Cape Split Hike to Astounding Views

Cape Split Provincial Park in Nova Scotia features two trails with fantastic lookouts. The Minas Basin Trail and the Scots Bay Trail make up a loop that attracts hikers of all ages. The Cape Split hike leads hikers from many lookouts over the Bay of Fundy to the end of the point where there are surprising rock formations and the endless sea. 

About Cape Split Hike

Length

13 km Loop

Level

Moderate

Trailhead

Cape Split Rd.

Gain

350 m

Time

3 hours

Children

appropriate

Where

Scots Bay, NS

Dogs

on a leash

Where is Cape Split Provincial Park?

Cape Split Provincial Park is located near Scots Bay in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. 

From Halifax – Follow NS-101 W for approximately 80 km to the NS-358 N for 35 km to Scots Bay. This trip is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The park is open year-round, but it is unserviced and unstaffed.

Save it for later

Rock pillars of the Cape Split Trail Lookout
les pilliers rocheux de la randonnée du cap Split

Cape Split Trail

The Trailhead

The parking lot for the Cape Split Hike is located at the end of Cape Split Road. It is a large gravel lot with picnic tables and vault toilets. The trailhead is at the far right of the lot on the North side.

vans and cars in the parking at the Cape Split Hike trailhead with Scots Bay in the background

Cape Split Trail Description

The Minas Basin Trail and the Scots Bay Trail can reach Cape Split. The two trails now connect to make a loop giving hikers a third option while hiking in Cape Split Provincial Park. Most of these two trails are wide and well-maintained. You can expect some ups and downs but nothing steep. It is perfect for a walk in the woods or even a trail run.

It is at least 12 kilometres to the viewpoint, depending on your path. Make sure to have enough water and appropriate clothing. A decent pair of hiking shoes is also necessary. Expect to encounter mud, especially if it has rained in the last few days before your hike. I also recommend snacks to enjoy at the viewpoint. Here are some hiking snack ideas.

The large dirt-packed Cape Split trail in the forest.
A hiker walking on a footbridge on the Cape Split Trail in the forest.

Minas Basin Trail

The Minas Basin Trail is 6 kilometres and the most direct path to the Cape Split viewpoint. This trail follows the east ridge of the mesa. It is a well-maintained trail, mostly wide with some narrow parts. It wanders under the forest canopy. There are a few lookoffs along the way. Some are overgrown, and even standing on my toe tips; I could not see above the brush. The unobstructed lookoffs over the Bay of Fundy offer views of the clear blue water and parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the distance.

The view of the Minas Basin on Cape Split Hike
Minas Basin Lookoff

Scots Bay Trail

Scots Bay Trail is newer and allows hikers to make a loop of 13 kilometres. It follows the western side of the mesa and is 7 kilometres out and back. It can be very muddy, but it is a wide winding trail in the forest. This trail, too, offers beautiful lookoffs on the bay and the coves.

Lobster Hole Lookout on the Cape Split Trail
Lobster Hole Lookoff
Big Cove lookout on the Cape Split Hike
Big Cove Lookoff

Cape Split Lookoff

You will know you are approaching the end as the trees disappear and the path is worn in high grass. Both trails stop at a patch of meadow from where the stunning view of the endless sea and the rock pillars are an astounding sight. The view is incredible, with the sun shining at high or low tide. 

The grassy top of the sea stack in the Bay of Fundy at the end of the Cape Split trail

It is also a popular bird-watching spot as hundreds of seagulls and cormorants perch on the rock pillars and fly around or float on the water below. 

Be mindful of the cliffs as they stand 60 meters high above the sea with strewn boulders at the bottom. The loose rocks and soil can be slippery. Stay away from the edge. The erosion is apparent, and the ground could give way without warning.

Looking out to the Bay of Fundy from the trail
Cape Split Lookout with sea stack and vertical cliffs in the Bay of Fundy

Cape Split Hike is one of the most popular hikes in Nova Scotia, but this province has much to offer in terms of outdoor adventures. The Nova Scotia Parks Website has plenty of information on its parks and activities.

More Hiking like Cape Split in Nova Scotia

Where to stay near Cape Split Provincial Park

More in Nova Scotia

Could you make time to visit beautiful Nova Scotia? Plan the perfect road trip that includes all the musts in Nova Scotia. You will want to include Lunenburg with this guide to the top things to do in Lunenburg.

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