For many people the hiking season ends when the snow starts to fly. But it…
One of Nova Scotia’s great day hikes has got to be the hike to Cape Split, just a 40-minute drive away from Wolfville. It’s not a knock your socks off kind of hike – that is until you get to the end of the trail. And then the views will literally take your breath away.
Find a comfortable spot in the grass once you’ve hiked to the headland at Cape Split. Sit back and admire the Spires and the offshore rock stacks along with the crazy currents and standing waves where the waters of Minas Basin meet those in the Bay of Fundy.
Details of the hike to Cape Split – which changed in 2021
In 2021, there were some big changes to the Cape Split trail. It is now possible to hike it as a 13.2-kilometre loop trail though both old growth and coastal conifer forests while enjoying views of both the Minas Basin and Scot’s Bay.
The main hike (as opposed to the more treacherous but not recommended hike along the coast) takes you inland for 8 km all the way to the tip. For the first 30 minutes or so it’s really not very interesting.
But then you start to climb a bit and the woods thin presenting a forest with a much more open feel. Plus you start to get peek a boo views of the water. I can well imagine in fall once the leaves are gone that it would have quite a different feeling. For two weeks in May the wildflowers through the woods are supposed to be excellent. Keep an eye out for the Cape Split Purple Trillium in the spring.
There are a number of side trails off the main trail – taking you out to a cliff edge. Exercise extreme caution as these cliffs are continually eroding and not very safe.
It really isn’t until the very end of the hike that you get the view – and it’s the whole reason for doing the hike in my opinion. On a Sunday afternoon, there were probably two dozen people up enjoying the scenery along with a picnic lunch.
Bird watching at Cape Split
The gulls were in abundance – but the little ones still hadn’t learned to fly. I saw a few of them make a couple of feeble attempts but not much happened – and rather a tough start to flying when you’re at the top of a 200 and some foot cliff.
Cape Split hike details
Although the hike to Cape Split is reported to be eight kilometres one way it doesn’t feel that long. In fact the signs suggest allowing 4-5 hours but I did it quite comfortably in 75 minutes each way. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail. I saw one idiot on an ATV and I have to think he was breaking the rules though he said otherwise.
When and if you go try to time your arrival at the tip with the mid-point of the incoming tide. The turbulent tidal currents can be heard for miles – and have been called The Voice of the Moon.
Look for agates
And as a side note, it’s possible to find agates around the shores of Cape Split – but because of the huge fluctuation in tides its worth going with someone who knows the area and the hazards. On the beach where Little Split Rock is the dominant feature, you can find agates as the tide drops because they glisten when they’re wet.
Cape Split Trail Map
Directions to the trailhead
Leave Wolfville on Highway NS-358N. Stay on it until you reach Scot’s Bay. Then turn left (west) on Cape Split Road and follow to to the trailhead. It’s about a 35 minute drive from Wolfville.
For more information on Cape Split, visit the Nova Scotia Parks website.
More Nova Scotia reading
- 25 Things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia
- A Biking Guide to the Cabot Trail
- Kayaking the Bay of Fundy in the Cape Chignecto Area
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