It’s fall and what better time to get outdoors and take in all the breathtaking beauty of nature! The North Shore of Nova Scotia has some great hiking trails to do just that. We’ve compiled a list of trails that have a variety of terrains. There’s one for every fitness level – some are very hilly while others are basically flat. Check them out and let us know which one you think is best!

Pictou County

Durham Hill Trail

Voyage through shady forests, open fields, along tranquil brooks and discover the villages of Scotsburn, where the recipe for ice cream was perfected, and Durham, where the farmers have an unrivaled reputation for growing delicious strawberries.

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Fitzpatrick Mountain Trail

The trail access point (N45 36.762 W62 54.365) in the village of Millbrook is on the New Road which is a gravel road alongside the Four Mile Brook; i.e. about one kilometre down this gravel road from its starting point at the intersection with the Millsville Road. There is a sign with the Cape to Cape Trail logo located at the side of the New Road on the bank above the Four Mile Brook. There is a parking place across the road in an old gravel pit.

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Jitney Trail

Jitney Trail north shore nova scotia

The Jitney Trail (also known as the Trans Canda Trail) begins along the waterfront in Pictou and follows the abandoned rail line west around Norway Point and under the causeway to Browns Point. From the parking area, the paved, 5 to 7-foot wide trail runs along the shoreline of Pictou Harbour. This paved area is excellent for wheelchairs, bicycles, rollerblades, and stroller use.

Norway Point also has interpretive signs which provide information on the surrounding land and sea. There are a number of rest stations in this area equipped with benches, picnic tables, and garbage cans. Just beyond Norway Point, the trail turns to gravel. The paved trail exits at the seniors’ home on the bluff. From this point, you can continue to walk under the Pictou Causeway (Hwy 106), and keep right onto a wide trail (enter between two posts) which cuts through a mixed forest to Browns Point. This is an open picnic area complete with tables, garbage cans and ponds. This area is used as an outside rink during winter months. This is the official end of the Jitney Trail. The main trail continues across Nova Scotia as the Trans Canada Trail.

Directions: From the Pictou rotary, take the Pictou exit, and follow the West River Road into town. The road will change names to Water Street 1km from the rotary. Continue on Water Street (one-way) to Tim Hortons on the corner of Water Street and South Market Streets. Turn right here, and park at the bottom of South Market Street. The trail begins at the water’s edge to the right of the parking lot.

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Juniper Head Trail

Juniper Head Trail, 3.3 km long, starts on the Glen Road off Route 4 in Dalhousie Mountain, Pictou County. It is set in an immature spruce wood and an old sugar maple and yellow birch wood and has many old forest lichens. It passes old skidder roads, brooks, and ends at Juniper Brook and the Gully Lake Trail. It is the most level of the CE-TS trails.

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Monroes Island Trail

Monroes Island Trail north shore nova scotia

Munroes Island is a 10 km return hike up one side of the island, around its tip, then back down the same trail.

The walk along the island accesses sandy beaches, rocky shoreline, tidal salt marshes, and is an ideal spot to view shorebirds. Other activities may include supervised swimming in the summer and rock/shell collecting. The Island is to become a national protected zone.

The trail is accessible to walkers and hikers from the Provincial Park campground, where camping, picnic, and beach facilities are all available.

Directions: From Highway 104 take exit #22 onto Highway 106. Continue through rotary toward Caribou Ferry. Take last exit before PEI after 7 km toward Caribou Island Provincial Park. 3 km down the unnumbered road.

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walking & hiking

Trans Canada Trail

Whether you are looking for a place to hike, cycle, paddle, ride, cross-country ski or snowmobile, you can find an experience that resonates with you. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways. True to its name, The Great Trail embodies the vastness of our terrain and the diversity of our people.

Click here to learn more about the Trans Canada Trail and view maps

Colchester County

Earltown Lake and Portage Trail

Earltown Lake and Portage Trail, 6.1 km long, starting on highway 311, about 1 km south of Earltown Village, is set in a towering sugar maple and yellow birch wood, with hemlock and red spruce, a former Christmas tree farm, and flora associated with those woods. The trail travels through raspberry patches, beside 2 wilderness lakes, on 8 board walks / bridges, near an old stone bridge, and above the headwaters of the Salmon River. The part of this trail near the lakes is relatively level. One can also access this trail from Taylor Lake Road and the Kemptown Road.

