My first hike on this trail was in September 2009 – It was about a 7 hour hike and took some pictures along the way. I found the hike organized by meetup.com and decided to join them. It was a good opportunity to do this hike with others who know the hike routes and timing etc. Especially since this was a fairly long hike!
I drove out to check out the trail head and parking area beforehand so I wouldn’t lose time trying to find it in the morning. The trail head is located next to the “Bay Self Storage” at 2894 Saint Margarets Bay Road, Timberlea, NS B3T 1H4 – Great parking area with lots of parking and easy access to the trail.
Notes / Info . . .
Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail – Trail Info and Description
The trail, entirely on Crown Land, begins inside the Woodens River watershed and climbs onto the high ground between the Woodens River watershed and the Nine Mile River watershed to the east.
The trail visits a diversity of granite barrens and woodland forests, and wanders by several lakes and bogs on a path that is suprisingly dry and easy to navigate and follow. That said after an extended rain there can be wet areas in the bogs and adequate footwear and change of socks are recommended!
The trail is in the form of four stacked loops that eventually go around Upper Five Bridge Lake and join with canoe access at Paradise Cove. The trailhead is located on the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea (BLT) trail at a point midway between the Hwy 103 overpass just south of Exit 4 and the northern tip of Cranberry Lake.
The first two loops of the trail (the Pot Lake Loop and the Indian Hill Loop) are about 12 km and take a full seven hours to hike.
The second two loops (called the Bluff Loop and the Hay Marsh Loop) are consecutive loops and make it a flexible hike that can easily be extended simply by opting out of the farther loops. The four loop system covers over 30 km.
The signs at the trailhead emphasize that this trail is for experienced hikers; they warn hikers of some of the potential dangers of wilderness hiking.
The trail has been carefully routed to avoid wet areas and especially vulnerable places. The trail has been made narrow without using human-made structures. No ATVs or bikes use the trail.
For reasons of safety, hikers should carry a map and compass, first aid kit, adequate water and water purifiers, extra layers of warm, dry clothing, rain jacket and rain pants, a knife, emergency matches, and flashlight. The trail is a wilderness trail, designed to challenge and delight the experienced hiker.
The trail passes through many different kinds of flora, including stretches of hardwoods, such as birch, oak, and beech, as well as large black spruce stands, mixed forests, fens, and many open granite barrens. The lichens covering the granite rocks are old and the uncommon Mountain Sandwort plant can be found on the rock barrens.