Distance: 24 km
Elevation gain: ~600 m cumulativeView mapDownload GPS track
The Bluff Trail is a series of four loop trails in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area near Timberlea, Nova Scotia. The four loops are all connected to one another, meaning you can choose how long to hike. With ample stamina from years of hiking in the Rockies, we decided to hike the outer perimeter of all four loops.
Directions to the trailhead and more details on the area can be found on the website of the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Association
. However, be aware that the trail lengths stated on this website and others are way off. The outer perimeter is listed as being 29 km in length with an additional 1.4 km (700 m x 2) to access the parking area; however, the entire trip was less than 24 km by my GPS. You can download the track above to confirm this for yourself. While our experience in the Rockies may have us hiking a bit faster than most, the required times to complete each loop are a bit ridiculous as well. Signage on the trail is excellent, however, and the trail is well marked with metal flagging.
The scenery on the hike is quite nice, passing by several gorgeous lakes and across extensive barrens. The exposed granite bedrock and glacial erratics are particularly interesting. Later in the year when the leaves are out would be a nicer time to hike this trail though, and the vast hardwood forests suggest the best time would be in the fall. While the initial loop (the Pot Lake Loop) is rather rooty, muddy and rocky from heavy use, this improves in the second loop and by the third loop the trail is in near perfect condition. One negative of the trail that must be mentioned is the near constant noise of Highway 103. For all of loops 1 and 2 and part of loop 3 the highway can be heard, and it is mind-numbingly loud on loop 1. It is surprising how far this noise can travel.