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New Guide: Jack Lake Trail.
Difficulty: Moderate (distance, hills).
Setting: Coastal forest, peninsula, steep cliffs, Bay of Fundy tidal system.
Facilities: Parking lot, bathrooms.
Signage: Trail markers & info kiosk at trailhead.
16km (4-5hour return trip).
One of the most popular #coastal hikes in the province.
Peninsula w/200ft cliffs offering one of the province’s best views.
The Cape Split Hike
Cape Split is located in Scots Bay in the Annapolis Valley (1hr 40min drive from downtown Halifax). The 430 hectares of protected land encompasses the western portion of the Blomidon Peninsula and juts several kilometers into the Bay of Fundy. This trail is one of the most visited trails in Nova Scotia, with more than 40 000 visitors per year. Its popularity lies with its incredible #look-off on the tip of the peninsula, with a breathtaking coastal view. The peninsula marks the meeting of the Minas Basin with the Bay of Fundy in the middle of the world’s highest tidal system. The water levels are always in-flux, making the views ever-changing.
A Journey & A Destination
The journey starts from a large parking area complete with picnic tables, washrooms and a map of the trail. The 8km linear trail (a new looped trail is in the works) has some steady uphill climbs through the dense deciduous forest. The trail is well used, maintained and marked so there are no worries about getting lost if you stick to the trail.
During the roughly 2 hour hike out to the point, you’ll be treated to a beautiful array of flora and fauna, with the area being home to over 300 species of plants. Keep your eyes peeled for some uniquely formed #old-growth trees, including some possible trail marker trees. The trail can be muddy in areas so proper hiking boots are recommended. There are some small but steady uphill climbs on the way to the point.
Once you reach the point of the peninsula you’ll be treated to one of the best views in the province. The point of land breaks into multiple pieces which jut into the bay and cause white water to rush by with the tides. The cliff-lined islands are home to hundreds of shorebirds (check it out this great local guide book on East Coast Seabirds to learn more about them.)
The lookoff point is where the Minas Basin meets the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides. Timing your hike to coincide with high or low tide will give you different views, and it’s time well spent watching the tides come in and out from this spot.
More than just a natural wonder, Cape Split is also culturally significant. An archeological survey found 6 prehistoric sites, including one at Clam Cove dating over 2000 years old. The area is very significant to native Mi’kmaq folklore as it was said to be the home of Glooscap.
This trail is a must visit for anyone up for the moderately difficult 4-hour return trip. Remember to be very cautious around the actively eroding and very steep shoreline. Also, check out nearby Blomidon Provincial Park, (an ideal place to camp), and the Blomidon Lookoff (both marked on the map). For a map of campgrounds across the province, check out my blog post.
Cape Split Habitat:
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