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Difficulty: Easy – Moderate.
Setting: Military historic site, coastal views.
Facilities: Parking, washrooms, picnic tables.
Signage: Interpretive panels.
Open June 25– Labour Day, 8am-8pm Daily.
200-Year-Old Fortifications In One Of the Halifax Region’s Best Historic Sites
Coastal bluff overlooking Halifax Harbour entrance.
York Redoubt National Historic Site is one of Halifax’s less busy but no less impressive pieces of history. It is a great place for a stroll, picnic, or adventure with the kids. It’s a great option for getting off the beaten path for a family-friendly getaway. It offers spectacular views of the mouth of Halifax Harbour, the lighthouse at McNabs Island and the Atlantic ocean.
Like Point Pleasant Park, it was a key part of Halifax’s Harbour defence network built by the British to contest the French in 1793 through to its use as a German submarine defence station in World War 2. York Redoubt has been built, rebuilt and retrofitted for centuries, with the original stone being quarried from nearby King’s Quarry in the Purcell’s Cove Backlands.
The walking trails go from the parking lot up to a lookout tower where you will have the best vantage point of the entire area. The walking trails used to extend down to the waterfront via a tunnel that has now been left in disrepair and closed. The waterfront fortifications have also been left in disrepair and are now fenced off, closed, and partially bull-dozed. Unfortunately. walking to the waterfront is done at your own risk, and requires a couple of detours (see map).
Everywhere you wander on this site of only a few hectares, you will see some cool military earthworks, buildings or cannons, all rooted in different eras of naval history. History permeates the soil here and it’s easy to get lost in your own contemplations of the area’s historical and natural splendour.
Aside from being a great spot to find the extensive information available about the site’s rich history, it also happens to be a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoors and take in some great views of the mouth of Halifax harbour and the ocean beyond. There are picnic tables and many benches to watch the shipping and boating traffic while the kids play in what I always viewed as the city’s greatest imagination adventure park when I was a child growing up in Halifax.
Recommended Reading: “Halifax: Warden Of The North”
Recommended For York Redoubt:
Similar Hikes: SS Atlantic Park| Point Pleasant Park | Chebucto Head
Local Nature: Fiddlehead | Kingfisher| Bluff