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Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult (Navigation, Terrain, Distance).
Setting: Lake, granite barrens, streams, forest.
Ecologically unique area.
Un-marked trails & entry points.
Part of the proposed Backlands urban wilderness park.
Backbone Of The Backlands
Colpitt Lake, a key part of the Purcell’s Cove Backlands and part of the McIntosh Run watershed. The Lake covers around 36 hectares, with the main trail leading around the lake, and many other side trails leading to Williams Lake, Flat Lake and elsewhere in the Backlands.
Un-Marked But Well Used
As with many trails around here, there is no designated entry point or parking area, but the most common entry is at the end of Drysdale Road. It’s a dead end with room for only a couple of cars and leads down a fairly steep slope full of loose boulders. Despite the sketchy entry points, the trails themselves are fantastic. Colpitt Lake has some of the best nature trails in the Halifax Regional Municipality and will quickly make you feel miles away from civilization.
A Diverse Array Of Beauty
The area is a diverse array of ecological rarities, interesting geology and storied history of quarrying (see my Backlands map) for Halifax’s most historic landmarks. The wetlands and granite barrens offer a totally unique landscape that’s hard to believe is minutes from downtown (you can get unique perspectives of downtown and Halifax Harbour from various high points in the area). It’s a nature lovers paradise, whether you’re a #bird-watching aficionado, outdoor photography enthusiast, or enjoy identifying the rare, diverse flora and fauna. Despite its urban surroundings, its wild enough that Moose have even been spotted in the area.
There are many great spots to take in the surroundings, particularly the area where a rocky stream meets the lake. A small sandy area complete with impromptu fire pit (please help keep it litter-free) is a great spot for #swimming. A towering granite outcrop, popular with local youth (unfortunately often spray painted) is tucked in behind this especially scenic area.
The trails are not marked or mapped so make sure you know where you’re going and have some kind of navigation aid if you’re not sure (all of my maps are designed to be opened with your phone’s Google Maps app, to be used as a real-time GPS reference). The lake is a good reference point to keep you on track most of the time but once you head away from it there are paths which can lead you in many different directions.
A Future Urban Wilderness Park
The Backlands have recently been recognized as an important location for protection. You can help the Nature Conservancy of Canada to create this urban wilderness park by donating to help them meet their required target.
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