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

Snowshoeing Grows with Hike Series

Now that winter is upon us, rather than hibernate indoors, Hike NS says to get out and try snowshoeing. You’ll be in good company, since everyone seems to be trying it. Hike Nova Scotia and its partners across the province are offering the 2018 Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike Series from January to March.

Quotes

“Snowshoeing is probably one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in our province,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “We’ve had the highest number of events registered across the province this season, even surpassing our fall hike series. Last year, people came out in droves.”

Event Details

Date: January 13 to March 17, 2018

Location: The full schedule with registration details and directions is found at www.hikenovascotia.ca. Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. Hikes are free or low-cost and pre-registration is required​ unless otherwise indicated. Over 65 hikes are listed by date and region. Hikes include the following regions:

  • Cape Breton (Cape Breton Island)
  • Highland (Guysborough County, Antigonish County, Pictou County)
  • Fundy (Municipality of East Hants, Cumberland County, Colchester County)
  • Annapolis Valley (Municipalities of Hants West and Clare, Counties of Digby, Annapolis and Kings)
  • South Shore (Counties of Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg and District of Argyle)
  • Halifax (Halifax Regional Municipality)

Fast Facts

  • Hike NS and 38 host organizations partnered up to offer the guided snowshoeing series in January, February and March.
  • Over 65 snowshoe hikes are scheduled province-wide.
  • Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. Hikes are free or low-cost and pre-registration is required​ unless otherwise indicated.
  • Hike NS thanks its local partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as Goose Lane Editions and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for their support.
  • Wondering where to find snowshoes? Not to worry, since you can easily find snowshoes to borrow, rent or buy using Hike NS’s online guide, with 75 listings. A growing number of municipalities, businesses and organizations are buying sets of snowshoes to lend or rent. There are at least 55 venues listed where you can borrow them for free.
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

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Contact

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia

(902) 932-6902

Email

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Snowshoeing Nova Scotia: Part One

by Brad Donaldson

This winter we’ll be highlighting some of the province’s best trails for snowshoeing. In part one, we begin in central Nova Scotia, listing some of our favourites in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).

1. Shubie Park: Nestled between Lake Micmac and Lake Charles, Shubie Park offers city dwellers a chance to get outside without having to travel far. Commonly known for kayaking and canoeing, the park is also a place for walking, camping, and snowshoeing. Within the 40-acre urban park are three main trails that loop around lakes, over canals, and under towering trees making for a full day of adventure.

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2. Oakfield Provincial Park: One of the many provincial parks found in the HRM, Oakfield is on the shores of Grand Lake, just off Highway 2 (near Fall River). As a day-use park, the area is filled with intertwining trails that funnel down to the lake through a beautiful hardwood forest.

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3. Salt Marsh Trail: Moving through the wetlands of Eastern Passage, Cole Harbour, and Lawrencetown is the Salt Marsh Trail. The 6.5 kilometre trail (one way) is long, flat, and gravelled, making it perfect for snowshoeing. Part of the Trans Canada Trail, and formed from the old Musquodoboit Railway, the trail is popular place for wildlife sightingso keep your eyes peeled!

4. Point Pleasant Park: Found at the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula, Point Pleasant is a perfect escape for those who might find themselves gridlocked during the cold winter months. Throughout the wooded area are endless, winding routes that wrap around the Atlantic shoreline, offering different levels of elevation and distance. Created in 1866, the park boasts a number of historical monuments commemorating military and navy efforts to see while braving the cold.

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5. Uniacke Estate Museum Park: Once a summer oasis for the family of Richard John Uniacke (a 19th-century Attorney-General), the area has recently been converted for public use. Within the grounds are eight trails that explore the heritage site, travelling  over rivers and along lakes. The trails vary in length and difficulty, and are available for use year round (although the museum and toilet facilities operate on a seasonal bases).

*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.

Snowshoeing Events Reveal Winter Wonders

019If this winter is anything like last year’s, you’ll want to be on snowshoes. That’s the idea behind Hike Nova Scotia’s 2016 slate of Winter Guided Snowshoe Hikes taking place all over the province. Snowshoeing is one way to get out on the trails in winter when your own two legs just won’t cut it.

Maybe it’s trying something new, maybe it’s a trend toward being more active or maybe it’s the pull to get back to nature all year round. Whatever the reason, snowshoeing attracts more people each year.

Quotes:

“This year we have our biggest selection of hikes for folks to try with over 50 guided snowshoe events,” says Janet Barlow, Communications Coordinator with Hike NS.

“We’ve seen an upward trend in the number of events we’ve offered and the number of people coming out since 2011,” Barlow explains. “More and more recreation departments and organizations are lending or renting snowshoes because of this pent up demand.”

