Long Lake Provincial Park

Welcome to a site dedicated to the trails found around the northern portion of Long Lake Provincial  Park. Hopefully this site will provide you with some background on the Park and the trails found in it. The Park has become quite popular these days, thanks to the many mountain bikers who have been enjoying it for the past six years (this page was originally conceived in 2000). I believe that the first 'mountain bike inspired' trails first started showing up during the Fall of 1994/Spring 1995. It is no longer our "little secret". Too many bikers parking their cars at the trailhead have taken care of that. While it is true that a few people have enjoyed the park previous to the recent development of trails it is safe to say that they are responsible for the recent “popularization” of the park. Please keep in mind that the majority of this site is for and about the trails located in the northern portion of the park. Information about the rest of the park will be added as it becomes available. This portion comprises about 3% of the total parkland yet receives 90% of the traffic.

While there are some who want the park to be closed off for few, if any to enjoy, most dog walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers have been enjoying the park in relative harmony since 1995. Through cooperation and responsible trail used it is hoped that this will continue. The more people out there enjoying a healthy out of doors lifestyle, the better.

Where is this park? The park that this page is dedicated to is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

While those links may take you to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada they won’t do you very much good should you be in Halifax and looking for the park. Here is how to find the park from the Armdale Rotary:

1.Where is the Armdale Rotary? The Armdale Rotary is a major traffic throughway(not really though) that almost all traffic must negotiate when heading out of or going into the city of Halifax. Since almost all traffic must go through it chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to find your way as far as to the rotary without much trouble. Also, the trail is not very far from the Armdale Rotary. As a matter of fact, it is within biking distance so feel free park your car there.

2. Ok, you’ve found your way to the rotary. You want to take the exit point up the hill to the right called St. Margaret’s Bay Road, also known as Route 3.

3. Follow St. Margaret’s Bay Road (Route 3) up and around. You should go past a motel(on your left) and a Needs/Subway (also on your left). If you have, keep on trucking.

4. You will cross over another street, one that resembles a highway, and then arrive at a set of lights.

5. Go through the set of lights (when green) and proceed down the road a bit farther. You are almost there. After a minute or so you will go past a “Welcome to Halifax” sign on your left. From this sign on down are where cars usually park. Halifax Regional Municipality has recently (April,2000) paid $38,000 to have a parking lot installed so you may as well use it if you’re arriving by car.

Council Minutes, 2000

6. Directly behind the parking lot is a gravel path. This path will take you to a trail system behind exhibition park. It is part of an old turn of the century water system for Halifax. Most people walking their dogs only use this part of the trail and don’t know about the wild network of trails located to the left side of the stream that runs parallel with it. For a pleasant walk on non-gravel all-natural trail head behind the “Welcome to Halifax” sign. Look for a “No Dumping Sign”. There is a trail there. This is one of many ways into the trail.

Other Ways Into The Trail:

a)      Just past the above entrance is another entrance. It is about 250m down the road. You can’t see it by car but if you are biking you will be able to find it. This takes you into a section called “Money Shot”. If you go past “Money Shot” you will come out at “Tracy’s ACL Corner” . This is a good exit if you want to get out in a hurry.

b)      At the lights turn left. Turn left again at the next set of lights(more of a merge actually). Drive along for about 250m. At  streetlight pole #908 there is an entrance to the trail. This is known as “Quick Exit”. At the first “T” intersection you can turn right to take you further into the trail or left to take you out to the Cowie Hill lights. If you turn left to head for the Cowie Hill lights you will come out about 1km down the road from where started (turn left when you come out to pavement). The whole walk should take about 2 hours.

c)      Go past streetlight pole #908 and stop just past the next set of lights. There is a gravel path located between two sets of guardrails. This entrance is pretty wide and easy to follow. It is possible to walk across to the main entrance but make sure you have enough time.


Please remember that these are directions to a trail network located in Long Lake Provincial Park. There are a few entrances to the Park itself which will be added at a later date.

