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


Protected Areas


White Lake Wilderness Area

painting by Alice Reed White Lake Wilderness Area protects a rugged, boulder and lake-strewn wilderness in the granite uplands just north of Musquodoboit Harbour, in Halifax Regional Municipality. It also extends into part of the lower Musquodoboit River Valley.

The 350 million-year-old granite bedrock of the uplands forms rough, parallel ridges and knobs, which rise above more than 20 interconnected lakes. Thick conifer forests occur between the lakes and ridges. Nearby inlets of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen from some of the higher, exposed ridges.

Lowland areas along the Musquodoboit River protect productive forests and wetlands, and wide river floodplain. This includes over four kilometres along Musquodoboit River, where it gently meanders through a wide chasm bounded by steep forested slopes. Musquodoboit River is one of the Eastern Shore’s best remaining Atlantic salmon rivers and is also important for brook trout.

Both Musquodoboit River and the interconnected lakes of the adjacent uplands can be enjoyed by anglers and canoe trippers. The scattering of lakes throughout the uplands allows for multiple looped routes, using primitive portages. Paddling trips through the upland lakes can be extended by continuing into the adjacent Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, where several routes continue to the Atlantic coast. None of the portages are currently formally managed.

The wilderness area can be experienced on foot by hiking trails of the Musquodoboit Trailways system. Located near Musquodoboit Harbour, the entire 26 km backcountry trail portion of this system extends from Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area, north, through the adjacent White Lake Wilderness Area. It is accessible from multiple locations off a former railway corridor that is now part of The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail). The entire system is managed by Musquodoboit Trailways Association (MTA). Additional information is available on MTA’s website.

A number of long-established campsite leases are scattered throughout the wilderness area.

White Lake Wilderness Area, together with the adjacent Ship Harbour Long Lake and Tangier Grand Lake wilderness areas, forms an assemblage of protected lands larger than Kejimkujik National Park, with three times as many lakes.