With over 12,800 kilometres of coastline in Nova Scotia — a place where a trail can lead you to panoramic ocean vistas and allow you to explore hidden sandy beaches and waterfalls tucked within old growth forests — it’s no surprise that hiking is one of the top outdoor activities that you can experience here.
Hiking Nova Scotia’s coast and wilderness trails in the wintertime offers hikers a different perspective. There are even places throughout the province that you can borrow or rent skis or snowshoes for your adventure.
Here are five of the best places to head out and enjoy a winter hike.
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Nova Scotia, Crystal Crescent is a site to behold in the wintertime. Discover the nearby 10-kilometre coastal hiking trail that connects multiple white sand beaches with turquoise waters while passing through spectacular coastline dotted with granite boulders.
One of the most epic hikes in Nova Scotia just so happens to be located in our wine region! Pack a lunch and make your way through a coastal and woodland trail before the finale where you’ll be standing atop a cliff, nearly 60 metres above the Bay of Fundy. Enjoy the view from the top of the 6-kilometre trail before hiking back.
On your way to or from Cape Split, be sure to stop at the “the lookoff” in Canning. Here, a turn in the winding road opens up to an impressive view that overlooks the quilt-like farmlands of the Annapolis Valley. Finish your day with a stop at one of the area’s many award-winning wineries.
3. Peggy's Cove
Hike the paths through the rolling granite outcrops alongside Canada's favourite lighthouse. Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada and for good reason – just look at its beautiful seaside location! Photographers delight at the colours and contrast in the snow-covered granite and surrounding ocean waters. Take your time and explore the foot trails alongside the lighthouse and be sure to stay back from the ocean’s edge and off the wet rocks that surround the lighthouse.
Trade in your hiking boots for snowshoes and get out on what is known Nova Scotia’s most popular trail. Located in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Skyline Trail literally takes you along the edge of a dramatic headland cliff that overlooks the rugged coastline below the world famous Cabot Trail. On this 8-kilometre loop trail, watch for moose, bald eagles, bears, and numerous boreal that call this habitat home.
Pronounced as ISH-ka-ban, you’ll discover why these waterfalls were given the Gaelic term for “white water” when you visit Uisge Falls in the wintertime. Depending on the temperature, you may find this 15-metre waterfall, frozen in time within a granite gorge. The hike is a short 1.4-kilometre trek — a quick adventure for a remarkable glacier-like view!