Now that you know how to find the park and the trails found in it, Check out this trail sign that used to be located at the trailhead for rules of conduct while on the trail. The mountain bikers used to post it to encourage responsible trail use but people kept ripping it down. Go figure.

The "Management" Plan

Recently there has been a push on by the Department of Natural Resources to develop a management plan for Long Lake Provincial Park. Below is the text which was submitted by the Mountain Biking Community:


Cyclists/Mountain Bikers have been enjoying the use of Long Lake Provincial Park for a long time, probably long before mountain bikes even existed. Most recent evidence of mountain biking came to light in the summer of 1992 when cyclists enjoyed rides south of Long Lake on the former road referred to as "Old Coach Road". Cyclists/mountain bikers would ride this and the trail which circled around Spruce Hill Lake. During winter months, when the lakes were frozen, cyclists would enjoy rides around Spruce Hill Lake and then take the "pipeline trail" from Spruce Hill Lake down to Long Lake. This was not possible in summer months in recent years due to excessive illegal use of ATVs which eventually deepened ruts and filled them with water in the Spruce Hill Lake area. Cyclists for most part ignore these trails now as they have become too wet and swampy to be enjoyable. Damage from Hurricane Juan has also had an effect on trail use in this area.


Mountain Bike use north of Long Lake was popularized around 1994. A series of trails were constructed between 1994 and 2000 north of Long Lake which became very popular with mountain bikers. These trails were known as singletrack and an emphasis was placed on technical skill over speed. A trail located at the lights of Northwest Arm Drive and the Cowie Hill Connector (probably a road to a rock quarry originally) was enjoyed by some cyclists prior to 1994 but it was not until this trail was connected with trails north of Long Lake sometime between 1994 and 2000 that it gained in popularity. Trail construction dropped off after 2000 as other areas of interest became destinations for cyclists of the Metro Area. Many newer trails are the result of hikers/dog walkers connecting some of the closer trails to one another.


Though mountain biking use has peaked around 1998 and has seen a decline over the following years it is still a popular pastime for many in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The trails of Long Lake have caught the attention of people from around North America. A magazine writer and photographer from New Hampshire have made it a destination point, as have cyclists from South Carolina and British Columbia. Recently, local mountain biker Pat Wright remarked that he couldn't wait for his brothers to fly in from Calgary  and Victoria so that he could show them how great it is to live in Halifax as a mountain biker. Their appreciation of the Park is reflected by those who live here: they could not believe that within cycling distance of the downtown core (or Purcell's Cove, where Pat Wright resides) that they could ride their bikes to such a beautiful trail and Park. And they were from Calgary and Victoria, cycling meccas!


 As such, it is important to maintain and manage the use of mountain bikes in Long Like Provincial Park.  Goals of Management will be to  maintain the ecological integrity of the parkland, minimizing user conflicts, and the maintenance of current and future trails. Adherence to these goals will ensure enjoyment for mountain bikers for years to come.


Steps to realize these management objectives:


a) Provide information for responsible trail use.


The following is the current code of conduct recognized by the International Mountain Bike Association. It has been recognized worldwide for at least 20 years.

Rules of the Trail

The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

1. Ride On Open Trails Only.

Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2. Leave No Trace.

Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trailbed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control Your Bicycle!

Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4. Always Yield Trail.

Let your fellow trail users know you're coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely. Cyclists must yield to hikers. Stop and move to one side of the trail to let them pass. Let them know if there are more people behind you.

5. Never Scare Animals.

All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

6. Plan Ahead.

Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding -- and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. .


