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- Difficulty: Moderate (rugged coastal terrain).
- Facilities: Parking, Benches, Garbage Cans.
- Signage: None.
- Features: Scenic lookoff parking area and rugged coastal hiking trail. Up to 1.7km (~1hr) return trip. Views of shipping traffic from Halifax Harbour.
- Biodiversity: Ericaceae | Wintergreen | Coastal Barrens | More…
- Tags: #Coastal, #Short, #Lookoff, #Nature-Reserve, #Park.
Herring Cove Provincial Park
Herring Cove Lookoff
Herring Cove Provincial Park begins from an unassuming pull-off area on the side of John Brackett Drive (an extension of Purcells Cove Road). A place that has grown greatly in popularity, its lot is often overflowing during peak times. A summer drive down the Herring Cove road is an enjoyable experience in itself, and the parking lot for Herring Cove Provincial Park is a popular place to pull off to take in the coastal view. A few scenic benches by the parking lot make it an easily accessible look-off.
Recently Designated Provincial Park
This area was recently officially designated a provincial park (2021), though formal and informal designations don’t seem to matter as the Owls Head Provincial Park situation may have set an unethical precedent. Hopefully, recent designations of what most people already thought were provincial #parks will actually stay protected. It would be great if the government realized how popular these places are and invested in them to provide good parking, access points and proper trail construction, but as yet, many of our best hiking destinations lack those basic aspects (Herring Cove Provincial Park included). With only 5% of our coastlines protected, and over 200 other properties awaiting legal protection, “Canada’s Ocean Playground” has very limited public coastal access, making this well-loved park even more important.
A Monumental View
The hiking trail begins as a pathway through some trees and brush, but for the most part, follows along the granite shore. The area allows you to choose any path you like along the rocks. From the parking lot to the high point with the best view is a 1.5km return trip so it’s easily done in 45 minutes.
The coastal barren terrain is interspersed with muddy patches. Stick to well-used trails and durable surfaces to minimize damage to this delicate ecosystem. The rugged trail demands proper hiking footwear and an abundance of caution (keep a good distance from the water’s edge). Stretches of green space, behind the coastline come alive with colourful wildflowers during warmer months. With many beautiful coastal views that accompany you throughout.
The high point at the end of the trail has 2 piles of boulders that are out of place even amongst the rocky coastline. Placed by man, these boulders are actually a monument to Herring Cove local George Brown. An Olympian and a member of Nova Scotia’s Sports Hall of Fame, Brown became a World Champion oarsman in 1874.
My Herring Cove Provincial Park Photos
The coastal views here are as good as anywhere in the province. It is a typical coastal barrens landscape, similar to Peggy’s Cove or Duncan’s Cove. Sitting atop these elevated bluffs, watching waves and shipping traffic from Halifax harbour is a zen experience.
You’re sure to make plenty of stops to take in the photo-friendly views, so don’t let the trail’s #short length fool you when you’re budgeting your time. It’s a place you can spend many hours just sitting and watching the waves as the tide rises and falls with sailboats and ocean liners coming and going from the harbour.
There are no trail signs or markings, but the pathways are quite easy to follow, as it never diverges far from the coastline. As with any oceanfront hike, be prepared for sudden changes in temperature, windy conditions and sudden changes in weather. The rocky terrain makes for some great places to sit and enjoy the view, but you’re smart to bring something to cushion the experience. You don’t have to venture far to find a comfy place for meditative contemplation, taking great photos (tag ’em: #HalifaxTrails) or catching up on a good book. Herring Cove Provincial Park is a great place to take in fantastic coastal views with minimal travel and hiking time. It’s my go-to place for a quick coastal getaway from the city.