About V Van

I am a nature enthusiast and love hiking. I a a pelvic floor health nerd and owner of www.mypelvichealth.ca where I blog about pelvic pain and recovery.

McNabs Island – Paradise near Halifax, Nova Scotia

McNabs Island – Paradise near Halifax, Nova Scotia

Taylor Made Tours Dog

Just a short boat trip from various points in the metro area, military and history buffs, birders, hikers, and photographers will be delighted to visit the natural surroundings of McNabs Island. Pack a lunch and allow for at least 4 hours to view this lovely spot just minutes from Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

According to Wikipedia, McNabs Island is the largest island in Halifax Harbour located in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada.The islands are located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia. The Fort, played a major role in defending Halifax Harbour and is now a provincial park. The island was first settled in the1780s by Peter McNab, and McNab family members lived on the island until 1934.

McNabs Forts

McNabs Island contains many forts belonging to the “Halifax Defence Complex” including Fort Ives (built 1864), Fort Hugonin (built 1899), Sherbrooke Tower, and Fort McNab. There are many historic features still around including the foundations of several houses built by early settlers, remains of a turn of the century picnic ground, cemetery, soda pop factory, and much of the Fort and it’s various buildings. Numerous military fortifications can be found, including Fort McNab, Fort Ives, Fort Hugonin and Strawberry Battery. The Battery was built in 1939 and guarded the submarine net between the lighthouse and York Redoubt during WWII.

Who owns McNab’s Island?

Today, of McNabs Island’s total area of approximately 980 acres, the Province owns 62 percent, the Federal Government 35 percent, and 3 percent is privately owned. Friends of McNabs Island Society a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, help to preserve and promote McNabs Island as a Nature Park and Outdoor Classroom. There are a few permanent residents living on the island.

Camping? How to Get There

You can camp on the island, but should go to the Nova Scotia Provincial Parks website for more information. We like to use Steve Taylor from Taylor Made Adventures for our trip over. He and his dog are very accommodating – he is also a great resource about the island.

We like to go over on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. You can see deer, if you are quiet, and plenty of birds and the changing colours of the trees and ferns. There are tons of trails, so you could spend the entire day on the island. The deer tend to come out after 5PM, so if you are around then, look for them. Beware of droppings, as there are lots. 🙂

Map of the Island

Map – McNabs Island – Halifax

McNab’s Island Services

Be reminded that McNabs Islands has limited services. Drinking water is not available on the island. Pit toilets are situated at several locations. There are no waste management facilities on the island. It is pack-in and pack-out for garbage and recyclables. There is cell phone service on the island.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of this most remarkable island. As always, comments are welcome. This site is used to inform others of places to hike in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia.

Here are some other blogs/articles about McNabbs Island for your reading pleasure.

Eliot Wright Blog

Nova Scotia Blogs 

The Coast 


Blue and Healy Falls

FallsThis was a very interesting hike for my husband and I. We got to experience our first ticks! Lovely beasts. But it was well worth the shots and the experience of hiking to these falls.I must admit we did allot of bushwhacking and I have no idea where we really were. My husband had a Garamond so I just followed him around like a lost puppy.

I do remember falling down a hill, teetering over ravines and wondering whether 911 would work on my cell phone or not. But we did it. So my review (which is not much of a review) is to go on the Trailpeak website and get the scoop from Ben LaLonde. This guy is an avid and experienced hiker. When he says the trails are easy, my husband and I just laugh. The last suggested easy trail we did my husband wondered if we should take up rock climbing or not. This guy is fearless, adventurous and loves to bushwhack! He does say these are moderate trails, so beware!

We do so love hiking the waterfall trails as we like to walk up the creek/river beds and also eat on the rocks that are in or near the water, if we can. It is so amazing eating your lunch in a river bed with the sun shining through the leaves, listening to the sounds of water rushing off the rocks.

I hope you enjoy the pictures (which do not do it justice –  as I put the A in amateur) and have the opportunity to get out there.

Nealy Brook Falls

Directions: Highway 1 in Middleton, head west and turn right on Mt. Hanley Rd. Continue on Mt Hanley Rd, up the North Mountains and then turn left at the T intersection (you are now facing the Bay of Fundy). Continue through the village of Port George and turn right on the dirt road at 44.999530°, -65.138351°. Park at the bridge and start walking upstream.

Blue Falls

Directions: Highway 101 to exit 18A. Victoria rd North and then on highway 362 north until you turn left on Delusion Rd. Follow it through the village of Port George and as it is renamed Shore Rd. The first part of the hike starts at 44.965842°, -65.213362° while the second part starts at ; 44.956209°, -65.206216°

Duncan’s Cove Coastal Trail

More Rocks and Ocean

Duncan’s Cove is a small rural community located on the Chebucto Peninsula approximately 20 minutes from Halifax, Nova Scotia off Route 349.

Duncan’s Cove began as a small fishing community in approximately 1752. The cove was named after Admiral Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan who defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Camperdown. From my understanding, during World War Two, the area around Chebucto Head, including Duncan’s Cove, became a fortified coastal battery. A four-story concrete director tower was built near the eastern shore of Duncan’s Cove to house these cannons. The battery complex was then decommissioned in the 1950s but many bunkers remained. We saw two of them on our hike. Continue reading

Polly’s Cove Trail

Polly's Cove TrailPolly’s Cove is situated 2km from the entrance to the world famous Peggy’s Cove, or just after West Dover on the left side of the road, if travelling from Halifax.  There are no signs – so be on the lookout for a dirt parking area large enough for a couple of cars.  From Polly’s Cove you have plenty of room to explore, while also getting a spectacular view of Peggy’s Cove, albeit on a clear day. The rugged beauty, and amazing views of the Nova Scotia coastline, make this one of our favourite hikes. Continue reading

Gaff Point Trail

Gaff Point Trail

Gaff Point is a fabulous place to experience some of Nova Scotia’s unique and rugged coastline. It is 124 acres of unspoiled land that separates the LaHave estuary and Hartling Bay. It consists of marine, terrestrial and wetland ecosystems. The trail is off the beaten path with some utterly fantastic scenery with a mixture of beach, estuary, forest and rugged coastline. The beach is incredibly rocky and the waves where large and loud the day we were there. Boogie boarding here in the summer/fall would be a blast. I would bring bug repellant as there are some wet areas. Kudos to Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy, Nova Scotia Nature Trust and Nature Conservancy of Canada who have joined forces to protect this area and maintain the trail. Continue reading