Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Protected Areas


Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area

Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area protects close to 8,600 hectares (about 21,250 acres) of near-urban Crown lands between Highways 103 and 333, in Halifax Regional Municipality (mapPDF Download Link (PDF:3.1mb)).

This is a rugged landscape of forest, barrens, wetlands, rivers and lakes, ringed by communities.

This wilderness area protects nature in the city, contributes to air quality and watershed protection, and much more. It is almost five times the size of Halifax Peninsula, and is only minutes away.

With its scenic views, natural setting, cultural history and location, the wilderness area offers superb opportunities for outdoor recreation like hiking, trail running, canoeing, trout fishing, hunting, and nature appreciation. It is also ideally suited for education and research.

The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, within this wilderness area, offers more than 30 km of backcountry trail for hiking, trail running and other uses. Bicycles or motorized vehicles are not permitted on the Bluff Trail. This trail is managed by Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization (WRWEO) under an agreement with the province.

In 2012, the Old Coach Road and Fire Road, within Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, were designated for all-terrain Vehicle use. These trails are managed by the All-terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS) under an agreement with Nova Scotia Environment.

In 2016, these same 12 kilometers of trail were designated for bicycle use. This is the first trail in a wilderness area where bicycle use has been authorized.

This is a pilot project that will help Nova Scotia Environment and others understand the needs and impacts of bicyclists and the interaction with other users along a multi-use trail in a wilderness area. The project was proposed by the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area Stewardship Coalition, with support from ATVANS. Bicycle use is only permitted in wilderness areas on trails designated for that purpose.

The designation of Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area in 2011 followed two years of public consultation, socio-economic study and consultation with the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq. A public consultation summaryPDF Download Link (PDF:3mb) is available, as is the socio-economic studyPDF Download Link (PDF:1.5mb). Additional information, including final boundary decisions and management considerations, is available in this PDFPDF Download Link (PDF:3.5mb).

More Information

Designation Documents

Consultation Documents

Socio-economic Study

Public Consultation

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