Best Hiking Trails Near Halifax
1. BLT Trail
You’ll need to bring your own sandwiches because this BLT stands for Beechville Lakeside Timberlea, the three HRM towns the trail passes through. The BLT boasts 13 kilometres of conveniently located trails on the former rail line. This also means well-marked, easy to follow, and mostly flat terrain good for hikers and walkers of all experiences. Several entrances and exits along the way, with accessible parking nearby. The BLT Trail is perfect if you don’t want to venture too far to feel like you’re in the middle of the forest.
2. Musquodoboit Trailway
This network of trails has it all. Set up along the decommissioned trailway that spans 14.5 kilometres, the graveled trail is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride. Take in views of the Musquodoboit River and the many lakes that surround the area. There are many rest spots along the way, and a washroom every few kilometres. For the more adventurous, there are several loops off of the main trailway that can take you high up along the ridges overlooking the valley. The Bayer Lake Loop will take you an hour to complete, but you can easily spend a whole day exploring the Admiral Lake Loop. Don’t forget to stop by Jessie’s Diner for lunch! If you plan to get off the main gravelled path, plenty of water and good shoes are recommended. You’ll be doing a lot of climbing.
3. Dingle Park (Or, the Sir Sanford Fleming Park, if you’re feeling fancy)
Just off Purcell’’s Cove Road in Halifax, this waterfront urban park has so many features to keep you coming back. At 95 acres, there are countless hidden nooks and crannies to explore. Take one of the walking trails from the Frog Pond to the Northwest Arm, bring your bike and zip along the seawall walkway, or have a picnic on the beach. There are opportunities for bird watching, Dingle-climbing, and even some swimming (the water is regularly tested, worry not!). This park is also on city bus routes and one of the more easily accessible parks within HRM. There are also washrooms and, yes, cell phone service throughout the park, so you can get those shots on Instagram.
4. Salt Marsh Trail
Located in Cole Harbour just a few minutes from Dartmouth, the Salt Marsh Trail is one of the most popular in the area. The flat, graveled terrain is perfect for biking, for families with kids and strollers, is wheelchair friendly, and for anyone looking for an easy walk with a beautiful panoramic view of the salt marsh. If you are hoping for a longer bike ride, this trail section of approximately 9 kilometres is also connected to the Shearwater Flyer (8 km) and the Atlantic View Trails (10 km). For nature lovers, it is also a great place to bring some binoculars and spy on the wildlife: word on the trail is that you can find 90 bird, 12 mammal, and 6 reptile species in the wetlands habitat.
5. Admiral Cove Park
This hike is one of the shortest on our list at under 2 kilometres, but it offers some impressive vistas for those who want the payoff of a long hike without the… long hike! While the trail is short, the terrain is uneven and is also often used for rock climbing, so be warned! Once you’ve gotten to the top, you can expect an unparalleled view of the Bedford Basin. Scale even higher to the Eagle Rock look-off and you’ll feel like you’re in the sky. Besides the marked loop, there are many footpaths and unofficial trails to explore in the 29 hectare park. For folks without access to a vehicle, you can get to the park on several bus routes. It’s the perfect place for a nature getaway while not straying too far from the city.
6. Polly Cove
Peggy’s slightly lesser known sister Polly is not to be forgotten! Polly Cove can be found just off Prospect Rd – closer to Halifax than Peggy’s Cove, and with much smaller crowds. There are many natural, rugged trails throughout the area, with many breathtaking views. The trails are not marked, but they are easy to follow and discover some hidden spots. You might even find a cave and an old foundation from a WWII radar station. Bring good shoes for this spot, as the terrain is rocky and uneven. As always, stay off the wet rocks!
7. Crowbar Lake Trail
The Crowbar Lake Trail is one of our very favourite nature escapes near Halifax. This is mostly for seasoned hikers as the terrain and elevation are guaranteed to have you sweating! This network of trails is located in Porters Lake and has almost 20 kilometres of paths to explore through the granite ridge landscape. There are five different trails and four trail loops in the area – Porters Lake Loop (2.5 km), Spriggs Brook Trail (5 km), West Lake Loop (4.5 km), and Salmon River Loop (5.5 km). You can easily spent a full day on each one, taking in the views at one of many lookoffs, or stopping for a dip in one of many lakes. Some of the trails could be better marked, and you won’t get cell reception in most places, so arrive prepared with lots of water and maybe even a GPS device if you don’t have a great sense of direction!