Directions and info

Gully Lake Trail

Gully Lake Trail, 10.0 km long, begins about 4 km from the Gully Lake Wilderness trail head or 1.5 km from the Van der Veen Road entry point. The trail has sugar maple, red spruce and white spruce woods, and a huge variety of lichens, mosses, and wildflowers – testament to the lack of pollution in the protected wilderness area. The trail passes many old logging camp sites, a Salmon River log brow, Small Pox clearing, a wilderness lake, many brooks, and 4 waterfalls. Its distance makes it the most challenging of CE-TS trails.

Directions and info

Rogart Mountain Trail

Rogart Mountain Trail, 6.2 km. long, starting at Sugar Moon Farm, wanders through white spruce woods, stands of sugar maple and yellow birch, and, at its highest points, gnarly dwarf beech and old growth forest lichens. The trail passes old stone walls, 3 brooks, 4 look-offs, Jane’s waterfalls, 3 foundations, and 17 interpretive points. Though this trail has many steep climbs, the falls can be accessed on flat terrain by doing a shorter trip counter clockwise.

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Sandy Cope Trail

Sandy Cope Trail, named for a Mi’kmaq hunting guide born in 1853, is 6.3 km long and starts 1.5 km from Gully Lake Wilderness Trail Head. The trail is set in white spruce, maple, and red spruce woods, with a great variety of wildflowers, mosses, and lichens. The trail passes old mill sites, Donald’s Falls, Sandy Cope Lake, Widow Hatton’s Ridge, and crosses two early roads. The trail rolls very lightly and should be relatively easy on snowshoes.

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Willard Kitchener MacDonald Trail

Willard Kitchener MacDonald Trail, named for the Hermit of Gully Lake, is 2.7 km long and starts about 2 km from Gully Lake Wilderness Trail head. Willard’s Trail rolls gently through an old growth sugar maple and yellow birch woods, its ground covered in evergreen wood fern and Christmas fern. Passing over many former log sledding roads, the trail starts near Donald’s Falls and ends at Meguma Falls which is on the earthquake fault line where the continental plates of Meguma and Avalon collided 380 million years ago.

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Yellow Birch Trail

The Yellow Birch Trail is the first trail at the Kemptown Road Trail head and connects to the Portage trail. The trail takes you through a hardwood forest with wild flowers, mosses,lichens and bridges to cross small brooks. This trail gives you the pleasure of entering the wilderness forest immediately from the parking lot for a short hike or a great connector to the other trails for those doing a longer hike.

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Cumberland County

Pugwash Estuary Trail

Pugwash estuary trail north shore nova scotia

The Pugwash Estuary extends from the Pugwash Harbour to Conns Mills. Beyond Conns Mills there is no tidal flow and Pugwash River stretches about 16 km to Mahoney’s Corner. ‘Friends of the Pugwash Estuary (FOPE)’ has constructed the beginning of a new trail system – The Pugwash Peace Trail System.  There are currently two trails for you to hike, both along the beautiful shores of the Pugwash Estuary and River.

2169 Crowley Rd, Pugwash

Click here for Google Map directions

Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area Trail

The northern portion of this loop (the riverside) transverses a flat, hard-surfaced dike, with a view of the river and the marsh. There are numerous bird watching opportunities along the way, including a view blind at 1150 meters. The southern portion of the loop passes through mixed woods with some sections predominated by spruce and other sections predominated by young hardwoods. The single-track, rooty path passes through wet stretches, and travelers can expect to see wild roses, pheasants and green undergrowth.

Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area is a shared use area. Hunting, fishing, and trapping (by humane methods) are permitted during the scheduled seasons. The area is a favorite area for waterfowl hunters during the fall. The wearing of blaze orange during hunting seasons is strongly advised.

Directions: From Pugwash drive 9.7km toward Tatamagouche on highway #6. Approximately 2km past the highway #368 turn-off (on your right) turn left onto Aboiteau Road. There is a large white park sign on your left at the corner of Highway #6 and Aboiteau Road. A parking area is on the left 1.2 km down this bumpy road (before the Wallace River), and the trail entrance/exit is by the signs at the western end of the parking lot. The boundary of the wildlife area is marked with blue signs depicting a “loon”.

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walking, hiking, cross country skiing

For more things to do on the north shore click here

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