Hiking gets you up close to the natural beauty of Nova Scotia. On Brier Island the hiking trails give you a chance to see the jagged basalt coastline, observe grassy bogs, listen to the birds, and admire high seaside cliffs. Oh, and don’t forget to stop and smell the wildflowers along the way.
Conditions can get muddy after rain. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended. Take sunblock, sunglasses, a hat, bug spray, and enough water for your hike. Be prepared for gulls flying overhead, bright sunshine, and breathtaking views.
The distance and terrain varies for each hike on Brier Island, so there’s a trail for you no matter what your age, ability, or ambition.
If you prefer a guided hike over a DIY adventure, contact North Star Nature Walks, out of Brier Island Lodge. Organized by Robert Galbraith, a professional nature photographer and photojournalist, tours can be organized by phone or email.
Brier Island Hiking
To Seal Cove
From the North Lighthouse, this easy walk along rolling grassland and rocky coast brings you to Seal Cove, where a colony of seals can be found sunning themselves on rocks and making plenty of noise. We recommend most visitors take this short, non-strenuous hike; getting to Seal Cove is Brier Island hiking at its best. Visiting at low tide is a must if you want to see the seals.
For ambitious & experienced hikers, continue past Seal Cove and the trail will lead you all the way to the West Lighthouse.
Click here for photos and details of hiking to Seal Cove
The Coastal Trail
This 4km / 2.5mi (one-way) hike is maintained by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), and leads through the NCC-administered lands on Brier Island. Start at either West Lighthouse or Pond Cove, and follow the trail through seagull nesting grounds, past boggy ponds, and along the coast where you can see seals and (if you’re lucky) whales.
Click here for photos and details of hiking the Coastal Trail
Hiking (All the Way) Around Brier Island
Hiking around the island is possible, but it’s only for the experienced and prepared. At 25km (15.5mi), this hike takes you around the entire coast of Brier Island. You’ll see the landscape change from grass in the north, to basalt rock in the south.
Long Island & Digby Neck Hiking
As you drive through Long Island & Digby Neck on the way to (or from) Brier Island, take a break and stretch your legs on one of the hiking trails.
Photos and details for all the following hikes can be found in the Long Island & Digby Neck section of the Brier Island Guide.
A natural wonder, Balancing Rock is a 9m (30ft) column of basalt balancing upright on its edge. The trail is well maintained, partially board-walked, and mostly level. Once you reach the coast, over 200 steep wooden steps take you down to a viewing platform.
Central Grove Provincial Park
After a short hike through dense forest, over a wooden bridge, and out to the coast, you’ll reach a wooden viewing platform on the rocky beach. It’s a nice place to rest and enjoy the view of the Fundy coast where you can see Brier Island in the far distance.
Fundy View Trail
The Fundy View trail leads you over a hill to viewing platforms, before reaching (and following) the Freeport coast. Along the coast you can admire the aptly named Beautiful Cove, or wait for the sunset as it lowers over nearby Brier Island.
Outside of Freeport follow a gravel road that turns to a wooded path, that leads to Dartmouth Point. Here, the towering basalt columns (similar to Balancing Rock) are still sharply defined. This is a great spot for photos of columnar geology.
Gulliver’s Cove: High Cliff Cove Look-Off Trail
Not too far from Digby, this level, grassy coastal trail is an easy walk, and has picnic tables, benches, and an impressive view of – what else – high cliffs.