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Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult (Length/Terrain/Navigation).
Setting: Rocky Coastal Barrens, Sand Beaches, Peninsula.
Facilities: Parking, outhouses.
Features: Over 11km of stunningly beautiful, rugged #Coastal hiking. Unmarked trails, rocky coastal dangers & rapidly changing weather require proper preparation. Sensitive coastal ecosystem demands you stay on-trail & Leave No Trace.
Crystal Crescent Provincial Park – Pennant Point
Crystal Crescent Provincial Park’s beach is one of the best-known in the Halifax region and is often voted as Halifax’s best beach. A great beach for one and all, the large, supervised white sand beach has plenty of room for the huge crowds in summer.
For generations, Haligonians have all known how beautiful Crystal Crescent beach is. What is less known is the coastal hiking trails that originate from the beach called the Pennant Point trail. Of the many great Nova Scotia #beach hiking areas, this one is amongst the best.
Crystal Crescent Beach Hike
The first kilometre or two is a well-travelled well-maintained trail that consists of boardwalks, stairs, and bridges. The trail stops being maintained when you reach a small beach. From that point onward the trail is still fairly easy to follow and travelled enough that it is usually easy to identify (also look for some blue spray paint markings). The terrain alternates from easy to moderately difficult in spots.
The trail is a breathtaking coastal trek. The longest route is an 11-kilometre loop that hugs the coastline for most of it. There are plenty of nooks slightly off the trail, along the coastline where rock scampering can lead to some great places to chill. The landscape is something fans of Peggy’s Cove and other rocky #coastal trails will really appreciate.
The full loop should require setting aside a full day, as it is quite long, and ideal for some picnics, swimming, sun tanning, nature watching, or just relaxing by the ocean. It can be challenging in parts as you’ll have to climb over rocks and pay attention to navigating, but these shouldn’t be too daunting for most people.
Prepare For Your Route
Good preparation is required in this remote area. Proper hiking shoes, water, navigation aid, first aid, etc. are all a must if setting out to do the full loop. Keep in mind that weather and temperature can change drastically at any moment.
You can choose from a few different hiking options. The longest route is the full 11km loop, and is significantly more difficult due to the length and navigating. It’s easy to follow most of the trail as it hugs the coastline, but as you head inland navigation becomes more important/difficult as the trail contains some elements of bushwhacking. This route includes a couple of kilometres through the woods and often encounters soggy areas.
Another option is to hike up to a point between Blackberry Cove and Pennant Point Cove and take the trail that heads inland and eventually joins back to the first part of the trail. The easiest option is to hike up as far as you want and just double back.
This trail is amongst the best summertime hiking that Nova Scotia has to offer. Include some beach time and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable day.
My Crystal Crescent Photos:
Pennant Point Habitat:
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