This is a great hiking area located at the entrance and parking lot for the Maskawa boat club (Kearney Lake Road) that leads into the Birch Cove Wilderness area and features well marked trails that access multiple areas of the “Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area” about .7 km from the trail head.
The trail begins on provincial land leased by Maskwa Aquatic Club and features plenty of parking at the trail head (91 Saskatoon Drive). Before you begin you may wish to get a map of the trails since there are many loops and trails that “criss cross” and you can end up doing circles if you are not familiar with the trail system. This is even more important if you are checking out the trails farther in such as Ash Lake and Fox Lake areas.
Terrain is varied and hilly with some of the more challenging hills in the Halifax region. There are trails that do not climb all the hills so it is really a matter of choice if you prefer to avoid some of the hills.
If you are looking for variety these trails offer a lot, passing through rocky pine forest, marshy wetlands, hardwood stands and granite plateaus and offering hill tops views, you won’t be bored with the range of terrain these trails pass through.
Hikers can enjoy the trail to Charlies Lake Loop, enjoy the Charlie’s Lake Look off or climb Paddlers Ridge with the reward of seeing Charlies’ and Kearney lakes from the top. In the spring hikers enjoy the many wildflowers in bloom including Lady’s Slipper, Mayflower, Trillium, Pitcher Plant and native orchids. With a wide variety of birds, this series of trails is great for eager bird watchers who don’t mind the climb up the steep slopes. In the summer many hikers cool off in the waters of either lake. In the fall the leaves change colour on Paddlers Ridge. In the winter Maskwa’s Loop and Popcorn Island Loop trails continue to be well traveled and hikers and snowshoers share the wider trails.
Hikers looking for longer hikes and that wish to explore deeper into the Birch Cove Wilderness can follow the Hobson’s Lake Trail to access other trails such as the Ash Lake Loop and the Fox Lake areas and even connect to the Evil Birch Trail that is a popular Mountain bike trail located behind the Washmill Rock Quarry.
Trail Head and Access to Trails
Main – Maskawa boat club (parking Area) – 91 Saskatoon Drive
Alternate Access – Colins Road, Hamshaw Drive