Walking off our Turkey Coma at Nichols Lake

This year, Nick and I were fortunate enough to attend four dinners during the October long weekend, three of which included turkey. This is a nice benefit of moving back home – no shortage of friends and family – but after two of four meals, we were starting to feel it. On Sunday morning, we woke up a few hours before my parents’ turkey dinner, and knew we needed to get out for some fresh air.

Acting like turkeys at dinner.

Luckily, my sister and her partner were in town for the weekend, and they’re always up for an outdoor adventure. So we went to Google for help finding a hike in our area, and discovered Nichols Lake Trail. Somehow, in 27 years, I had never been to this trail even though it is a ten minute drive from where I grew up.

For more context, Nichols Lake is a hidden gem just 20 minutes from Halifax, on highway 333. There are two entrances: to the side of the Prospect Road Community Centre or from the parking lot at Sunrise Park Cemetery (I think this is the main entrance). We parked at the cemetery, and the trail entrance is unmarked but fairly clear from there.

Screenshot from Google Maps to show Nichols Lake in relation to Halifax.
The start of the trail is surrounded by thick forest.

The hike is really picturesque, especially in October. It is around 3km, although there are a few different paths you can take, so I’m not sure if it’s just the main trail loop that is 3km, or another part. Overall, it took us one hour and a half to complete our hike.

We started walking on a path surrounded by thick forest, passing just a few people along the way. Eventually, we could hear water and emerged in a clearing with waterfalls and a river feeding into Nichols Lake. The falls aren’t massive, if that is what you’re looking for, but they are scenic and a perfect photo opp along the hike.

Posing in front of the waterfalls at Nichols Lake Trail.

At the waterfalls, the path starts to diverge. While the main trail is wide and fairly easy with smooth terrain (a lot of it is gravel), there is a bumpier, rugged path that runs along Nichols Lake. We chose to explore the lakeside path for some views of the water, and the fall colours surrounding it. Nichols Lake looks like the perfect lake for kayaking, swimming in the summer or a peaceful fishing spot. There was no one else on the lakeside path, so you could probably relax by the lake for quite awhile before anyone passed by.

Views of Nichols Lake and all the autumn colours from the lakeside path.

We probably could have followed that path for a long time, but knowing we needed to get back home for dinner, we turned back towards the main trail. From the waterfalls, it was another 30ish minutes to the exit. The trail was very easy, and we passed a lot of people with their dogs. There isn’t a lot of coverage from the sun on this part of the trail, so we did get a bit hot… make sure you bring a hat or wear sunscreen if you’re on Nichols Lake Trail on a sunny day! I made a big mistake forgetting to do both of those things.

The sun shining through on the main trail.

We exited Nichols Lake Trail at the Prospect Road Community Centre, and had to walk a few minutes on the main road back to the cemetery where we parked. I think we could have arrived back at the cemetery through the trail, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary to backtrack or if there is a loop. If you know, please share in the comments!

Nichols Lake Trail was a beautiful, easy hike for a Sunday morning. It’s great if you are looking for a relaxed, scenic hike, and want to get an hour or two of fresh air and exercise. If you’re up for a bit of an adventure, explore some of the side trails or take a dip in the lake. I know I’ll be back to see what more the trail has to offer.

P.S. Have you done any hikes with waterfalls on the east coast? I’m excited to discover more falls nearby, so let me know below in the comments.

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