Halifax isn’t just about its downtown core, amazing events, unique shopping, or its world-class culinary scene (although let’s be honest, those are pretty fantastic too). The Halifax region is home to some incredible hiking trails, and many of them can be accessed within a short 30-minute drive from downtown Halifax.
The variety of landscapes, scenery and terrain includes lakeside trails, coastal cliffs, serene woodland and secluded coves, and to top it all off, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views.
So throw on some layers, grab some snacks, and get out on the scenic trails of Halifax. No matter what kind of hike you’re looking for, the Halifax region has a hike for you.
1. The Musquodoboit Trailway
Musquodoboit Harbour, Eastern Shore | ~45 mins drive from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Former railway
This trail begins near the Musquodoboit Railway Museum, and is well-groomed and 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.
The main loop is the Admiral Lake Loop, which starts 2.2 km into the main trail and loops around for 5.2 km before returning to the main trail again. When you get to the “look off” – trust us, you’ll know! – pause and take in the awesome 180-degree views of the White Lake Wilderness Area.
For more info, visit the Musquodoboit Trailways Association.
2. Kearney Lake Trails
Bedford-Sackville | ~30 mins drive from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Forest trail, lakes
The Kearney Lake Trail system offers up plenty of diverse terrain and options for any type of adventurer.
3. Pennant Point Trail at Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park
Sambro Creek, Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region | ~40 mins drive from Downtown Halifax
DIFFICULTY: Easy – Moderate
TYPE: Coastal trail
This breathtaking 11 km trail features three beautiful white-sand beaches. The first stretch is an easy walk along boardwalks, suitable for all abilities. Once you pass the second beach, it becomes more of a wilderness trail, best for experienced hikers.
4. Bluff Wilderness Trail
Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region | ~25-30 mins from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Forest trail, lakes
Many people from Halifax have never even heard of the Bluff Wilderness Trail, so it’s perfect for travelers looking for hidden gems!
This trail is one of the most diverse inland trails in the province. There are four loops within the trail system, totaling over 30 km. 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.
For more info, visit the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization.
5. Salt Marsh Trail
Eastern Shore | 25 mins from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Coastal trail
One of the more popular hiking trail in the area, Cole Harbour’s Salt Marsh Trail is a great spot for hikers looking for a straightforward hike with beautiful views. Visitors can experience a beautiful nine km across the water, is perhaps the most popular in the area.
Take a deep breath of fresh ocean air and feel like you’re walking on water when enjoying the beautiful scenery that this trail overlooks.
6. Hemlock Ravine Park
Bedford-Sackville | ~20 mins drive from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Ravine, forest
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!
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.
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.
7. Long Lake Provincial Park
Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region | ~15 mins from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Lakeside trail, forest
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 or gorgeous hikes at any time of the year!
The area is easily accessible from downtown Halifax by car or bus, with multiple access points and plenty of clearly distinguished trails and paths.
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.
For more information, check out the Long Lake Provincial Park Association.
8. Crowbar Lake Wilderness Trails
Porter’s Lake, Eastern Shore | ~40 mins drive from Downtown Halifax
TYPE: Forest trail
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 provide 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.
Access to the trail head and parking lot are located on Myra Road in Porters Lake.
9. McNabs Island Provincial Park
GETTING THERE: 25 mins from Downtown Halifax to Eastern Passage, then 5-10 mins by boat to McNabs Island. The Island is easily accessible by water taxi from downtown Halifax, Dartmouth, Eastern Passage, and Purcell’s Cove.
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!
10. Taylor Head Provincial Park
Spry Bay, Eastern Shore | ~1hr 30min drive from Downtown Halifax
Nestled in the Eastern Shore’s 100 Wild islands, Taylor Head Provincial Park is a natural environment park. The Park occupies a rugged wind-swept peninsula jutting 6.5km into the Atlantic Ocean in Spry Bay.
The park provides spectacular views and unspoiled coastline.
Thank you to Halifax Trails for being a fantastic resource for this blog. See an exhaustive and complete list of local hiking trails at halifaxtrails.ca
Originally published February 2019