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Fast Facts:

  • The hikes are meant to help get more people outside in winter and active on the trails.
  • Hike NS and 28 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the guided snowshoeing series.
  • The series runs from January 10 to March 17.
  • There are 53 snowshoe hikes led by local folks.
  • Participants qualify to win trail prizes.
  • Most hikes are free unless otherwise indicated in the schedule.
  • The full list of dates, times, registration details and directions is found at hikenovascotia.ca. Hikes include the following areas: Cape Breton, Highland (Antigonish and Pictou Counties), Fundy (Cumberland, Colchester and East Hants), Valley (Clare to West Hants), South Shore (Lunenburg County and areas) and Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • Hike NS keeps an online listing of where to borrow, rent or buy snowshoes.
  • Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as NS Trails, Doctors Nova Scotia and the NS Department of Health and Wellness for their support.
  • Hike Nova Scotia encourages and promotes hiking, walking and snowshoeing throughout Nova Scotia.
  • Membership in Hike NS means keeping up-to-date on the latest hiking news and having a say in its many projects.
  • Hike NS is supported by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Photos:

Find photos on Facebook or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

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Share on Social Media:

Facebook
Twitter
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Contact

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 717-4408
Email info@hikenovascotia.ca

 

Snowshoe hikes popular winter activity

If there’s snow this winter, expect to see lots of people on snowshoes. Hike Nova Scotia and 16 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2015 Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike series in January, February and March. There are 35 snowshoe hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.”019

Quotes:

“There’s just something about snowshoeing that brings people out,” says Janet Barlow, Communications Coordinator with Hike Nova Scotia. “Last year, we had about 500 people attended 27 hikes. We have even more hikes scheduled this year and expect even more people to turn out.”

Fast Facts:

  • Hike Nova Scotia and 16 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2015 Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike series.
  • There are 35 snowshoe hikes led by local folks.
  • The series runs from January 10 to March 14.
  • Hikes include the following areas: South Shore, Annapolis Valley, Colchester County, Pictou County, Cape Breton and Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • The full list of events – including hike dates, times, registration details and directions – is found at www.hikenovascotia.ca.
  • Participants qualify to win “trail prizes.”
  • The hikes are meant to help get more people outside in winter and active on our trails.
  • Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as the NS Trails Federation and the NS Department of Health and Wellness for their support.
  • Hike Nova Scotia encourages and promotes hiking, walking and snowshoeing throughout Nova Scotia.
  • Membership in Hike NS means keeping up-to-date on the latest hiking news and having a say in its many projects.
  • Hike NS is supported by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Photos:

Find photos on our Facebook page or request them here.Leslie and Jason Johnston

Social Media:

Share on Facebook
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Contact

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 717-4408
Email

Call for Winter Guided Snowshoe Hikes

Deadline: December 19, 2014019

Once again, Hike NS invites groups across NS to partner with it on delivering winter guided snowshoe hikes in January, February and March of 2015. The purpose of the events is to: 1) get more people in NS hiking and snowshoeing; highlight local trails and increase their use; and 3) promote Hike NS and local trail groups.

If you and your local organization can organize a snowshoe hike, please register your event here by December 19, 2014 for events between January 9 and March 15, 2015. Note that one organization may register only up to five hikes.

Winter 2014 Snowshoe Hike Success

Hike Nova Scotia and 11 host organizations across the province partnered up to offer the 2014 Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike series in January, February and March. A total of 500 people attended 27 hikes led by local folks and participants qualified to win “trail prizes.” Hike NS thanks Take the Roof Off Winter, Backroad Mapbooks and Take It Outside for their donations. We also thank our partners for organizing the hikes on the ground, including:

  • Chester Recreation and Parks
  • District of Lunenburg Recreation
  • Cape to Cape Committee of Pictou County Trails Association
  • New Ross Family Resource Centre
  • Valley Trekkers Volkssport Club
  • West Hants Recreation
  • Cobequid Ecotrails Society
  • Positive Action for Keppoch
  • Ski Ben Eoin
  • Hike the Highlands Society
  • County of Annapolis Recreation Services

Here are some photos from the hikes.

Annapolis County
Annapolis County
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Annapolis County

 

photo
Chester: East River

 

Rogers Hill
Rogers Hill
Quarry Brook
Quarry Brook
Quarry Brook trail prize winners
Quarry Brook trail prize winners
Keppoch
Keppoch
Big Tancook Island
Big Tancook Island
New Ross
New Ross
Millsville
Millsville
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Beaver Mountain
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Gully Lake

If You’re not a Bear, You Shouldn’t be Hibernating!

