Difficulty: Moderate to hard (length//terrain/navigation).
Setting: Woods, lakes, streams and rivers.
Facilities: Parking, Toilets, Benches, Bike Racks.
The beauty of Long Lake Provincial Park lies not only in the nature and sense of being in the wilderness, but also in its location that is a 15 minute drive from downtown. Nestled in the heart of mainland Halifax, there are multiple access points, ranging from St. Margarets Bay Road, Northwest Arm Drive, Old Sambro Road and Prospect Road. The main access points with parking areas are off of St. Margarets Bay Road and the new one off of Northwest Arm Drive.
Previously, trails were unmarked and un-mapped. As of April 2016 A new large wide gravel trail named the Lakeview trail is a 5km loop around Witherod Lake. Similar to what you would see in Point Pleasant Park, this large main trail system is very well constructed with plenty of room for walkers, bikers and joggers alike. The gravel bed can be rough as it is brand new and will likely settle over time. As for now, certain bikes and strollers will have a tough time on the large gravel trail.
The rest of the park is largely un-marked, which is a good thing for adventuresome hikers, as there are plenty of “off-path” opportunities, but be sure to keep track of where you are going, especially in wooded areas not near the shoreline. Non-motorized boating here is fantastic, but given the lack of boat launch areas, it’s up to you to plan your route.
The trails off of the parking lot on St. Margarets Bay road are a very popular spot for people to walk their dogs so you may come across some mess along the main paths. Once you stray from the main paths you are rewarded with all kinds of great finds. The park is full of interesting geology, lakeside views, streams, rivers, vegetation, beaver dams and wildlife you don’t normally see in the city. Recommended reading: “Trees and Shrubs of the Maritimes”.
Long Lake contains what used to be a farm settlement as well as the remains of a road from the 1800s. The lake’s use as a water supply for the city of Halifax until 1980 is still evident by the dams and waterworks still visible.
You can spend as much or as little time as you like in this urban gem.
Recommended Reading: “Hiking Trails Of The Halifax Regional Municipality”.