume size like you talked about). Any thoughts would rock. Thanks!


These photos are beautiful! It looks like you guys had a great summer! The hiking in that area sounds amazing!


[...] his favorite medium is pen and markers. Laurent loves the outdoors, nature, and animals. He is a hiker, a lightweight backpacker, and a backcountry skier. His dream is to find a career that incorporates being both a naturalist [...]