Active Greenways: Halifax to Tantallon

9 Aug

What do you do with railways that aren’t in use anymore?  Turn them into an active transit greenway that will get you all the way from Halifax to Lunenburg.  It started with a trip to ‘cheap movie night’ at the Bayers Lake Empire Theatres.  The trail not only got us there quickly, but it made our movie night feel like more of an adventure (and helped us excuse all of the movie theatre treats).  Since then, we’ve been taking progressively farther rides.

The first part of the trail, the one that takes you to the park, is the Chain of Lakes Trail.  As indicated by it’s name, it runs along the Chain Lakes  and Bayers Lake.  These lakes are gorgeous but please resist the temptation to dive in as these are the municipality’s back-up water supply.  Chain of Lakes runs parallel to Joseph Howe Drive in the west end of the Halifax core area, before turning west at Springvale Avenue.  You can access the trail here, at the Ashburn Golf Course entrance and at Crown Drive off the St. Margaret’s Bay Road.  The trail is newly paved in some sections and crusher dust in others.

There are a couple times when you have to cross streets that can be pretty busy in the Bayers Lake Business Park, but there are partial barriers to get you to slow down and indicate the crossings.  From the Armdale Roundabout, this trail is about 4.5km long.

Once you get past Bayers Lake, the route becomes the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea (BLT) Trail.  This section is all crusher dust and includes benches where you can relax lakeside.  These lakes can be swam in so pack your swimsuit and a towel.  You can check out info on these lakes from our Bus Route #21 post.  This 7km section is also more wooded than much of the Chain of Lakes Trail and, from our experience, a little less crowded during peak times.  There is a parking lot at the Bayers Lake end but it does seem to often be full.

When you get past Timberlea, you switch to the St. Margaret’s Trail.  This one is mostly packed earth so we recommend being careful on rainy days.

However, this is probably the prettiest of the three routes so it is worth the trip out here.  There’s the added bonus of the trail connecting to the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail.  There is a bike rack conveniently located at the head of this trail.

This 33km section  is the most heavily wooded in some areas and has the most spectacular lake views.  We found ourselves feeling pretty envious of the people who lived in the area.

On our most recent trip we took all three in an attempt to reach the Bike & Bean Café in Tantallon, part way along the St. Margaret’s Trail.  After a 25km bike ride, Gillian’s furthest ever, we got there to find out it had closed early for Natal Day.  However, we thoroughly enjoyed the ride and are glad to have an excuse to take it again.

To find out more about HRM’s greenways, check out http://halifax.ca/trails/.

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13 Responses to “Active Greenways: Halifax to Tantallon”

  1. the audacious amateur blogger August 9, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Nice! I really need to start biking!

    • The Local Traveler August 9, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Drews been cycling for years but I’ve only just started. I though I would never like it but it’s becoming more and more enjoyable, especially on beautiful routes like this one.

  2. Jon August 9, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Next time you are in the valley, whats the chances you want to do a review of a trail (like how you did this one, and guest blog it on a website I have started for the Valley (annapolisvalleynews.com)

  3. audiophileparadise August 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Finally! 🙂 A fellow biker! You know, there aren’t many of our kind left on planet earth anymore! 😦 ..The thrill you get when you bike is too good for words; but these are things only true bikers can experience, aren’t they? ;)… Awesome post! Keep it up!!

  4. artzent August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    A wonderful adventure and the photos are just lovely!

  5. PlantBasedDietAdventures August 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Wow those pictures are gorgeous! What a great ride! What a great reminder to bike now and then to our destinations 🙂
    PlantBasedDietAdventures.com

  6. tauromaja August 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    That bike is too small for the person in that first photo. Is that you? Wasn’t it uncomfortable riding like that?

    • The Local Traveler August 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Haha it is me! Not sure if it was the way the photo was taken, or if I just don’t know what a proper bike should feel like (I am new to biking), but I didn’t find it uncomfortable.

      • tauromaja August 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

        Hey there! Like they say in my neck of the woods, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So if it doesn’t hurt, don’t worry. BUT if you do get the inkling, go to your local bike shop and have them help you find the right size. I think the frame may be a little too small but more than anything, you may need to raise your seat. The reason I say this is that your leg when it is in the downward pedal stroke, should be a bit more straight than how it is in the photo.

        I hope to get out there one day and bike that. It looks absolutely fabulous!

  7. Victoria | Haute August 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    It must be so peaceful to bike here…it looks heavenly!

  8. ibdesignsusa August 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Great pictures and enjoyed the post. Thanks for visiting my blog, also.

  9. kristaspurr August 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I love the Chain of Lakes Trail. I’m a walker and when I tell people that I walk to Bayer’s Lake from my house, they think I’m nuts. Or lying.

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