The tour consists of four main parts: The smallest route is the so called “Pot Lake Loop” and is to be hiked first. Thereupon follows the “Indian Hill Loop”, the “Bluff Loop” and the “Hay Marsh Loop”. There is no need to hike all four loops on this tour at once. On the end of each part, you may take a path back to the starting point of the hike. All tours adds up to a total of about 30 kilometers. The first two loops are 12 kilometers long.
Start by the Cranberry Lake
The four loops are marked with different colors to improve the orientation of the hikers on the trails. Start your tour on the path marked yellow heading south. Follow the path for about one kilometer beside the Cranberry Lake and turn left at a fork directly by the shore, now heading away from the lake. Continue on the trail for about 3.5 kilometers through the forest while passing the eastern side of the Pot Lake.
Switching onto the Indian Hill Loop
Next, you'll get onto the second loop marked blue. You have the choice here: Continue your trip either on the yellow paths back to the starting point of the hike, or take the trails marked blue further into the forest.
Beside the Marsh Lakes
When following the blue paths, you will find yourself on the Indian Hill Loop. These 3.5 kilometer long zigzag paths lead your way through the forest right between the Upper and the Lower Marsh Lake. Thereupon, you will get to the red marked trails of the Bluff Loop. Once again you can decide whether you want to stay on the blue marked trails here or hike the red Buff Loop next.
Hiking through the depths of the forest
Stay on the Bluff Loop for about two kilometers right in the heart of the forest, or so called “The Bluffs”. Afterwards, you'll get to trails of the last loop where it is possible to extend your hike even further. The last loop is named “Hay Marsh” and adds another 8.7 kilometers to your tour. The “Hay Marsh Loop” is the biggest loop of the hike. During this part you will hike around the wonderful Upper Five Bridge Lake. Furthermore, you will get to see many little lakes and ponds that almost look like craters on the forest soil.
A junction towards the Paradise Cove
Towards the end of the fourth loop you will reach a junction to your left, where you can turn to finish your trip with the canoe. The close-by Paradise Cove has a pier for canoes to offer.
Return beside the Frederick Lake
Otherwise continue your hike heading northeast. You will shortly be reaching the third loop of the Bluff Wilderness Trail. Follow the trails for 2.4 kilometers and head onto the Indian Hill Loop, which leads your way back beside the Frederick Lake for the following 4.3 kilometers.
Past the Pot Lake back to your car
Last but not least, the finish line of your hike awaits you. Get onto the first Loop, namely the Pot Lake Loop marked yellow. After 2.5 kilometers you get to the previously known junction from the beginning. Chose the path you came from here to get back to the starting point of your hike.
Where to eat
There are no places to get food on the entire tour. Be sure to bring enough food/ water beforehand!
- With an overall length of 19 miles the hike is among the 5 longest hikes in Canada available on TouriSpo.
- You shouldn’t forget to bring your hiking boots. There are some sections on the trail where sturdy footwear is required.
You may pass these loops differently as well: There are piers for canoes at the southern end of the Cranberry Lake, Frederick Lake and by the Hubley Big Lake. All friends of water sports may jump into a canoe and cross the lake at any pier.
While this is a beautiful hike, it is not an easy hike at the same time – make sure to not over strain yourself at any point. Moreover, be sure to return to the starting point of the hike before the sun is set and therefore plan enough time in for your way back.
Bring sturdy shoes that are ideal for hiking and weatherproof clothes with you. Furthermore, an orientation map and a compass are beneficiary. To be prepared for all possibilities, bring a first aid kit as well as a flash light, too.
Another piece of advice: The hunting season in this area lasts from the last Friday in October to the first Saturday in December. When hiking during this period be especially aware of your environment. Wearing high-visibility clothing during this time is highly recommended.
The Bluff Wilderness Trail is located directly to the south of the Highway 103 in the west of Halifax. There is a parking area for all hikers at the beginning of the trail.
To reach this parking area it is best to take the Highway 103. On it, take exit four and head onto the St. Margaret's Bay Road. Follow the road for the next 2 kilometers in the direction of Halifax until reaching the Bay Self Storage. Right behind the storage you will find the parking area.
After parking your car take the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea Trail to the actual starting point of the tour by the beginning of the Port Lake Loop.