This was a fantastic exploration last May (2012) that was a complete loop around the “Birch Cove Lakes Area” (Crown lands of the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes area of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).
A long circuit that began at Starbuck’s on Lacewood Drive and entered the area at the south west corner of the Lacewood Drive and intersection with the 102 highway – just after the underpass.( it’s flagged with pink tape at the corner)
Entering the woods at the intersection we followed the trail counter clockwise around the Birch Cove lakes that are also part of the canoe route that connects these lakes.
You may have hiked Evil Birch, even cycled the Whopper Dropper. But what about in between? Well, those exist, albeit in need of a little attention. I like to call them part of the Suzie’s Lake Trail Complex, as Suzie’s Lake becomes the focal point of these inter-connected trails.
The White Lake Wilderness Ridge Trail is located in Musquodoboit Nova Scotia and runs parallel to the old railway track. The trail forms a loop that returns along the rail trail to the parking lot / trail head for a 19km hike. (Also Known as the granite ridge trail.)
The info shown here is for a hike of half the trail retuning along the rail trail at the halfway point for a total of 19km.
Trail head is at the Musquodoboit Trailway North ( Gibraltar Rock Loop trail – 1.1km). Follow the Gibraltar Rock Loop trail upward for 1.3km and then onto the North Granite Ridge trail for another 9.4km and return on the rail trail another 7.5km. The trail winds its way along the granite ridge, traversing areas of old growth hemlock, ascending a number of lookoffs of the Musquodoboit River Valley and Granite uplands descend to the Musquodoboit Trailway and then return to the Gibraltar parking lot, a total distance of over 19km.
The “Whopper Dropper” is an extensive system of trails behind the Burger King in the bayers lake shopping area. This system of trails was mostly developed and is extensively used by Mountain Bikers but are also used by Hikers. There are many loops and side trails that can sometimes be confusing if following the single track trails.
The trails can diverge in many directions and create many different loops especially on the granite plateau areas directly behind the Burger King. This granite plateau is great for biking and is relatively easy compared to the more “technical” and “difficult” single track trails that extend in many directions.
Terrain is varied from open granite areas with low shrubs and bushes, wooded areas with single track trails that wander through wooded areas that feature stands of pine trees near the lakes and stands of hardwood like Birch and Oak in other areas.
Used extensively by mountain bikers the trail features many technical challenges such as ramps, ladders and ramps built for mountain biking.
Here is some info on a great GPS track sharing and conversion web site that is free to use.
“GPSies.com is a free outdoor track community with worldwide about 1.000.000 trekking, running, walking, cycling, mountainbiking, skating, sailing (and more activities) tracks.”
“GPSies allows you to upload, convert, view and download tracks which have been recorded by a GPS device. Tracks are visible on a map(as in Google earth) and similar options are also available on the site (zoom, satellite or map mode etc.). The tracks are classified based on the mode of transport (by foot, bike, motor and others). Uploaded tracks can be changed by entering the original user id used to create it.”
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 . . .