This information should be posted at various high traffic trailheads. As well, Bicycle Nova Scotia would also provide this information to its membership. It has done this in the past and probably would do so again if asked.


b)  Maintain a trail patrol

This trail patrol would be maintained by the Long Lake Park Association and consist of mountain bikers and hikers. These people would be identified by a vest. The Nova Scotia Trails Federation is currently developing such a program.

c)  Maintain current trails

Under consultation with DNR trail building authorities, trails should be maintained or improved upon. Steps will be taken to prevent further erosion of trails. Information gathered through surveys, meetings within Bicycle Nova Scotia, and through conversations with trail users suggest that users are interested in maintaining the natural trail floor and that minimal manmade/artificial(ie gravel) trail coverings would be appreciated.


d) Open New Trails as Needed


Currently, no new trails are required. In the future, if use warrants it, new trails may become necessary. The construction of these will be under the guidance of DNR, Long Lake Park Association, and Bicycle Nova Scotia (Mountain Bike Committee).


The emphasis on trail use by mountain bikers will be on what is known as technical trail riding. That is, essentially slow riding (less that 15km/h) over varied terrain of a somewhat difficult nature. Bridges that do exist or are to be built will be created out of necessity (over wet areas etc) and not as obstacles themselves. Also, dirt jumps will not exist in the park.


e) Trails will meet the Nova Scotia Trails Federation guidelines on Mountain Bike Trails


As much as possible, there will be crossover from the guidelines for Natural Hiking  Trails and Mountain Bike Trails. As mentioned, cyclists are looking for as natural environment as possible, this should also meet the requirements of their hiking counterparts. Where possible, current trails will be brought up to this standard.


f) Volunteer Days

Throughout the year there will be days when various users can be brought together to maintain the trails.


g) Signs will be posted at various key intersections showing the fast route out/route out to the main trailhead


h) Organized cycling Events


Cycling events held within the park must be approved by the Long Lake Park Association Executive. These events may not conflict with Nova Scotia's Parks Act or with any other Management Plan guidelines. As well, the event must be sanctioned by Bicycle Nova Scotia and the Long Lake Park Association and Long Lake Provincial Park must be named as a insured parties on Bicycle Nova Scotia's sanction form.


i) Involvement of Local Cycling Clubs


Bicycle Nova Scotia has many cycling clubs within the metro area. These clubs will be used to assist in maintenance and policing of the trail network.



j) Trails will be available to cyclists except in extenuating circumstances where types of use have to be separated for environmental preservation and/or personal safety reasons.


k) Use will be restricted in the early months of spring.


l)  Protection of the environmental asset will take priority over human use, with the greatest emphasis being placed on protecting the most environmentally significant areas


m) Creation of new trails will be discouraged


n) Trail use is to be managed in order to balance access and protection objectives.


Trail use issues will be addressed as site specifically as possible. When an issue arises, a review will take place an appropriate management option(s) will be recommended  for implementation.


i)All users will be treated the same on all trails


j)Education will be the primary tool to encourage proper use of the trails


Appendix A


References to Cyclist/Mountain Biking Use in Long Lake Provincial Park:


References to mountain bike use in Long Lake Provincial Park can be found at the Halifax Regional Library under the following titles:


1. Hiking Trails and Canoe Routes of Nova Scotia (1975), Interntational Hostelling Association, Thompson, Phill, Call # 917.16 H639

2. Trails of Halifax Regional Municipality, Goose Lane Publisher, Haynes, Michael, Call # 917.1622, p30

3.  Mountain Bike! Atlantic Canada, Vanwell Publishing, Bishop/Hale, Call # 917.15 H164m

4. Twenty Minutes to Launch, Darrell, Bryan, Call # 917.1622 D225T

5. Canadian Cyclist, Vol 10, Issue #, Fall/Winter 1999, Story and Photos by Scott Nevin

6. Explore Magazine, October/November 1997

7. October 9, 1999 Letter to the Editor of the Chronicle Herald-Mail Star by Randy Gray, VP Mountain Biking Bicycle Nova Scotia in response to a $38,000 parking lot upgrade(Article Sept 22, 1999)

As well, local trail guides and word of mouth have spread information locally since 1994.





Dog Walkers love the park!

 This is what mountain bikers like:

This is what we don't like. This used to be a trail. But, hikers like to wander around and walk by side or whatever. Now its a 50ft+ wide trail. Thank you, hikers and dog walkers...

Subpages (1): Trail Sign