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Difficulty: Moderate (Terrain/Distance).
Setting: Coastal Barrens.
Signage: Interpretive panels at the trailhead.
Features: 30 minutes from downtown Halifax. Iconic Nova Scotia #coastal hiking. Spectacular sunsets. Sensitive nature reserve (tread lightly)
High Head Hiking Trail
If you’ve ever been to Peggy’s Cove, you know the type of coastal views that Nova Scotia has to offer. High Head Trail in Prospect is on par or perhaps exceeds Peggy’s Cove in this respect. The 150 hectare Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Halifax. The scenic community of prospect village is every bit as beautiful as Peggy’s Cove with an important distinction. This community is not used to, nor does it well accommodate floods of visitors, thus requiring careful considerations before you visit.
Explore Respectfully & Leave No Trace
Keep in mind that this is a nature reserve. Avoid any disturbances to the environment and the local community. It’s important to follow the basic Leave No Trace principles. I suggest keeping the dogs at home, or on a short leash and not contributing to the bad reputation that some are putting upon all dog owners.
Camping and campfires are not allowed here or in any nature reserve. There is friction with the local community over floods of noisy, messy visitors, especially via Indian Point Rd, an unintended access area not meant for 50 cars. Disrespect to the community does great harm to what should be a pleasant experience for all.
Check out my currently trending list to see if High Head is on it, if so, it’s best to visit another day when it’s less busy. It’s better to do this trail during less popular times (weekdays, poor weather, etc.) as it’s almost certain to be a popular spot on nice weekends. One of the main problems with the popularity of this trail is that the adjacent neighbourhood isn’t meant to accommodate a rush of cars. If you do arrive to a flood of cars, please don’t compound the problem and explore some places nearby, instead. Click the blue “MAP” tab at the very top of this page to have a look around at some other great destinations nearby.
My High Head Trail Photos
A Hike With A View
The first few minutes of the trail from the road is used to be muddy from foot traffic but has since had a narrow boardwalk installed to mitigate the damage, courtesy of the NCC (donate!). It quickly opens into a vast expanse of granite outcrops overlooking the ocean and the many islands in the area (Top-notch area for ocean kayaking).
Because it only takes a few minutes to reach a a great view with one of the most scenic benches you’ll ever sit on (unfortunately often the target of vandals). The sun sets over the ocean directly in front of this bench; making it one of the best places to watch a sunset (bring a flashlight for the short walk back).
Be sure to wear proper footwear for the rugged terrain and take into account the erratic coastal weather (temperatures can dip, fog can roll in and winds can pick up quickly).
The entire area, including Prospect Village, is a spectacular display of Nova Scotia’s seafaring soul. A fascinating example of this history can be experienced by visiting the nearby SS Atlantic Heritage Park.
All in all, this is one of my favourite areas in the province and is one of the least commonly known.
High Head Trail Habitat:
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