Shut-In Island

Shut-In Island near Halifax, NS

This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars
6 kms
Hiking, Sea Kayaking, Rock Climbing
Summer, Fall, Spring
Halifax, NS
User Seascaper
Shut-In Island is located in St. Margaret’s Bay. It is the largest island in the Bay and has attracted visitors for centuries. It is also publicly owned, thus will remain protected and free from any development. Shut-In is like one huge granite boulder that juts up from the ocean floor and is quite a striking sight. Although much of the island is exposed rock, just as much is forested. The top is covered in low lying shrubs such as fox berry bushes making way for unobstructed views of the Bay.

Shut-In is not far from the mainland but getting there is tricky. Swift currents, waves and a boulderly perimeter make it a challenge to land a boat or kayak so be sure to do your research before going. Locals are a great resource. Otter Cove on the East side is probably the easiest and most sheltered of all locations as the rocks here slope gradually into the water. The West side tends to be very rough with steep edges. There are a couple of camp sites on the island including one at Otter Cove. There is also a spectacular trail that takes you to the top and criss-crosses over the island. Once at the summit, you will have a sweeping 360 degree view of St. Margaret’s Bay and several of its islands. You will find the West side is mostly rock and there are even a few places to rock climb. Shut-In also offers some awesome photography opportunities. If the view isn’t enough to take your breath away, the thousands of seabirds, resident deer and interesting rock formations will.

The Bay also offers several other islands which are popular for experienced kayakers. If not experienced, you can take a guided tour with Sea Sun Kayak located at Shining Waters Marina near the Head of the Bay. While in the area, you may want to visit Peggy’s Cove or the Swiss Air Memorial.

For more St. Margaret’s Bay Island info, you can visit


From Halifax, take Hwy. 103 to Exit 5. Take a left at the top of the ramp (this is Hammonds Plains Rd.). Drive to the end of Hammonds Plains Rd. (about one km) and take a right onto Hwy. 3. As soon as you turn onto Hwy. 3, you will pass an Irving station. Once past the Irving, take a left at the lights onto Hwy. 333 (this is the Peggy’s Cove Rd.) You will drive for approx. 8 kms. Take a right onto Paddy’s Head Road in Indian Harbour. About another km down this road you will emerge to an open area and you will come to a parking area on the right very close to the water. This parking area is used frequently by divers and kayakers. There are other access points to the Bay as well, but this will be the closest one to Shut-In Island.

Please check the bottom of the Description (above left; click) for the author's written directions.

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