That amazing meal you had probably tasted better than it looked on your Instagram feed, and no one really cares about the 50th picture of your pet. It’s time to up your Instagram game. Luckily Nova Scotia is full of amazing places for that. Besides the well-known Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse (which every Nova Scotian is required by law to have a picture of), I’ve found lots of gems on my hiking journeys that are much less known, but no less awesome.
You don’t need big bulky equipment to get high-quality photos these days. Gear up with a simple phone camera lens kit for wide-angle landscapes and artistic macro shots. Bring a, selfie stick and star in some #epic posts. Don’t forget to use #HalifaxTrails. Check out my other blog post about the photography lessons I’ve learned along the way, for some extra tips.
10) York Redoubt
York redoubt has played many roles throughout its long history. From its first fortification in 1793 during the battle for the new world between Britain and France to its retrofitting for WWII in 1942. Its modern role? Upping your Instagram game! With huge cannons, crumbling fortifications, and amazing coastal vantage points there are many spots to choose from here. You won’t have to walk long distances to reach any of the good spots so this trip can be accomplished with minimal time and effort, and is less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Halifax. 360 View:
Possibly the best spot for a sunset shot. High Head Trail is a spectacular coastal hiking trail in camera-friendly Prospect Village. All the charms of Peggy’s Cove without being inundated by crowds of tourists, the entire area is a photographer’s dream. The rocky coastal barrens are a perfect foreground for the sun setting over the vast Atlantic Ocean in the background. Wide angled shots set up with a tripod are guaranteed to produce Instagram envy. 360 View:
A lighthouse, an expansive rocky coastline, abandoned structures of yesteryear. Chebucto Head has #NovaScotia written all over it. You need not walk far to start snapping some great pics. Though the access road to the parking lot is closed due to the road being left in disrepair (another quintessentially Nova Scotian scene in itself) the walk in is enjoyably scenic. 360 View:
7) BLT Trail
Part of the extensive rails-to-trails system that runs throughout the province, the waterfall along the BLT Trail is a great photo-op. A very popular spot to stop, the waterfall is a great backdrop for evidence of your hardcore 10km jog or 30km bike ride (or just walk the 2.5km from the trailhead). You may have to wait your turn as you’re likely not going to have this one to yourself. Other great spots along the trail include the former rail bridge, and along the shore of Cranberry Lake. 6 Mile Falls 360° view:
Only a short (20 minute) hike to a small footbridge across a small river which drains from Hobson’s Lake. In spring the river can be a raging torrent which cascades down steep drop on its way to Kearney Lake. There’s plenty of great photo spots along the river that are ideal for experimenting with slow shutter speeds to get that silky smooth water blur effect. A gnarled old tree makes a great backdrop for a selfie on the bridge, just make sure you’re balanced properly on the rickety bridge or it could end in an #EpicFail. 360 View:
The top of Blue Mountain is the highest point of Halifax’s Chebucto Peninsula. While it’s not exactly like scaling the Rockies, it’s a great spot to feel on top of the world in these parts. With the city in the distance and expansive views, it’s a great place for some foreground/background pics. The ever-evolving pile of rocks at the top sometimes serve as the base for a flagpole or take the form of an Inuksuk.
One of the best trail systems in the province. (Fairly) well marked and mapped, it’s one of my favourite places for back-country hiking. More suited to experienced hikers, the Admiral Lake Loop is a 3.5km loop full of well-constructed look off spots. Similar to the top of Blue Mountain, the Skull Rock or Rolling Stone look-offs make you feel on top of the world, with great views for kilometres in the distance. 360 View:
3) Fox Lake
The Fox Lake Trail is part of the Kearney Lake trail system (minutes from downtown Halifax). The 3-4km return hike isn’t too strenuous but does require paying attention to your navigation and isn’t for beginners. The look-off is a highly elevated granite outcrop overlooking Fox Lake. Its elevation above the tree canopy is a perfect view of the entire lake, and you can spend a long time here peacefully getting back in tune with nature. Your pics will reflect the zen atmosphere of this spot (yoga pose for extra likes). 360 View:
Towards the end of the Herring Cove Provincial Park Reserve coastal trail is the highest point in the area, and also happens to have a huge pile of rock (left over from its history as a quarry?) Not far from downtown Halifax and only a 1.5km return trip from the parking lot look off, this spot doesn’t take long to reach. Climbing up on top of the rock pile gives the feeling of that scene from Titanic; I’m on top of the world! This shot has profile pic written all over it. 360 View
1) Susies Lake
One of the best lesser known hiking areas is behind a building supply store in Bayers Lake Business park. Yeah, I know, it sounds about as scenic as the Walmart parking lot, but this is part of what makes this area so amazing. A short walk into the woods brings you into an entirely different world. This area, known as the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area is as scenic as Kejimkujik National Park and is tucked in the middle of an urban landscape. My favourite spot of this unique area is the Susies Lake look off. It looks as if you’ve been on a multi-day back-country excursion to find this astounding view. In reality, it requires a short drive from downtown and a 40-minute return trip hike. Once you familiarize yourself with the route, you can make it to the lookoff to catch a sunset and still have enough time to make it out before it’s too dark (always bring a flashlight and be properly prepared for hiking). Not bad for a little detour from shopping. #BestOfBothWorlds. 360 View: