Hiking is the perfect way to discover why Halifax is not only an amazing city where lakes, trails and scenic coastal walks are just minutes from the bustling downtown core. You’re not going to want to miss exploring this gorgeous region!
We’ve put together a list of 5 HIKES you need to experience in Halifax. Most of the hikes listed below are easy to moderate, so it’s not necessary to be an experienced hiker to enjoy them! With that being said, remember that it’s always smart to keep a few things in mind when you’re planning a hiking excursion: wear sturdy shoes, carry plenty of drinking water, and use sun protection.
1 – Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness Area 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Halifax Unique in its beauty, depth, geography and history, Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness Area is Halifax’s newest and most extensive wilderness protection project. It’s also one of the largest urban park areas in Canada. Blue Mountain Birch Cove includes 1,767 hectares of forests, barrens and interconnected lakes and wetlands. At the top of Blue Mountain, hikers will be rewarded with a 360-degree panoramic view that looks out all the way to St. Margaret’s Bay! Getting there: From Susie’s Lake behind the Kent Building Supplies store in Bayers Lake or From the Maskwa Aquatic Club – park in the lot at the end of Saskatoon Drive
2. Hemlock Ravine Park 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Halifax Hemlock Ravine Park is a hidden gem located just a short drive downtown Halifax. Visitors to the park will enjoy 4 km of looped trails, one of which is available for off-leash dog walking. The park gets its name from its ravine (Hemlock Ravine), which contains hemlock trees that are more than 300 years old and over 80 feet tall! There is also plenty of parking and picnic tables available, making Hemlock Ravine Park the perfect place for a post-hike lunch, right next to the park’s famous heart shaped pond. Yup, you read that correctly—there’s a heart shaped pond! In the late 1780s, Nova Scotia’s lieutenant governor John Wentworth resided in the area that is now Hemlock Ravine Park. He lent his country house to Prince Edward in 1794, who had the grounds immaculately landscaped and built several decorative garden buildings. The oval pond, which Prince Edward had built, was made to resemble the shape of a heart in 1869 when one of his grandsons came to visit. Getting there: There is a parking lot available at Kent Avenue or on Julie’s Walk. You can also take the Bus Routes 80, 81, 82 or 90 to Kent Avenue on Bedford Highway from Downtown Halifax.
3. Long Lake Provincial Park 10 minutes’ drive from downtown Halifax Long Lake Provincial Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Halifax. Its great hiking trails, as well as the pristine lake, are perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying some summer swimming! The area is easily accessible from downtown Halifax by car or bus, with multiple access points and plenty of clearly distinguished trails and paths. One of the best ways to enjoy the park is to follow the Lakeview Trail’s 5 km loop, which circles around Witherod Lake. This is a newly developed trail, and with the rest of the park largely unmarked, it’ll add a little extra adventure to your hike. Although there are plenty of off-the-trail paths, hiking at Long Lake is still considered appropriate for hikers of moderate skill-level. That said, always be sure you’re tracking where you’re going, especially when your exploration takes you into wooded areas away from the shoreline. Getting there: The main access points with parking areas are off of St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and a newer access point is located off of Northwest Arm Drive.
4. Crowbar Lake Wilderness Trails 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Halifax A little further from downtown Halifax than our previously mentioned hikes; Crowbar Lake Wilderness Trails is well worth the 40-minute drive east of downtown Halifax. The trails are part of the protected Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area; a rugged wilderness of lakes, rivers, high granite ridges and barren hills with pockets of old-growth pine and hemlock trees, and so more! Crowbar Lake Wilderness Trails provides hikers with over 16 km of wilderness trails arranged in a number of loops, offering visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenic vistas replete with unspoiled wilderness. Be sure not to miss the breathtaking “Crow’s Nest” viewpoint. Getting there: Access to the trailhead and parking lot are located on Myra Road in Porters Lake.
5. McNabs Island Provincial Park Approximately 25 minutes by boat from downtown Halifax, or 10 minutes by boat from Eastern Passage. McNabs Island is located at the entrance to the Halifax Harbour. The island provides visitors with 22 km of hiking trails to explore, as well as a variety of forested and coastal landscapes, and fascinating historic sites. It’s the perfect day-trip to escape the busy city; you’ll feel as if you’re thousands of miles away, when really you’re in the heart of it all! Make the most of your visit to McNabs Island with a knowledgeable island guide on a Forts and Folklore tour. Getting there: The Island is easily accessible by water taxi from downtown Halifax, Dartmouth, Eastern Passage and Purcell’s Cove.
Did you miss Part 1 of our Top Hiking Trails in Halifax? Check it out here and discover more outdoor adventures to get you out and about!