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Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult (Distance/Terrain).
Setting: Forest, Lakes, Granite Barrens.
Facilities: Parking, bike rack and garbage cans at the trailhead.
Signage: Info kiosk at trailhead, periodic maps, and markings throughout.
Challenging #backcountry hike, well marked & maintained.
4 stacked loops, around 4 hours each.
Access from the BLT Trail.
Access to the Bluff Wilderness Trail begins in a large parking area near Bay Self Storage in Timberlea. To access the trailhead you must walk a half kilometer along the BLT Trail.
Everything along the trail is well marked, maintained and mapped. Your first major decision will be which of the 4 stacked loops you would like to tackle. This decision should be based on how much time/daylight you have to deal with.
The shortest is the 9km return trip Pot Lake Loop which takes about 3-4 hours. Next is the Mi’kmaq Hill Loop which is a 17.4km return trip. The Bluff Loop is a 23.4km return trip, and the longest is the Hay Marsh Loop which is 29km and a full 2-day hike from the parking lot (or a 1-day hike when incorporating a kayak/canoe paddle. See map)
The trails are top notch backcountry hiking due to the fact that it has been well designed and maintained by the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Association (donate!). There are boardwalks, stone walkways, and easily identifiable and fairly well marked natural pathways.
The wilderness area not only provides a top-notch hiking destination, but also a great place to canoe/kayak, fish, and overnight camp, due to its multiple canoe access points. Its diverse array of landscapes and unspoiled nature are another main attraction for the area.
During Hunting season (End of October-beginning of December) you should make yourself visible by wearing hunters orange. It’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings as bears, coyotes and even moose have been known to make an occasional appearance. You can gain extra peace of mind by carrying a bear bell or pepper spray when venturing into any remote area in Nova Scotia.
The Bluff Wilderness Trail is perhaps the best example of a trail system done right. With multiple trails and hike lengths to choose from, and its location so close to the city, The Bluff Trail is a must for novice and experienced hikers alike. Choose your loop distance wisely and you’ll have a great wilderness experience and a workout that no gym can offer.
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Similar Hikes: Musquodoboit Trailway | Kearney Lake Trails | Taylor Head
Local Habitat: Plants | Lichen | Mainland Moose
Purchase Bluff Trail GPS (.gpx & .kml) map file here.
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