Wolfville Watershed Nature Preserve
Update: March 2016
According to my friend, Mark, the trails are all nicely cleared (late last fall), by the town of Wolfville, with the wildest part still being the far-side of the Havey Trail, which may not get as much use.
Some signage is visible, but it is not permanent, and may not last long.
**WARNING: This hike is not marked. Print off and bring the map along with you! **
UPDATE August 2015: We hiked this trail again in the summer, and had an even worse experience. The trails were overgrown, not labeled and we ended up completely lost. We do NOT recommend taking this hike until conditions are improved.
I had often heard of the Wolfville Watershed Nature Preserve. There are often guided snowshoe hikes or bird watching expeditions that happen here. Funnily enough, I thought this hike was in Wolfville.
It’s actually on the South Mountain in Forrest Hills, behind Gaspereau.
To get there, you can follow the instructions on this map.
In essence, go up past Gaspereau Elementary School. Turn left onto Forrest Hill Road and park at the parking lot at the end (where the road turns to dirt).
There is a big sign and an obvious parking lot to let you know you have arrived.
The trail is not sign posted, so you need to figure out where you are going. It is particular tricky in the winter when the trails are covered, but it is manageable.
As an aside: I am not sure why so many recreation departments cannot spend $50 to paint some plywood triangles or put up some hunting tape, is beyond me!
There are three main loop trails (which could be combined to make more combinations). We decided (or so we thought) to do the Ravine Loop Trail which was listed as moderate.
However, upon meeting some people on the trail (being the Valley, of course I knew them!) we were told where we went astray.
So, I will give you the directions to what you SHOULD DO!
Ravine Loop Trail
When you leave the parking lot, continue walking down the road.
On your left is an orange metal fence.
Turn that way and follow the path along the edge of a field. There will be some great views out over Cape Blomidon.
This trail will connect at a junction.
If you take the left fork in the road, this will take you to the waterfall. It’s gorgeous.
We recommend you walk down to the waterfall (to the log bridge)
and the return back up to this junction path and carry on to what would have been the right fork at the junction.
By returning this way, you will come up in the “centre” path written on the map. It joins up with the main road.
Then turn right to return to your car.
To do the more difficult loop, from the parking lot head down the dirt road.
Go through the triangular-shaped gate.
On the left there will be a trail head. Take that path.
You will come to a junction. This is the same one as mentioned above.
Keep to the right (around a sharp bend).
We were a bit confused because the trail was snow covered and there were a lot of trees down.
Climb over the trees and carry on till you get to the log bridge (as mentioned above) and the waterfall.
It really is beautiful!
Cross the log bridge
and pick up the trail on the other side until it loops back to the main road again.
Turn right and head the parking lot.
Mud Dam Loop (easy)
After passing through the triangular gate, continue down the dirt road.
On the left is the entrance to the harder trail, while on the right, there is a trail to Mud Dam.
This is a short loop – less than 1km, that is flat and takes you to the dam.
When we were there, it was frozen and people were skating!
The perfect place!
The trail hugs the edge of the shore before cutting back to the dirt road.
Turn left to head back to the car.
We mistakenly took the trail down the “centre” of the map (to the start of the Havey Trail) thinking we were on the Ravine Loop Trail (moderate trail).
When we got to the log brook, we could not easily see the trail on the other side, for all the snow.
We ended up hugging the bank and walking along the edge toward an old cement dam from the 1930s.
There, we scaled the side of the bank and joined back up onto the path where we had come down through the “centre” of the map.
It was also VERY icy under foot when we went, so the boys ended up sliding a lot of the way!
There will be a next time. We will go again in the spring to try these trails again.
I recommend going for your first time in the spring (so you can see the paths) and follow my directions.
We are looking forward to following a proper trail and having the footing a bit easier to trod!
All in all, it’s a beautiful place worth exploring!
We went back in the summer, and the trail was much easier to walk!
After visiting the waterfall, we returned to the junction to try the ravine loop.
We followed the map, but did not see any path to loop back to the parking lot. The trail kept going down the mountain. I had remembered that the Local had told me that you could hike to the base of the mountain. We were afraid we were on that path.
We tried to loop back up where we thought there was a path, but once again got completely lost.
And, it was raining.
We returned to the car eventually, based on our good sense of direction. We were soaked, tired and angry. We vowed to NEVER do this hike again until conditions have improved.
Please be safe!