Off-Season Hiking in Five Islands Provincial Park: Estuary Trail (Five Islands, NS)

Five Islands Provincial Park (28 minute drive east of Parrsboro) is known for its beautiful views along the sea coast and receives lots of visitors in the summer months. What I want to tell you about though is off-season hiking at Five Islands. In the off-season (October 14 to June 12), the park is very quiet and the trails feel extra remote and peaceful. 

We hiked the Estuary Trail (below in yellow) with our three-year-old in April. It is a well-marked 4km hike. 

The Estuary Trail is seen here in yellow. This is the map at the beginning of the trail next to the parking lot. Please note that the “You Are Here” is misplaced on this map! You are on Estuary not Economy Mountain Trail.

Trail markers on the Estuary Trail, Five Islands Provincial Park.
Because our spring is so late this year, we still encountered some snow and ice on the trail in late April despite the sunny and mild weather, so I would recommend having traction devices with you for this trail during the shoulder seasons. 

The trail is about moderate difficulty, though great for beginners. It is not stroller-friendly and babies should be worn in a kid carrier or allowed to toddle if appropriate. One thing I should note is that because of the very windy winter we had in NS, there were a number of trees down along the trail. Some were easier to cross than others, and the trail became slightly unclear at one point where several trees had fallen within a short distance. 

The fallen trees really added to the experience for us, and our 3-year-old loved climbing over…

…and under them!

This day hike was splendidly quiet and a nice balance between well-marked while still giving you the sense of adventure! I would highly recommend it to families with wee ones! The bridges, planks, and log crossings were all great for enabling wee ones to feel like confident hikers! 

A toddler’s favourite stopping place to throw rocks in the water!

Exploring with papa!

Come on, who doesn’t love a good log crossing?

In the summer months, be sure to check out the more scenic trails in the park! We chose Estuary because it is most easily accessible in the off-season when the park is closed. It has fewer opportunities to view the sea coast but is a lovely walk in the woods! We even had a bald eagle fly a few meters above our heads! Here is to another fine walk in the woods! 


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