Cape Split was always one of those trails I hear about, but only recently got around to visiting. Peter, Kris and I braved the impending rain forecast and were rewarding by only overcast skies on our hike.
I always knew this trail would be a bit more mainstream than I'd prefer, and I was right. As soon as we pulled up to the trailhead, the number of cars already parked there was not appealing.
The main trail itself is not much of a challenge either. Mostly uphill at a gentle slope, and estimated to take about 2 hours. We covered it in about an hour and a half. The bugs were no trouble this time around, but unfortunately the trail wasn't of much interest except for a run-down shack.
In short order we arrived at the Cape itself. The trail opens up into a grassy hillside surrounded by cliffs and chasms. The tide was low when we arrived, but the currents were just starting up again as the tidal cycle repeated itself. The longer we hung around, though, the more people showed up.
I'm not one to enjoy crowds, least of all outdoors. I didn't feel quite right being in a place that was so... accessible. Soon enough there were as many people perched all over the hills as there were seagulls.
After exploring the area and settling for a very short break, we made our way along the southern coast of the Cape. The trail was pretty overgrown in places, and clung tightly to the rugged cliff edge, providing many views. Eventually, the trail overlooked a large cove. We spotted another campsite above the rocky beach, as we made our way down to the shore.
After walking along the water and playing among some interesting rocks for a time, we were eventually forced back up into the woods when the water started to come up right against the cliffs. We continued along the inland trail for the rest of the trip. The trail wound its way through the forest and was clearly under-used and poorly marked in sections. We were constantly climbing over or under deadfall every few minutes.
Eventually the trail ends up parallel to the main trail right next to the water. Picking our way through a small swamp and back to the trailhead, we drove off to spend a wet and cold night playing Scrabble in a crowded tent with a pesky squirrel, sentinel of Blomidon Provincial Park.
Off route 1 from Greenwich, take route 358 north. Passing Canning, take the Chapel Road (still the 358) eventually turn left onto the Scotts Bay Road and follow it to it's end. Turn left to Cape Split Road and follow it to the trail head.
Along the way, you'll find a campground and a look off vantage point where you can see the vast plains to the North.
On the southern side of the entrance to Minas Basin, the village of Scots Bay is a 30-minute drive north of Wolfville).
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Posted By: roxy1rose
- Mon Aug 22 08:23:38 EDT 2011
CommentIt's a fantastic hike and photo opportunity. No trail signs and confusing to newcomers. I've hiked this trail in every season, although visitors say there are 2 trails, I've always stuck to the right(north) and followed the gully to the ridge, have never gotten lost this way. Taking unknown paths instead of sticking to the main trail always results in being lost and rescues. Just 2 last month. Some dead falls down. Take care and watch the roots! I was walking pretty swiftly it it took me at least 5 hours- more if your leisurely walking.
Posted By: Jo_onthego
- Sun Aug 21 00:40:09 EDT 2011
UpsideEasy to follow trail, easy terrain. Lots of great looking mushrooms to photograph. Apparently boast awesome views if you manage a day with out the fog (not so lucky for me today)
DownsideDue to high use of this trail it has been progressively getting wider and wider which is disappointing to see. It would be nice to have the trail routing into a more funnel area. I realize the extreme muddy conditions has created this but I still think people shouldn't be trampling down growing plants.
CommentBeing from the west coast of Canada where we have trails with extremely high elevations I found this what we would term as easy. The mud and tree roots cause some resistance and makes for a great leg workout. The trail is very obvious. I was looking for the second trail but it looks like people are not using it. If I were to go again i would make a better attempt to find it as it is dirt and on the left side which boasts more views. All in all I really enjoyed the hike. Took me just under 3.5 hours as there weren't any mountains to climb. Plse people read up on leave no trace and try to practice better trail etiquette for the sake of the nature itself. :-)
Posted By: Dave&Andrea
- Wed Dec 30 15:04:02 EST 2009
UpsideThe change in seasons can add interest and several uses if you've done it before. Main trail is not difficult and does offer a nice view at the end. There are side trips that will take you away from the bulk of the crowd. I'm anxious to overnight in the future.
DownsideThere are many people on this trail, you will have to look to find a nice spot to break and some of the best spots for pictures will require patience to get to.
CommentI know of at least two places off the main trail, one on either side, where there are ropes to take you down to beach. The one that faces Scots Bay I've heard can be camped at overnight as the tide does not come all the way in. This is also a well known area for rockhounding but pay attention to the cliffs and tides.
Posted By: smburt
- Tue Aug 19 16:46:08 EDT 2008
UpsideThe trail has a great Kodak moment at the tip of the cape, and can be mountain biked, hiked and trail run in the drier seasons, and snowshoed and xc skied come winter. I have come across numerous parties who hiked out to camp the night.
DownsideThe trail is pretty tame except for its loose cobble at the trailhead, probably the solution to a boggy start. There are lots of secondary trails that route around muddy spots.
CommentWe hiked this as a day excursion during our stay at Irwin Lake Cottages near Truro. Seemed to take a long time to drive out there, but certainly worth the trip. It was in total, 13K long, we started at 3:45, and returned by 6:30 in the pouring rain. Neat thing is that the tree canopy keeps you mainly dry, but boy were our pants muddy! Detroit (our Dog) loved it!
shannon Burt east coast editor
Posted By: FOGGY
- Wed Jan 31 10:59:33 EST 2007
UpsideA great panoramic view, and a special feeling to the area. A great family or group getaway.
DownsideIt can be crowded out there but crowds give you an opportunity to meet others interested in being "outside".
CommentThis is a great place to see, if for no other reason than to say you've been there. Great hike for beginners or those not physically inclined. I haven't been there at night but I bet it offers some great sounds and star gazing as well as sunsets.
Posted By: M-unit
- Sun Apr 16 11:03:23 EDT 2006
UpsideDefinately an easy trail, amazing views at the very tip! Bring a lunch, you could hang out there for hours!
DownsideAlot of people definately.
CommentHiked it in late September and the weather was perfect! No bugs and great views! Loved the end!
Posted By: mutt
- Tue Apr 26 00:21:37 EDT 2005
Upsideeasy hike, cool view of the tidal change in the bay of fundy/minas basin
CommentGreat in the fall as the bugs dissapear. We hiked it in November of 96 and spent the night on the cliffs above the beach. It was amazing as we had it all to ourselves for the afternoon and of course night (a rare thing we found out on other hikes when we would take visiting family out there to see the tidal surge)
Posted By: snowfighter
- Tue Apr 12 03:22:56 EDT 2005
UpsideAn easy family trail, nice view at the end.
Downsidecan be a lot of other hikers and lots of bugs.
Commentwe hiked it in late summer, it was nice and shaded in the treed area but hot out in the opening at the cape it's self. At that time it was a rough path on private property but now the Government owns it so maybe the trail will be improved.