Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (distance).
Setting: Salt marsh, harbour, former railway trail.
Facilities: Parking, Toilets, Benches, Dog Bags, Garbage Cans.
Signage: Information kiosks at trailheads, interpretive panels, and other signage.
Very well marked, maintained and patrolled.
Unique habitat is one of the best bird watching destinations in Halifax.
9km section of the province’s extensive rails-to-trails system.
Cole Harbour’s Salt Marsh Trail is perhaps the most popular trail in the region. It is a very well maintained multi-use, former railway that has been transformed into a recreational asset. The province is lined with similarly converted rails-to-trails systems. The trail system is a 9km section of the nationwide “Great Trail“, which continues towards Lawrencetown in one direction, and Shearwater (named “The Shearwater Flyer”) in the other direction.
The main trail is linear (not a loop) and is well used for walking, biking, cross-country skiing, fishing, and kayaking. If walking the trail, the best route is to go across the water and turn back (4km each way) which takes approximately 2.5 hours.
The trail is part of a Provincial Park (The Cole Harbour– Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park system) and is extremely well marked and maintained. It is also monitored and secured by a very friendly and helpful volunteer trail patrol courtesy of the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association (Donate!). Note that pets must be on a leash.
The area is a great place to view a diverse array of waterfowl, mammals, plants and local shellfishing operations. 90 bird, 12 mammal, and 6 reptile species have been recorded here.
There are numerous benches along the way to sit and enjoy the view. Other assets include a covered picnic area, trail distance markers, signs regarding the nature and history of the area, well-constructed bridges and a basic bathroom facility.
The exceptional safety, maintenance and popularity of this trail make it a great destination for anyone looking for a scenic walk, jog or bike ride.
A ridiculous amount of coffee is consumed while working on HalifaxTrails.ca. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going!
Similar Hikes: SMB Trail| BLT Trail | Musquodoboit Trailway
Local Nature: Great Blue Heron | Wild Rose | Salt Marsh