Distance: 8 km
Elevation gain: 145 m View map Download GPS track
The day after our long trek along the North and South Granite Ridge trails
in Musquodoboit Harbour we were looking for something a bit easier to hike. Sandra also wanted to see the ocean, and so we decided to hike around Taylor Head, a finger-shaped chunk of land sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean about 90 minutes east of Dartmouth (about 75 minutes from where we were staying in Porters Lake ). It's distance from the city means it's not crowded at all, despite having a wonderfully sandy beach, picnic area, and of course hiking trails.
Most of Taylor Head is a Provincial Park and there are two main hiking sections: Along the northeast coast and around the end of the head. Each trail is about 8 km long and so we could've done them both, but after completing the hike around the head we chose instead to wander along the sandy beach and relax; this is a vacation afterall!
We hiked around the head in a clockwise direction. Near the beginning we detoured from the marked trail out onto a rocky beach (marked as Patrick's Head on some maps) with the intention of following it around and connecting back up with the main trail, but were turned back by a treed section that was impassable due to deadfall from 2003's Hurricane Juan
. We could've bashed our way through, but thankfully we didn't because the rocky beach on the other side is no longer continuous as a storm has punched a channel through, meaning we would've had to head back the way we came. This detour was still marked on some maps (including some trailhead ones!) so it would have been particularly frustrating!
Returning to the marked trail we made our way towards the head, passing through several long areas of coastal forest that had been flattened by storms (presumably Hurricane Juan) and a trail junction that shortcuts to the other side, bypassing the head and saving 4.5 km of hiking. We continued to the head, at which point the poor forest scenery was replaced by vast coastal meadows that boosted our moods significantly. The area is absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately it was a bit too cool and windy to stop here and so we continued hiking, following the trail as it passed through meadows, along the rocky shoreline, and through short sections of forest before cutting back across the head to the parking lot. The scenery along this section was absolutely wonderful and highly varied, in stark contrast to the storm damaged forest of the other side.
Overall this was another great hike. Best of all, there were absolutely no blackflies! I'd definitely recommend it (most people should be able to do the whole thing; it's only 8 km!), and if you're lucky enough to live in Nova Scotia year-round I'd highly recommend heading out to the beach in the summer. With Martinique and Clam Harbour beaches closer to the city than Taylor Head I would imagine you'd have most of the place to yourself!