Bloggers Sara & Brent from Dashboard Living share their favorite trails for snowshoeing and winter hiking .
Hiking has always been a big part of our lives (and our relationship). In fact, one of our earliest dates was a weekend hiking trip and since then it’s been one adventure after another. Snowshoeing, for us, started out as a way to extend the hiking season but quickly turned into one of our favorite activities.
Here in Nova Scotia, we’re lucky enough to have hundreds of beautiful trail systems scattered throughout the province. Whether you’re a novice looking for something easy to get your feet wet, or a more experienced adventurer looking for your next big challenge, Nova Scotia’s got it all.
And winter is a spectacular time to get out on the trails. There’s nothing like the silence of the forest after a fresh snowfall but not all trails are best suited for winter use. Here are 10 of our favorite Nova Scotia trails for snowshoeing and winter hiking to get you started.
Mi'Kmawey Interpretive Trail is a 4.2 km loop trail located near Debert, Nova Scotia. It’s technically considered moderate but I would categorize it as fairy easy with no substantial elevation aside from a few short stair cases throughout. Pet Friendly.
Pot Lake Loop is a 7.4 km popular trail located in the HRM (near Timberlea, Nova Scotia). It’s part of a series of stacked loops that make up the Bluff Wilderness trail system so you can elect for longer treks if you choose. Pot lake loop is the first of the 4 consecutive loops so bring your map and watch for the turn point. This trail is considered moderate in difficulty. Pet Friendly.
Franey Trail is one of the most popular trails on the cabot trail, eclipsed in popularity only by the Skyline trail. It’s a 7.2 km well used loop located near Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia. This trail is steep in sections and, as such, would be considered moderate to difficult for most hikers. Pet Friendly (leashed only).
The Skyline Trail Loop is a 9.5 km heavily trafficked loop trail also located along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s the most iconic of Nova Scotia’s hiking trails and offers easy trekking with no significant elevation which makes it accessible for beginners to advanced hikers alike. You can also elect to hike in and out (rather than completing the loop) to shorten the distance to approximately 8km. No Dogs.
Uisge Bàn Falls keeps us in Cape Breton (last one, I promise) and offers a short 2.7km well maintained out and back trail. The trailhead is well marked and located near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. It features easy trekking with no substantial elevation and boasts an impressive waterfall. Pet Friendly.
High Head Trail is a 6.0 km loop that can be accessed by Ski Wentworth in the Wentworth Valley, Nova Scotia. While it has a reputation for being under-maintained, that’s no longer the case. The trail is well-marked and well-trafficked making it a perfect compliment to your winter hiking bucket list. I wager, you’ll find few better winter look-off’s on the mainland of Nova Scotia. Pet Friendly.
Victoria Park Reservoir Trail is a 7.9 kilometer loop located in Truro, Nova Scotia. Victoria Park is a popular central Nova Scotia attraction but most visitors spend their time in the lower sections of the park. Venturing up to the reservoir (accessible by Woods road) gives you access to fabulous snowshoeing & winter hiking opportunities. Pet Friendly (leashed).
Rogart Mountain Hiking Trail is a 6.3 km loop trail located at Sugarmoon Farm in Earltown, Nova Scotia. It’s considered a moderate trail with one climb at the beginning (if you’re traveling clockwise) as well as a waterfall and look-off’s. Most appealing though, is the reward of a hot pancake breakfast at the sugar shack when you’re done! Pet Friendly.
Shubie Park Full Loop is the most accessible winter hike on our list. It’s an easy 4.0 km loop in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia that is well trafficked, well-marked and good for all skill levels. Pet Friendly.
Fitzpatricks Mountain Loop is a 15.0 km loop located in Scotsburn, Nova Scotia. This trail is long but can be shortened by simply making in and out and back and choosing your distance. Due to its length, it would be considered moderate, however there are no significant elevations to worry about and the forest setting is quite beautiful in the winter.
Sara & Brent MacIsaac are the duo behind the Dashboard Living website and brand. They have been exploring Atlantic Canada (and beyond) for the past 6 years and sharing the best of travel, food and drink with their audience. With a passion for authentic experiences and off-the-beaten path adventures, they’ve been dubbed “Atlantic Canada’s Travel Ambassadors”. They share their adventures on their blog, on social media, on radio and in print publications