This time of year, especially after the cruel joke of a Winter we have had to endure, it’s almost imperative to be enlightened by Nova Scotia’s great outdoors. When emerging from our winter downtime, it’s easy to have logic outweighed by ambition so take it slow. As Frankie MacDonald says best; be prepared! Check out some tips here first. The Victoria Day weekend is a perfect time to kick-start a new year full of outdoor adventures, so here’s a top 10 list to get you started:
This little oasis in the heart of Clayton Park may seem very unassuming at first, but once you walk around you’ll appreciate the quaint urban setting. This unique spot is a major gathering place for all kinds of different birds and waterfowl. If you stick around long enough you’re bound to see some kind of bird you’ve never seen in the city before. Stop to read about the nature and the history of the area, with signs courtesy of the Halifax NorthWest Trails Association. At about 1.5km, a full loop on its gravel pathway can be accomplished pretty easily, making it an ideal stroll with kids. Photos | Video | 360 View
What Haligonian doesn’t love Fleming Park? Saying you don’t like Fleming Park is like saying you hate Point Pleasant Park, which is enough to get you deported. Whether it’s a picnic, a jog, a paddle or some good old-fashioned gallivanting, this place is amazing in the Spring. Seeing everything starting to bloom at Fleming Park, makes it no wonder why it’s such a popular place for weddings. I think every Haligonian is married to Fleming Park. Photos | Video | 360° View
Like a nature show where animals slowly emerge from a long Winter hibernation, Point Pleasant Park becomes the human version of that every Spring. Each change of season means it’s time for another visit to Point Pleasant Park. You can almost see the heart of Halifax beating here. I sometimes think that the mood of the city is a reflection of the current climate at Point Pleasant Park. It’s ideal for Jogging, walking, catching, throwing, pondering and most other verbs. Photos | Video | 360 View
It may be a little early to spend a lot of time taking in views of the chilly Atlantic coastline, but if you’re a true Nova Scotian, there’s never an unacceptable time to head to the coast. Bring extra layers, and be cautious on the wet rocky terrain. The area stretches for about 1.5km so it’s short enough to head back if things get chilly, or if your body betrays you. Scampering along the coast here can make anyone feel like they could have been an expert rock climber if they chose to. Ditch your cross-fit class and get your exercise here in nature’s yoga studio. Photos | Video | 360 View
It has a heart-shaped pond. This area has been loved since Halifax’s early days. What’s not to love about old-growth forest minutes from downtown Halifax? If you love Point Pleasant Park, you’ll love the sans-coastline version of it too. The ravine itself is pretty cool, and the trails are exactly like what you see at Point Pleasant. Ideal for strolls with loved ones. You could become another chapter in the park’s amorous history by proposing marriage next to the heart-shaped pond. Get married at Fleming Park, have photos taken at Point Pleasant and accomplish the Halifax relationship trifecta. Or you could just go and appreciate the absolute jewel we have here. Photos | Video | 360 View
This one requires some navigation and hiking prowess. The area is always in flux with logging and development, so some roads and paths may lead you in the wrong direction. Nonetheless, making it atop Blue Mountain is spectacular. If you’ve never been, you’re probably unaware that Halifax has such high vantage points of the peninsula. It can be windy up there so dress accordingly, and bring some binoculars to have a look around. Photos | Video | 360 View
If you have something that has wheels and is powered by human kinetics, go take it for a rip on this converted railway trail system. The Chain Of Lakes Trail is paved, so possibilities abound. The B.L.T. trail is gravel. Have a look at the maps and plan how far you want to go. This is quickly becoming an active transportation highway, so follow the rules of the road. Perfect excuse to dust off that new fitness tracker you got for Christmas and never learned how to use. Photos | Video | 360 View
This 5km loop around Witherod Lake and along the shore of Long Lake has had a lot of buzz since its opening in April 2016. You wouldn’t think an urban park, 5 times the size of Central Park could be classified as a hidden gem but Long Lake has long been that. Now the cat is out of the bag, and the park is welcoming everyone with wide open arms (and 4 meter wide pathways). With a new 60 car parking lot, washrooms, benches galore, bike racks to lock your bike while you go for a swim, this trail is meant to accommodate lots of people. Photos | Video | 360 View
2) Polly’s Cove.
If you’ve spent more than an hour in Nova Scotia, it usually means you’ve been to Peggy’s Cove. Rightfully so. It’s absolutely beautiful. If you can’t take a photo that gets at least 10 “likes” there, you obviously need a new camera. What’s lesser-known is the nearby hiking trails of Polly’s Cove. If you want a different perspective on Peggy’s Cove, head there. You get all the benefits of Peggy’s Cove (astounding coastal beauty) without the crowds. Peggy’s Cove looks just as cool from a distance. Bring binoculars and a camera with a zoom. You’ll see the area in a way you haven’t seen it before. Photos | Video | 360 View
This area is set to become part of one of the most spectacular urban parks in North America. Haven’t been there? Go. Here are a few reasons why: 1) If you’ve ever been to Kejimkujik National Park, you’ll be astounded to see the same kind of setting right here in our backyard. Pristine untouched lakes, surrounded by old-growth forest. It’s something you’d normally have to drive hours to find. 2) In the Spring, without full foliage, it’s easier to navigate. For the same reason, you have more views of the lakes. 3) Unbeatable authentic hiking experience. If you appreciate a raw, natural hike, this place has everything you’ve been looking for. Photos | Video | 360 View
This list could easily contain many other places, and the order is merely a formality. The important thing is to get outside and get acquainted with the assets that make Halifax such a unique city. Don’t forget to share your experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (#HalifaxTrails).