By Renée Hartleib

Photo2-smallBrian Orde has always been passionate about physical activity and its many benefits. And he’s been lucky enough to combine his love of all things outdoor and active with his life’s work.

With the County of Annapolis Recreation Services for the last 13 years, Brian started out as a summer student while was studying Recreation at Acadia University. In 2003, he came on full time as their Projects and Programs Assistant.

“I feel very lucky that I get to work in the community where I grew up, seeing familiar faces, and always meeting new people as well.” Brian’s goal is to ensure people have positive, enriching outdoor recreational experiences. “I love it when someone realizes how much fun recreation and the outdoors can be,” he says. “This often leads to them recreating those experiences on their own time.”

Snowshoeing certainly falls into this category for Brian. Nine years ago, he helped create the “Snowshoe Annapolis County Snowshoe Treks” and they’ve been growing ever since. This winter, they are offering seven events with five different routes, including a Sweethearts Moonlit Trek in Annapolis Royal for Valentines Day.

Guided by Brian, with his in depth knowledge of the county, the treks usually involve an element of the history of the region. Last year, a large group trekked along a trail to the Tupperville Falls.

Sheila Goldsmith, who lives in Round Hill, outside of Annapolis Royal, brought her husband and 14-year-old grandson along. “It was a beautiful walk through the woods on a looping trail with the waterfall at the half way mark.” Enormous icicles and huge glassy boulders greeted them. Even the fact that Sheila tripped a few times on her snowshoes didn’t wreck the fun! “And you can’t beat the hot cider and cookies at the end!”

Brian says that people are often drawn to the snowshoe treks for the camaraderie of it all. Others enjoy exploring new places, while still others do it for the sheer fitness element. Brian and his team offer a variety of distances: 1-2 km for family treks, with longer hikes of 10km too. And don’t let the fact that you don’t own snowshoes stop you—the County of Annapolis supplies them! Up to seventy people have participated in the past, making these events enormously successful.

For even larger groups within schools, community groups, and workplaces, the recreation group of the County of Annapolis also offers winter group activities. Two members of Brian’s team travel around the county in special vehicle filled with snowshoes, Nordic poles, and kick sleds. A special bag of tricks is pulled out for schools that include a geocaching treasure hunt. This year, there are 50 programs, and all in just 51 days!

 “A lot of people go into hibernation mode in the winter,” says Brian. “But our vision is to get as many people as possible out and active and having fun.”

 Don’t waste all the great snow this year. Get out there!

The Annapolis County snowshoe events are part of Hike Nova Scotia’s Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike series. Learn more at http://www.hikenovascotia.ca

Write or call Brian Orde to register for a snowshoe adventure in the Valley:

(902) 532-3144

borde@annapoliscounty.ns.ca

Hibernating is for Bears Contest: Share a photo of yourself hiking, walking or snowshoeing by email, Twitter or on Facebook to win a $100 prize package! Learn more at https://hikenovascotia.wordpress.com.

 

Hibernating is For Bears Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered our Hibernating is for Bears Contest. It was so nice to see all of the entries coming in, and to see so many people refusing to hibernate!

Congratulations to our contest winner, Leslie Johnston.  Leslie’s photo of her family snowshoeing in Trenton Park was selected in a random draw. See below for her photo entry, and scroll down to the bottom of this post to view the 100+  fantastic contest entries.

Leslie and Jason Johnston

Happy Hiking everyone.

If you  enjoy the great outdoors year round we want to hear about it. Share a photo of yourself hiking, walking or snowshoeing during the chilly winter months, and you could win a prize package valued at $100!bear-hibernating

How To Enter
There are 3 ways to enter, and each entry gives you another chance to win!

  • Email your photo to info@hikenovascotia.ca
  • Follow us on Twitter @HikeNS, and Tweet us your photo
  • Like us on Facebook and post your photo on our wall

What You Can Win

  • Hike Nova Scotia T-shirt
  • The book Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia by Michael Haynes
  • The book Hiking Trails of Cape Breton by Michael Haynes
  • Hike Nova Scotia Gift Membership
  • A Thermos
  • A First Aid Kit

The Fine Print
The contest runs from January 11, 2014 to midnight February 11, 2014. A winner will be selected by random draw. If the winner does not respond by February 17 2014 an alternate winner will be selected by random draw. By sending a photo you are agreeing for Hike Nova Scotia to use the photo publicly to promote this contest, as well as for any future promotions of the organization as they may arise.

See below for contest entries. Check back often, photos are being added regularly!

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Active Pictou County

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Alena Martin

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Wyatt and Shelley