Snowshoeing Nova Scotia: Part 3

BY BRAD DONALDSON

This winter, we’ll be highlight some of the province’s best trails for snowshoeing. For part three — our final instalment of this series — we’ve focused on Cape Breton and the highlands region. Parts one and two can be found here and here, respectively. 

1. Keppoch Mountain: A popular spot for mountain bikers, Keppoch Mountain’s trail system is also one Nova Scotia’s finest for hiking and snowshoeing. Not far from Antigonish, the area is an outdoor haven with 29 multi-use trails that stretch over 300 acres. For those who don’t have their own, snowshoes available on site for rent.

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Photo by @marsandmyrtle.

2. Fitzpatrick Mountain: Part of the Cape to Cape trail system, Fitzpatrick Mountain’s main, eight-kilometre trail is surrounded by beautiful woods, with babbling brooks trickling through the trees. The trailhead can be found behind the tennis courts in Scotsburn, directly beside the community baseball field. Snowshoers can expect a challenge when tackling this trail, as it meanders over terrain nearing 300 metres above sea-level.

3. Baille Ard Nature Trails: When strolling through the Acadian forests that encompass the Baille Ard Nature Trails, it’s hard to believe you’re just ten minutes from downtown Sydney. As fresh snow crunches under your feet, and a winter breeze rolls through the trees, the chances are you’ll feel more in the middle of the wilderness than anything. This trail system can be explored in a number of ways, as different trails wind their way through the area. And snowshoes can be rented at the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Recreation Office.

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Photo by @homeintheeast.

4. Skyline Trail: There’s something special about enjoying a classic trail under the fresh coat of a new season. The Skyline Trail might just be the poster-child for hiking in Nova Scotia, its views casted over the rugged coastlines of Cape Breton Island. But these views can also be enjoyed during winter, when snow covers the trees and cliffs that make Cape Breton one of the province’s most popular destinations.

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Photo by Tracey MacDonald.

5. Cabot Shores: Cabot Shores is a dazzling escape into the heart of Cape Breton’s wilderness. So when the heavy snows of winter fall, it’s hard to find a better place. This rural resort is built on 55 acres of land, offering dramatic views of the island’s scenery, which includes frigid mountain tops and frozen waterfalls.

*Note: While snowshoeing, please be respectful and mindful of other trail users. You may notice trails that are not multi-purposed, and specifically groomed for cross country skiing. In this instance, we ask you to not damage the hard work that goes into grooming and enjoy responsibly.

**Cover photo by Hilary Hendsbee.

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Snowshoeing Nova Scotia: Part Two

by Brad Donaldson

This winter we’ll be highlighting some of the province’s best trails for snowshoeing. In part two, we bring our attention to mainland Nova Scotia, dialling in on some shining gems of our province’s rural areas.

1. Rogart Mountain: The trek to the top of Rogart Mountain (344 metres) seems to have it all—scenic views, challenging terrain, babbling brooks, and even a waterfall. Beginning behind the Sugar Moon Farm Earltown, the 6.2 km trail is lined by a beautiful forest, highlighted by the many maple trees that happen to be the farm’s source for their famous maple syrup. It’s also worth noting that Sugar Moon Farm has snowshoes for rent.

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Photo by Alyssa Walsh

2. Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park: Located roughly 20 minutes outside of Yarmouth, Ellenwood is a gorgeous multi-purpose park. An established summer oasis, the group behind Friends of Ellenwood have recently turned their efforts towards creating a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. For snowshoers, there is a designated, 2-km loop to explore. But be sure you’re on the right one, as other trails are for cross-country skiing only. There are a few options for snowshoe rentals in the area.

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Photo by Christine Sharp

3. Victoria Park: Stretching over 1,000 acres, Victoria Park in Truro offers visitors one of the most unique outdoor experiences in the province. With a sprawling trail system traveling through deep, picturesque gorges, the aged and rugged green space is the ideal spot for snowshoeing. For winter adventurers, it’s a must-do. As far as snowshoe rentals go in Truro, there are plenty of choices.

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Photo by Katherine MacNeil

4. Acacia Valley Trail: This trail follows the Acacia Brook and can be enjoyed by all level of hikers and snowshoers. Only a short drive from Digby, the loop (which begins just off the Mill Road) is just two kilometres long. You will find picnic tables along the hike and a viewing deck over a small waterfall where the trail begins to loop back. For this area of the province, click here for a list of snowshoe renters.

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Photo by Jonathan Riley

5. Five Islands Provincial Park: Despite shutting down their main facilities for winter, Five Islands Provincial Park still encourages activities during the frigid months. By ploughing the main road, winter enthusiasts are able to access the park’s trail system, starting at the Economy Mountain Trail. At over 200 metres tall, summiting Economy Mountain gives visitors stunning views of the area and a chance to connect to other trails in the park. If you’re looking to rent snowshoes is this area of the province, contact the Parrsboro Recreation Department.

*Note: While snowshoeing, please be respectful and mindful of other trail users. You may notice trails that are not multi-purposed, and specifically groomed for cross country skiing. In this instance, we ask you to not damage the hard work that goes into grooming and enjoy responsibly.

**Cover photo by Jonathan Riley

Franey in the Fall

by Brad Donaldson

 

I thought it might be too late, that when I finally got up to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to see the leaves in all their seasonal glory there’d be none left. But luckily I was terribly, terribly wrong Continue reading “Franey in the Fall”

The McLachlan Bothy: A Community Build

By Brad Donaldson

As some readers may know, last year I followed the revealing of the Doris and Jack McLachlan Bothy.

The bothy stands on Six Mile Brook Trail—a trail that is part of the Cape to Cape trail system—and was constructed by community volunteers and a number of high school students in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board Continue reading “The McLachlan Bothy: A Community Build”