While Halifax is known for its waterfront boardwalk and historic attractions, it’s also a place with plenty of opportunities to get out into nature. And you don’t have to go far to get out on the trails – there are plenty of parks and trails, offering some of the best hikes near Halifax.

From rugged coastal paths with stunning ocean views to quiet lakeside trails and forested routes, these hikes allow you to escape the city and experience the beauty of Nova Scotia.

Whether you’re a local looking to get out on the trails or a visitor looking to experience the area’s natural landscape, here are some of the best trails near Halifax to explore.  

Best Hikes Near Halifax

Shubie Park

📍54 Locks Road, Dartmouth

Shubie Park is a large urban park in Dartmouth and locals will tell you it’s home to some of the best hikes near Halifax. I may be biased, as this is our go-to hiking spot when we don’t want to drive too far, but I have to agree!

The park is full of trails and you can choose to do a short loop, walk along the historic Shubenacadie Canal or take a longer hike and continue along the shore of Lake Charles or Lake Micmac. The full loop within Shubie is 4km, or you can continue along Lake Charles to Vivian’s Way, which adds another 3km. 

child walking on a snow covered trail in shubie park in halifax

When you’ve had your fill of hiking, you can also rent kayaks and paddle boards at the Fairbanks Centre, ride on the Pump Track or take a swim at Shubie Beach. Fall is also a great time to hike through the park when the leaves are turning colour, or hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter months. 

Distance: 4km loop, with shorter trails within the loop, 9.25km for the Shubie Canal Greenway
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Parking: Available at multiple lots throughout the park 
Washrooms: Facilites available Monday to Friday at the Fairbanks Centre
Accessibility: Parts of the trail near the Fairbanks centre are accessible, but most of the loop is not accessible

Long Lake Provincial Park

📍10 Dunbrack St, Halifax

Long Lake Provincial Park has several trails, ranging from a short 1km loop to the full 10.5km loop. The full loop, called the Long Lake Wilderness Loop is 10.5km.

There are also several shorter trails in the park, such as the Lakeview Trail, which is 3.5km, or the less busy Long Lake Pipeline Loop, which is 3.7km.

The Lakeview Loop is a gravel trail that is wide and level, making it accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. It’s a great trail for families, as it’s flat and level and there are spots along the trail where you can get some great views of the lake. 


The trails are well mapped and signed, with other trials leading off into Long Lake Provincial Park.

The trails are open year-round, and can be used for hiking and snowshoeing in the winter. In the summer, canoeing, fishing, kayaking or paddle boarding on the lake is also popular. 

Long Lake is only minutes from downtown Halifax, making it easy to reach for a quick afternoon hike.

Distance: 3.5km – 10 km
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Parking: Available at the lot off Dunbrack St
Washrooms: No facilities
Accessibility: Gravel trail, accessible for strollers and wheelchairs

Salt Marsh Trail

📍806 Bissett Road, Cole Harbour 

This flat, crushed gravel path is another former railed and is popular with cyclists, walkers and runners. In fact, it’s my regular Friday morning long run spot when I’m training for a half-marathon.

salt marsh trail in Cole Harbour Nova Scotia, a trail goes across the salt marsh with a tree in the foreground and a bridge continuing over the marsh

There are distance markers along the trail and it’s an out-and-back trail, so you can go as far as you like before turning back. The first kilometre is forested on both sides of the trail before it opens up and continues across the water.

There’s a good spot near the 1km mark, with a short side trail called Rosemary’s Walk, where you can see into the calm shallow water, and it’s perfect for kids to spy creatures in the clear water.

The trail continues across the Salt Marsh and is flat, with the exception of a few wooden bridges that cross channels.

The trail is a popular spot for birdwatching, as the marsh is home to a variety of birds, including blue herons, bald eagles and osprey. It’s easily one of the best trails in Halifax, and a great spot to take a breath of fresh ocean air. 

The Salt Marsh trail connects to the Shearwater Flyer trail at one end, which adds an additional 5km one way, and the Atlantic View Trail at the other end, which continues to Lawrencetown Beach, and ends up being 20km return from the Salt Marsh Trail parking lot. 

Distance: 6.4km one way
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Parking: Available at three parking lots off Bissett Road 
Washrooms: Portable toilets at the 1km mark. 
Accessibility: Flat, gravel path, accessible for strollers and some wheelchairs

Bluff Wilderness TrailPot Lake Loop

📍2890 St. Margaret’s Bay Road

Looking for a longer hike? The Bluff Wilderness Trail is a 32 km hike in Timberlea, just off the BLT Trail (see below) , comprising of 4 loops.

The first of the four consecutive loops is Pot Lake Loop. You can hike just this loop, or add on another loop or two, depending on how much time you have to hike. Each loop takes around 3-4 hours to complete. 

The beginning of the Pot Lake Loop trail is considered easy, but the remainder of the trail, as well as other connecting loops, are more challenging. There are some technical parts and climbs in elevation, but it wasn’t too strenuous for my 7-year-olds to complete.

