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Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult (Terrain/Distance).
Setting: Coastal barrens, wooded trails, sand beaches.
Facilities: Parking, outhouses, covered picnic areas and benches.
Signage: Information kiosks, interpretive panels, map and trail markers throughout.
Over 20km of coastline with 15km of hiking trails.
Ideal place to spend a full day exploring and/or relaxing.
Front gate open Victoria Day (May) – Oct. 9th (sometimes extended).
The Galapagos Of The Atlantic
Taylor Head Provincial Park is a scenic hour and a half drive from Halifax and is well worth the commute. The park encompasses the entirety of a 6.5km peninsula which juts into the Atlantic ocean amidst the spectacular 100 wild islands archipelago. There is plenty to explore along 15km of hiking trails. The trails follow along with the vast, diverse coastline. From huge stretches of beautiful white sand beaches to rugged cliffs pounded by open ocean surf, Taylor Head has nearly every type of coastal beauty Nova Scotia has to offer.
The park also has an interesting past, starting from its first recorded history as a settlement for British loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. Remnants of this settlement, as well as graves dating back to the early 1800s, are still there today.
Coastal Hiking Heaven
Taylor Head Provincial Park has plenty of different #coastal hiking routes to choose from. The trails vary in length & difficulty and can be done separately or all together. Near the entrance to the park is the Bull Beach trail which extends for 4.5km from one parking lot to another. This is probably the least hiked trail due to logistics, but as with every trail, it’s full of great scenery. This part of the peninsula has white sand as far as the eye can see in some places.
The next trail is the aptly named Beach Walk. From the main parking lot, you’re greeted with a covered picnic area with very informative interpretive panels and mailboxes stuffed with park maps and info. A short boardwalk trail takes you to a calm, white sand beach. Continuing on to the right will take you along a piece of land that acts as a breakwater for the beach, and is home to flocks of seabirds.
The two main trails, the Spry Bay trail, and Headland trail are stacked loops of about 4km (2 hours) each. My preference is to do these loops in a counterclockwise direction to start along the rugged, active surf, western shore. Ending along the calm eastern shore and its white sand beach make a great place to relax when you’re done a satisfying hike.
These trails follow through many different beautiful habitats. Majestic tree stands draped in old man’s beard, a wetlands boardwalk, rugged cliffs, coastal barrens and sheltered coves make for a biodiverse array of scenery.
The trails are rugged, natural and soggy to varying degrees, so make sure to be prepared for its array of natural surfaces and rapidly changing weather patterns. I always recommend sturdy, waterproof hiking boots and pair of hiking gaiters for these types of #Coastal trails. Navigating the park is quite easy due to trail markings and maps throughout.
A Day At The Beach, Or A Day-Long Hike
The park is full of wildlife. Beyond bird-watching, you’re also apt to see other creatures such as seals, skunks or slow-moving porcupines leading the way down a trail. With the prevalence of porcupines, and by rule, you should always keep dogs on-leash. The number of birds, mammals and plants help give the area its “Galapagos of the Atlantic” moniker. With different scenic areas, trails and beaches to choose from, there are many different trip options for this park.
Worth the drive from Halifax regardless of whether its for a #short stroll, a #long full-day hike, or just to chill on the #beach with a chair, cooler and a good book. All in all, this is one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia and part of one of the world’s most spectacular protected coastal areas.
Taylor Head Habitat: