Backcountry Hiking right in Halifax’s Backyard: Bluff Wilderness

I have been anxious to check out Bluff Wilderness Trails for some time now but have not been sure how challenging it might be with a wee one coming along! So what better way to find out than to go check it out? Well, today my husband and I magically both had the day off while H was at daycare, so we went hiking! (We chose to go just the two of us to evaluate how we would want to plan a trip with our wee one and to enjoy some time just the two of us!) We hiked 2 of the 4 loops: Pot Lake Loop and Indian Hill Loop, totaling 18 km. At the end of the day our legs were sore but our minds were rejuvenated with beautiful landscapes!

To get to the trailhead, I do not recommend following Michael Hayne’s guide nor using Google maps for “Bluff Wilderness Trail”. Basically, coming from Halifax, it will take 15 to 20 minutes. You want to:
-Take the Highway 102
-Take Exit 1A (Peggy’s Cove-South Shore)
-Take Exit 4 (Hubley-Timberlea)
-Turn RIGHT onto St Margaret’s Bay Rd.
-Drive 2 km
-Trailhead parking on the right beside Bay Self Storage
Okay, so onto the real question: how accessible is this hike for wee ones? Well, it is a difficult hiking terrain (lots of boulders, roots, rocks, some log crossings). So most obviously this is NOT a stroller hike. For babies, you would want to wear them securely. For toddlers, you should consider a mix of a kid carrier and your toddler walking. For older kids, this will be a fun challenge for them to walk themselves. Your hiking speed will be considerably slower with kids along, so I would recommend trying only the first loop (Pot Lake Loop) to begin.

Orienteering on this trail however is quite simple. The trails are colour-coded with markers throughout. There are many barren areas where you cross over boulders, and black arrows on the rock point you in the needed direction. There are also maps where each loop meets (at any intersection of trail) and a detailed downloadable map here. No worries about getting lost in the backcountry here, but bring your map & compass just in case!

Blue trail marker (on the right) showing the way through some boulderous terrain.

Arrows denoting the direction to hike.

We were so amazed that this escape to nature has been so close by and we have not taken advantage in the past. It is astonishing, and if you don’t believe me, see for yourself!


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