Outdoor Adventure February 14, 2019

Top 10 Halifax Hikes

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 get this – many of them can be accessed within a 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!

No matter what kind of hiking you want to do, throw on some layers, grab some snacks, and enjoy the scenic trails of Halifax!


1 – Musquodoboit Trailway

GETTING THERE: 45 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | 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.

photo: @janickdaigle


2 – Kearney Lake Trails

GETTING THERE: 30 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | TYPE: Forest trail, lakes

The Kearney Lake Trail system offers up plenty of diverse terrain and options for any type of adventurer.

photo: @artinthetemporary


3 – Polly’s Cove

GETTING THERE: 50 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | TYPE: Coastal trail

You’ve probably been to Peggy’s Cove before, and if you haven’t been, you should absolutely go – it’s stunning and SO iconic. From Polly’s Cove you can enjoy a similar view without as many crowds.

This trail is only a few kilometers long, but the scenery is well worth it. The first kilometer is on a well-defined path as you make your way towards the ocean. There you are treated to a great view of the coastline and Peggy’s Cove to your right (so long as it isn’t foggy).

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

photo: @mat.wilton


4 – Bluff Wilderness Trail

GETTING THERE: 30 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | 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.

photo: @hannah_gillett


5 – Duncan’s Cove*

GETTING THERE: 40 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | TYPE: Coastal trail

This is a trail well-loved by locals. It blends all the elements that make living and visiting the East Coast so amazing. The trail hugs the coastline, giving hikers many opportunities to sit and enjoy the view of crashing waves and the ocean.

One last tip, since this trail is located on the coast, dress in layers because even on the nicest of days it can get chilly!

*Important Note: Duncan’s Cove is a nature reserve and the trail is often accessed via private property. Please be considerate to residents and avoid illegally trespassing onto private land – see official boundaries.

photo: @afearofmissingout


6 – Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness Area

GETTING THERE: 40 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult | TYPE: Forest, rocky

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, and 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.
For more info, visit the Blue Mountain Wilderness Trails Association’s website.

photo: @angelanorah


7 – Hemlock Ravine Park

GETTING THERE: 20 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Easy-Moderate | 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.

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.

photo: @jhartlin

8 – Long Lake Provincial Park

GETTING THERE: 15 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Easy-Difficult | 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.

photo: @timothxx


9 – Crowbar Lake Wilderness Trails

GETTING THERE: 40 mins from Downtown Halifax | DIFFICULTY: Difficult | 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.

Getting there: Access to the trail head and parking lot are located on Myra Road in Porters Lake.

photo: @marialongmire

10 – McNabs Island Provincial Park

GETTING THERE: 25 mins from Downtown Halifax to Eastern Passage, then 5-10 mins by boat to McNabs Island

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!

Getting there: The Island is easily accessible by water taxi from downtown Halifax, Dartmouth, Eastern Passage and Purcell’s Cove

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

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