Fall is when Nova Scotia’s true colours shine – so this weekend, why not lace up your hiking boots and head out for a hike? Nova Scotia offers no shortage of terrific hikes for everyone from the occasional stroller to the experienced adventurer. Head out this weekend to enjoy the leaves – it won’t be long before the snow flies!
Hiking is great for your heart – and your mind. That’s why Dr. John Chiasson, a family physician in Antigonish, recommends hitting the trails.
“Being out in the woods requires your full presence,” Dr. Chiasson said. “It’s a mindfulness exercise. You don’t think about anything else. You’re looking at the trees, keeping your eyes on the trail. It changes how you feel.” There are many ways to interact with the nature around you, but getting out for a hike is a great first step.
Here are five great places to get that green fix.
During the hot, dry summer of 2016, many of the province’s hiking trails were closed due to concerns around fire. Now they’re open again, including the collection of trails on Keppoch Mountain, near Antigonish. The trails are great for hiking and mountain biking, and there’s an accessible path for people with strollers or wheelchairs, making the trail easy for all ages to use. When the snow flies, consider a trip for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Acadian Trail — Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The Highlands National Park is renowned for its spectacular views, drawing visitors from around the world, and it’s only a few hours drive from most of the province. It’s 365 metres up from the Cheticamp River, and it’s not uncommon to see moose or bear. (Just don’t try to make friends with them.)
Kejimkujik National Park
A sprawling national park in the southern portion of the province, Kejimkujik includes at least 14 hikes of varying lengths. They take in the park’s natural wonders, including hemlocks that were saplings before the French Revolution, as well as sites that reflect the local history of the region, such as the remnants of local gold mines.
If you live within the HRM, the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes is a great destination. The area is rough and truly wild, but it’s well within reach of public transit, and offers hikers unspoiled beauty just minutes from the city. Be sure to leave it as unspoiled as you find it.
Probably the most famous trail in the province, Cape Split boasts legendary views of the Bay of Fundy. The trip out and back takes four to five hours, and so is considered a moderate hike. Watch for the sheer cliffs, pack a picnic and make sure to set out with enough time to get back before dark.
Your turn: Share your favourite local spot for a fall hike in the comment section below.