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