This is one of the best trails websites we have reviewed. I expect you will find it as compelling as we do. Take a look and if you are planning a trip to the outer shore of Nova Scotia there will be plenty of information here to make your visit unique. AM
A spirited adventure awaits! From the vibrant city of Halifax to the charming, colourful town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, journey to destinations of seafarers and rum runners through sheltered wooded trails connecting coastal communities. This shared use 110km trail is an easy, flat ride on a former rail bed. It features seaside adventures in Hubbards, Chester, Oak Island and Mahone Bay. Savour local flavours at award-winning restaurants, explore attractions, boutiques, and artisan shops, go hiking, sea kayaking or sailing on the iconic Bluenose II, and celebrate with spirits at Lunenburg’s distillery!
The trail is hard-packed and shared use, with easy grades (less than 2%) suitable for hybrid bikes and riders of all abilities. Although the Chain of Lakes Trail section is paved with asphalt, the majority of the Rum Runners Trail is a crusher dust trail bed ideal for hiking and hybrid cycling.
In addition to cycling or driving to the trail, taxi and public transit bus services are available within Halifax municipality (see COLTA).
Rum Runners Trail is accessible during every season, including winter, where it provides a snowy haven for cross country skiers, snowmobilers, show‐shoers, and hikers.
Adventures in Rum Running
A taste of adventure envelops this trail! In the 1920s and 30s, many sailors in Nova Scotia did the unthinkable – they stopped fishing and became international smugglers. Transporting liquor into the United States during Prohibition sets the stage for the dramatic story of Rum Running to unfold.
Museums along the route showcase the lucrative and daring story of Nova Scotian rum running in the prohibition of the 1920s and 30s. Boats would pull into secluded harbours, islands and coves in this region and be easily concealed, while beaches and woods provided many discrete hiding places for liquor. Local rumours say many barrels were shipped on the railway along this very trail, almost 100 years ago. Thousands of gallons of alcohol from this area of Nova Scotia was resold along the eastern seaboard of the US. Rum running’s demise came with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and alcohol was more easily purchased in liquor stores around this time. For more on Rum Running, visit the Maritime Museum on the Halifax waterfront or the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic on the Lunenburg waterfront.
For more information on the history of the rail line, stop into the Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum in Lunenburg, displaying the history of the railway on the South Shore and local artifacts from the H&SW Railway; replicas of 1950s ticket office and passenger car; extensive model railroad (1/64 scale) with turntable, roundhouse, wharfs, depictions of various South Shore scenes. The Halifax and Southwestern Railway was affectionately called the Horribly Slow and Wobbly and it soon became part of the Canadian National Railway System.
First posted November 2015. Updated December, 2018