If you love hiking on the coast then you are going to love the Taylor Head trail system. This provincial park is a wonderful 18 km network of 4 hiking trails located on a peninsula that juts out almost 7 km (4 mi) into the Atlantic Ocean.
This is a fairly isolated place so be well prepared if you plan to make the trek. But it is worth the trek. This trail system is a must visit for any serious hiker living in or visiting Nova Scotia.
The main trailhead is very well organized with informational panels explaining the park system and laying out the different hiking trails. The panels will tell you the length of each trail as well as information on the different fauna that you may see.
Directions: The park is located about 110 km (63 mi) east of Halifax on Highway 7. It is 11 km (7mi) southwest of Sheet Harbour and .4 km east of Spry Bay. It took me about 1.5 hours to drive from Halifax to the park.
If you look on a Nova Scotia map you’ll see that the park is on the province’s Eastern Shore on the Marine Drive.
You’ll see a large sign on Highway 7 indicating the park. Follow the 5 km dirt road to the last parking lot area.
Trails in Park: There are 4 hiking trails in the park. I have included a picture of one of the information panels that clearly shows these trails. My suggestion is always to have an idea of which trails you wish to do before you arrive.
Hopefully, my information will help you to plan for your hiking day.
The Taylor Head trails are:
Level of Difficulty: I would rate all of trails in this park as mostly moderate. However, if you want to do the 5 hour options or decide to do more than 1 trail then I would move this to challenging simply due to the distance & time needed.
Food/Water: Water is always necessary. I can’t imagine that anyone would spend less than 3 – 4 hours on the Taylor Head trails. So, I would definitely suggest taking food. There are picnic tables near the beach area and there are also benches along the trails.
Not to mention the numerous boulders along the coast that would serve very nicely as lunch/rest areas.
Clothes/accessories: The weather along this coastline can be very unpredictable. Check the weather forecast beforehand. A sweater or light jacket and raingear is a good idea. Taylor Head can be very windy and the clouds can move in very quickly.
Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are a must; walking stick for balance along the rocks; and, don’t forget the binoculars and camera. Remember there is also a beach area in the park so you might be interested in bringing along your swimming attire for a cool dip in the ocean after your hike.
Facilities: Picnic area, boardwalk to sandy beach, pit toilets, change house, information panels. There is a parking lot not far from the entrance to the park. This is near Bull Beach. There are pit toilets there. The second parking lot is at the end of the dirt road where the main trailhead is located. There are also pit toilets there.
I decided to do the Headland Trail (which also covers part of the Spry Bay trail) when I was there. I wanted to hike to the very peak of Taylor Head so I could see the full views of the ocean that I read about in various hiking books.
To be honest, it took me quite a long time to get to my ultimate destination. Simply because there were so many places to stop, take some pictures and enjoy the views of the ocean and the sounds of the crashing waves. I wasn't in a hurry so I took my time and just let it soak in!
The trail itself was in very good shape although it was wet in places. I would definitely recommend hiking boots for this hike. The trail is good but there can be some uneven footing just because of the amount of rocks in the area.
It was cool, cloudy and misty on the day that I went to Taylor Head. Being on the coast I knew that there would be a possibility of rain so I was fully prepared. Well, to my delight, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It was still windy but an awesome day for a hike along the coast.
Every corner that I turned seemed to give me a view of a new cove and a new pebble beach. As I hiked further I could see that the waves were getting bigger and louder. This made sense as I was going further out from the shore and closer to Taylor Head itself.
I went down to the pebble beach several times just to get closer to the water. Even with the waves crashing it was very peaceful. You can access the water’s edge at several points along the trail. Just watch where you descended from the tree line so you can easily find the trail again.
The view from Taylor Head itself was spectacular. It was one of the most beautiful coastal views that I have seen in Nova Scotia. The headland is quite barren simply due to the wind, the ocean spray and the elements. I lingered for a long time.
There is a great view of a sand bar which I thought was quite interesting. The wide open Atlantic Ocean was before me but there was still a sandbar.
After taking a ton of pictures and having my lunch I decided that it was time to head back. Instead of completing the loop as was my original intent I decided to return by the same trail. I wanted to stay on the coast and enjoy it from a different viewpoint.
It was still beautiful and I was not disappointed.
I made my way to the sandy beach and got on the Beachwalk Trail as I approached the end of my hike. This is a beautiful unspoiled sandy beach. The little inukshuk that I found was a great way to approach the beach.
This is the place to be if you want to spend the day hiking and then take a cool dip on a gorgeous beach. It is also a good option if you are several people and some want to hike and explore and the others wish to stay on the beach. This really is experiencing Nova Scotia at her best.
I was able get back up to the parking lot and my car via a boardwalk from the beach. This is very well done and I really appreciated the care that was taken to get folks from the beach area to the parking area.
Taylor Head is only 1.5 hours from Halifax so it can easily be a day trip. I felt far away from the busyness of the world at Taylor Head. It really is isolated and untouched. A truly awesome place to spend a day!
There are plenty of places for you to stay overnight in the area. Sheet Harbour has several B&Bs and inns. Musquodoboit Habour is not far and also lovely place to stay overnight.
There is also a campground at Spry Bay. I stopped in to check out the campground at Porter's Lake and it looks awesome BUT you must book ahead.
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