Top 5 Hikes in Halifax

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The best part about hiking on vacation is the unique and untouched sites you’ll see!  And good news, hiking in the Halifax region can be enjoyed all year round! There are some great trails within a 30-minute drive of downtown Halifax. Some trails run along lakes, ocean, wooded areas and coves, while others offer breathtaking views and vistas.

Either way, put on some layers to keep you warm, grab some snacks and enjoy the scenic trails of Halifax!

Here are my top 5 hikes within 30 minutes of downtown Halifax.

5. Musquodoboit Trailway
This trail system is perfect for any type of hiking and wilderness adventure. The main trail starts near the Railway Museum in Musquodoboit, and is a well groomed trail suitable for bikes and strollers. From this trail, you can choose your own adventure, venturing off into several looped trails that climb up and provide stunning views of the Musquodoboit River and surrounding areas.

This area is also known for climbing, with large rock faces and boulders. The main loop is the Admiral Lake Loop, which starts 1.7km into the main trail and loops around for 5km before returning to the main trail again. The terrain can be slightly tricky, but nothing too difficult. When you get to the “look off” (you will know!) pause and take in the awesome 180 degree views of the White Lake Wilderness Area. Be sure to pack lots of snacks and water.

For more info, visit the Musquodoboit Trailways Association.

4. Kearney Lake Trails
Located right at the entrance to the Maskwa Aquatic Club, the Kearney Lake Trail system offers up plenty of diverse terrain and options for any type of adventurer. You can go for a short hike along Kearney Lake (on the Maskwa Trail), or you can go into the woods and do a 2.5km loop around the Charles Lake Trail.

You can also do a longer hike that offers stunning views if you head to the Fox Lake look off (6km return). Either way, if you haven’t been there before you will probably be surprised with how beautiful the trails are. There are some swampy and boggy areas, so be sure to have proper footwear. The trail is poorly marked once you get inside, so just be aware of your surroundings. But make it your goal to go to Fox Lake, it is worth it!

Getting there: You can park in the parking lot right next to the Maskwa Aquatic Club.

3. Polly’s Cove
You’ve probably been to Peggy’s Cove before (if you haven’t been there, you should go. It is beautiful), Polly’s Cove is where you get to enjoy a similar view without as many crowds. This trail is only a few kilometres long, but the scenery is well worth it. The first kilometre is on a well-defined path as you make your way to the ocean. Then you are treated to a great view of the coastline and Peggy’s Cove to your right (so long as it isn’t foggy). After you take in the 360 views,you can make your way closer to the water and hike the coastline. The trails have no signage, but you will be able to tell where you can and can’t walk. As you approach the ocean, just be careful of the crashing waves and don’t get too close to the action! Find a spot to sit back and relax.

Getting there: There are no signs to mark the trail head. However, there is  a small parking lot big enough for 3-4 cars.

2. Bluff Wilderness Trail
Many people from Halifax have never even heard of the Bluff Wilderness Trail, so it’s perfect for travellers looking for hidden treasures. Located just 15 minutes from downtown behind the bustling Bayers Lake Business Park, this trail is one of the most diverse inland trails in the province. There are four loops within the trail system and it totals over 30km. The trails run through ecologically sensitive barrens and woodlands with a variety of trees such as red maple, spruce and oak. The trails go mostly through wooded areas, with many high peaks allowing for amazing vistas of the surrounding lakes. You could spend all day, or just a few hours, exploring this area. Pack lots of snacks and water and enjoy all that this trail has to offer!

For more info, visit the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization.

1. Duncan’s Cove
This is one of my favourite hikes in all of Nova Scotia! It blends all the elements that make living and visiting the East Coast so amazing. Situated at the entrance of the Halifax Harbour, Duncan’s Cove played a big role in protecting the harbour during WWII. There is still evidence of that along the trail, with several bunkers to explore.

The trail hugs the coastline, giving you many opportunities to sit and enjoy the view of crashing waves and the ocean. On most days you will see plenty of seals sunbathing on rocks or playing in the waves. It’s also not uncommon to see porpoises or even pilot whales! The trail is about 7km return (out and back) and is not too challenging, with just a few uphill sections and rolling hills. You can also explore the rocks on the shoreline, but be careful as they can be slippery. The trail is in good shape and is maintained by the locals, so please respect the area and help keep the trail clean. One last tip, since this is on the coast, dress in layers because even on the nicest of days it will be chilly! The trail also gets wet easily, so bring waterproof shoes.

How to get there: As you turn onto Duncan’s Cove Road, you will eventually see a small parking lot on the left side of the road (before entering the village). Park there and start walking toward the village. Before you get to the village, you will see a road on your right. Take that road and loop around the cove until you see a giant, out-of-place white house on the hill. Before you reach the “house”, walk to the left (you will see a white sign that used to say “trail this way”). Follow the trail as it heads down to the ocean! Enjoy!

Happy hiking!