It’s not a knock your socks off kind of hike

Cape Split Hike in Cape Split Provincial Park

One of Nova Scotia’s great day hikes has got to be the hike to Cape Split, just a 40 minute drive 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.
 |  Leigh Mcadam  |  Destinations

One of Nova Scotia’s great day hikes has got to be the hike to Cape Split, just a 40 minute drive 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.

A view of Cape Split off in the distance
A view of Cape Split off in the distance
The hike to Cape Split
A view of The Spires off of Cape Split

Details of the hike to Cape Split 

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.

very pretty forest walking after about 30 minutes
Very pretty forest walking after about 30 minutes
Beautiful tree limbs can be seen the closer you get to the end of the trail
Beautiful tree limbs can be seen the closer you get to the end of the trail
Some of the side trails near the end of the hike offer VERY airy views
Some of the side trails near the end of the hike offer VERY airy views – exercise extreme caution

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.

The first thing you see at the end of the trail - and the top of it is covered with birds
The first thing you see at the end of the trail ; the top of the rock is covered with birds
The Cape Split hike and people looking precariously perched
People looking precariously perched depending on your vantage point
She made me nervous sitting at the edge
She made me nervous sitting at the edge
Like lemmings to the sea - there's an attraction to the edge
Like lemmings to the sea – there’s an attraction to the edge
I felt like their mother - worrying about them at the edge
I felt like their mother – worrying about them at the edge
Turbulent tidal flow creates standing waves
Turbulent tidal flow creates standing waves

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.

Gulls nesting at the top of the cliff at Cape Split
Gulls nesting at the top of the cliff
Lots of young gulls at Cape Split
Lots of young gulls at Cape Split
The hike to Cape Split is a great one for families & couples
The hike to Cape Split is a great one for families & couples

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

Map of the Cape Split hiking trail
Map of the Cape Split hiking trail
The final piece of the hike to Cape Split leaves you here
The final piece of the hike leaves you at the edge of a cliff

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.

Catch a sunny day and you'll want to hang out at the tip for at least an hour
Catch a sunny day and you’ll want to hang out at the tip for at least an hour
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Leigh McAdam, a Calgary-based adventure travel blogger at HikeBikeTravel.com has over 11 years of blogging and social media experience. She is both an award-winning photographer and two-time author with a passion for adventure, nature, and the outdoors. Her books include Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures and the bestseller, 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta co-authored with Debbie Olsen.


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