The climbs are worth the effort though, as you’re rewarded with some fantastic views over the lake and surrounding area. I’ve hiked this loop in both the early spring and the fall, and no matter the season, I have to say it’s one of the best trails near Halifax.  

Distance: 7.7km
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: Available off St. Margarets Bay Road
Washrooms: Not available
Accessibility: Not accessible

BLT Trail

📍Lakeside Park Drive, Lakeside NS

The BLT Trail, short for Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Trail, is one of the best trails in Halifax, and for a good reason. It’s a multi-use trail that’s part of the Trans Canada trail and connects Halifax to the St. Margaret’s Bay region.

The trail is part of an old railway line, similar to the Salt Marsh Trail, and makes for a flat and easy walk, which is great for families.
*There is one steep downhill section towards the end of the trail.

This popular trail starts in Beechville and continues for 13 kilometres through the communities of Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea, before ending in Hubley. Along the way, the trail passes a few waterfalls and lakes and continues through wooded sections, which are gorgeous in the fall. 

The BLT is a point-to-point trail, so you can turn around at any time, or if you have two vehicles, park one at the beginning and the other at one of the parking spots along the trail.
For a longer hike, the trail connects to the Chain of Lakes trail in Halifax or the Rum Runners Trail in Hubley, which continues all the way to Lunenburg.

Distance: 13km
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (due to length, not technical trail)
Parking: Available at the Lakeside Business Park or various spots along the trail
Washrooms: Not available
Accessibility: Crushed gravel path, which is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs

Duncan’s Cove

📍Chebucto Head Road, Duncan’s Cove NS

Duncan’s Cove is a spectacular coastal hike that easily rates as one of the best hikes near Halifax. It’s a 30-minute drive from downtown Halifax, but well worth the drive. 

This is a gorgeous trail that follows the coast, over rocky terrain and and provides some stunning views of the water. And while you’ll want to take in the views, be sure to keep an eye on your footing! The trail ends at an abandoned WWII observation station, where you can peek inside the structure or sit on the rocks for a snack break before heading back. 

two kids and an adult hiking along the rocks at at Duncan’s cove in Nova Scotia - one of the best hikes near halifax

The trail is not as well-marked as some of the others listed here, in fact, there are no signs at all, so it’s best to check the map online ahead of time.

Use caution as some parts can be tricky and while I wouldn’t recommend it with toddlers, it is doable with slightly older kids – my guys were 7 when we hiked Duncan’s Cove, and while it’s not an easy hike, they had no problems completing it. 

Duncan’s Cove is best hiked in the summer or fall – it is possible to hike year-round, but be cautious with ice and snow in the winter.

Distance: 7.2km trail over the rugged coastline
Difficulty: Moderate 
Parking: Available on the side of the road. Be respectful of local property owners, and only park on Chebucto Head Road, not Gannet Lane
Washrooms: Not available
Accessibility: Not accessible

Musquodobit Trailway

📍90 Park Rd, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS

We only recently discovered the Musquodobit trails, and I’m not sure why it took us so long! It’s a bit of a drive from Halifax, about 45 minutes from downtown, but well worth it! 

Beginning at the Musquodobit Harbour Railway Museum, the trail system includes 5 different trails, of which 3 are loop trails and 2 are point-to-point trails. You can start hiking from here, or park at the official trailhead on Park Road. 

(The Musquodobit Harbour Railway Museum is an excellent place to visit in the summer – explore the railway museum or celebrate your completed hike with an ice cream cone).

boy standing on a rock overlooking the tree line on a hike at musquodobit trailways - one of the best hikes near halifax

The Admiral Lake Loop is one of the most popular trails and climbs through the forest to several lookouts, which offer views of Musquodobit Harbour, surrounding lakes and the coast to Lawrencetown. It’s a great hike in the spring and summer – but be prepared for bugs! And in the fall, it’s absolutely gorgeous with the changing leaves.

Distance: 15km total (Admiral Lake Loop 9.3km)
Difficulty: Challenging
Parking: Available at the Musquodobit Railway Museum or the main parking lot on Hwy 357
Washrooms: Available at three spots along the trail, where the backcountry trails connect. 
Accessibility: Main trail comprises of crusher dust, so is accessible, but the back country trails are not accessible. 

Final Thoughts: Best Hikes Near Halifax

Halifax offers an incredible diversity of outdoor experiences and stunning scenery. From the rugged coasts of Duncan’s Cove to the forests of the Bluff Wilderness Trail or the serene Salt Marsh Trail, each hike has its unique charm. And all of these fantastic trails are within a 45-minute drive from downtown Halifax.

Whether you’re looking for adventure, a family-friendly outing or just a chance to get outdoors, one of these best hikes near Halifax is for you. So lace up your hiking boots or walking shoes, embrace the fresh air and enjoy the incredible landscapes that Nova Scotia has to offer. Happy hiking! 

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