Canada

Nova Scotia

The highlights of running in Nova Scotia, including Halifax, coastal towns, Annapolis Valley, Cape Breton, & more!

Nova Scotia is the most populous of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. It’s a popular visitor destination, especially in summer, known for its quiet fishing villages, beaches, fertile Annapolis Valley, and the spectacularly rugged Cape Breton Island. In this guide to running in Nova Scotia, we focus on some of the more popular visitor destinations, mainly along the coast.  Note we have a separate guide for the Halifax metro area.

Just south of Halifax, there’s wonderful waterfront running in Blandford, Chester, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg. On Nova Scotia’s west coast, we showcase several spots in the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy: Wolfville, Annapolis Royal, Digby, & more. Further south, some nice running in the ferry terminal town of Yarmouth. In Truro, we love running in Victoria Park. There are also good trails for running in Kejimkujik National Park. For Cape Breton Island, the commercial center of Sydney has some nice waterfront running. And although we don’t recommend running on the Cabot Trail scenic drive, there are some nice spots in Ingonish, Chéticamp, and the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail.  We should also point out that there’s an extensive series of rail trails (mostly unpaved) in Nova Scotia. On the east coast, the Rum Runners Trail stretches for 110 km from Halifax to Lunenburg. On the west coast, there are several extensive multi-use trails that are great for off-road running.

Runners should take note of Nova Scotia’s weather. It rarely gets overly hot in summer. Fall is gorgeous. Winters are not as cold and snowy as the latitude suggests due to the ocean influence, but there’s a dramatic distance as you move further inland.

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Some of our favorite runs in Nova Scotia

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Halifax/Dartmouth Area

Nova Scotia

Click here for our separate guide to running in the Halifax-Dartmouth area: several waterfront routes, Point Pleasant Park, a 'runseeing' tour up to the Citadel, Chain of Lakes Trail, Shubie Park, and pleasant residential neighborhoods.
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Chester – Waterfront & Coves

Nova Scotia

Lovely running on the Chester Peninsula. Enjoy several waterfront roads up and down coves, with views of harbours, nice homes, and yachts. For off-road running, enjoy a section of the 35 km Chester Connection trail.
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Mahone Bay

Nova Scotia

A wonderful 10k coastal run on quiet roads, with an option to loop back on a section of the Bay-to-Bay trail. Nice views of Mahone Harbour.
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Lunenburg Waterfront

Nova Scotia

Extensive waterfront running opportunities in this popular coastal town. Run along Back Harbour using First Peninsula Rd. Or, just north of Lunenburg, run along Second Peninsula Rd. as far as Bachman's Beach and then north to Sunnybrook!
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Kejimkujik National Park

Nova Scotia

Huge national park in the center of the province. There are trails for runners of all abilities, including several multi-use trails of moderate length. The park is also popular for canoeing, camping, hiking, and swimming.
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Truro: Victoria Park & More

Nova Scotia

The best running spots in this central Nova Scotia town are the many km of trails in the 3,000-acre Victoria Park. Test your lungs on 175-step Jacob's Ladder! It's also fun to explore the paths around the Dalhousie Agricultural University campus.
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Wolfville & Grand Pré Tour

Nova Scotia

One of our favorite Nova Scotia runs. Enjoy an attractive, historic town, waterfront, dyke road, a multi-use path through vineyards and orchards, and the landscaped grounds of a UNESCO World Heritage site --- all in one run!
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Annapolis Royal Tour and Trail

Nova Scotia

Wonderful 8 km 'runseeing' tour of this lovely waterfront community includes the shoreline, loop around the Fort, Botanical Gardens. and lake trail. For a longer or separate run, Annapolis County Rail Trail goes for many km north or south.
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Digby: Shoreline and Rail Trail

Nova Scotia

Pleasant run along the Annapolis Basin shoreline toward the Digby Cut, which is the entrance to the Bay of Fundy. Water views for most of the route. For a long off-road option, the Digby County Rail trail runs north to Bear River or inland.
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Yarmouth Running Options

Nova Scotia

The best running options in this port town in southwestern Nova Scotia are 4 km along the water, the extensive Yarmouth County Rail Trail that heads north or south of town, and paths around the Cape Forchu Lighthouse.
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Sydney Waterfront & Parks

Nova Scotia

Two good Sydney routes: A 'downtown tour' incorporating the waterfront boardwalk and some nice parks; and a waterfront run on the west side of Sydney Harbour, with an optional loop around Petersfield Provincial Park and the Coast Guard College.
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Nova Scotia’s climate is defined by its proximity to the ocean, which keeps the coastal locations city milder in winter considering their latitude and cooler in the summer. Summers are pleasant, with average highs in the mid-70s (23C), and cool-ish nights. Due to the ocean, it can take awhile for summer to ‘arrive’, with August being warmer than July and September warmer than June. Northern latitude and Atlantic time zone translates into late sunsets in summer.

Fall is a lovely season, and tends to hold on until the end of October. Winters can be very cloudy and wet, with plenty of snow and also lots of ice and rain, with frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Average highs in January are just below freezing, and lows are about 18F (-7C).  Runners should be prepared with proper clothing and Yaktrax. Spring can be frustrating, as the ocean keeps temps cool and skies overcast. One should always be prepared for clouds, rain, and cool temperatures in any season

Run Nova Scotia is a great resource for all things running in Nova Scotia, including group runs, training, road races, and other events.

Running Room is the signature running store in the province, with locations in Halifax and Bedford. Group Runs Wednesday 6:00 p.m. & Sunday 8:30 a.m.

Aerobics First. The other indy running store in Halifax. Turns into more of a winter/ski apparel store in the winter.

MEC is a broader outdoor apparel store that also has plenty of running gear. Sort of like the REI of Canada.  Group Runs: several events each week, including most Thursdays.  Location in Halifax. Schedule

In the rest of the province, generalized outdoor/recreation stores will carry running gear.

Run Nova Scotia is a great resource for all things running in Nova Scotia, including group runs, training, road races, and other events.

Running Events calendar.