Summer is upon us and the time is right to be out on a bicycle enjoying our beautiful province. For those planning their next outing, Nova Scotia’s extensive rails to trails networks offer some of the best and most approachable bicycling experiences available for riders of all ages and abilities. These treasures have seen increased investment recently and boast better riding surfaces, wayfinding signage and amenities than ever before.


Nova Scotia’s three destination trails: The South Shore’s Rum Runners Trail, Inverness County’s Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, and the Annapolis Valley’s Harvest Moon Trailway are among the most popular and well-known sections of the rails to trails system. Bridge repairs, surfacing improvements, new construction and promotion have generated big increases in the number of people using these trails. Each trail offers a distinct regional Nova Scotia experience that riders of all levels can enjoy. People can opt for a bed-to-bed multi-day journey (each trail is 100 kms long or more) or a short family outing to a nearby attraction. Bicycle Nova Scotia is working in collaboration with local trail associations, municipalities and the Province to promote and enhance these routes as part of the Blue Route provincial cycling network.


As more Nova Scotians and visitors explore the trails it is important to raise awareness about etiquette and preparation as we promote the routes. Nova Scotia’s rails-to-trails are shared trails. Bicycling, walking and jogging are the most popular activities in most places, but many segments are open to and enjoyed by people on off-highway vehicles and horseback as well. No matter who you are, we all need to expect and respect other trail users. Bring a healthy dose of courtesy and be aware of your responsibilities to others. For bicyclists, make sure you have and use a bell. Bicycles travel more quickly than pedestrians and make little noise. Always slow down when approaching walkers or joggers and sound your bell well in advance of overtaking. Wait to be noticed before passing slowly and carefully. Some of us are shy to sound bells and worry about disturbing walkers, but I guarantee they will thank you for it one hundred percent of the time, so get in the habit!


Keeping shared trail experiences positive for everyone is a shared responsibility. Walkers, be aware that you are not alone on the trails. Keep eyes and ears open and allow clear, safe passage for faster users when you are overtaken – plugging yourself into ear buds won’t help. Where motorized users are on trail, they (along with cyclists) are responsible for obeying speed limits and yielding to all other users. Never pass until you are noticed and the way has been made clear.


Practicing good etiquette is crucial to enjoyment of the trail experience. Keep the comfort and safety of others top of mind when you take to the trails and get out there and explore the beauty of trail riding in Nova Scotia this summer!