We were looking for a back country hike not far from Halifax. We decided on the smallest hiking loop within the Bluffs Wilderness Trails; called Pot Lake loop.
We parked the car at the closest parking lot along the old route 3 and walked about 400m along the rail to trail BLT to the actual Bluffs trail head. The BLT is itself a fantastic multi-use trail that you can feasibly bike from downtown Halifax to Mahone Bay.
But back to the Bluffs. Pot Lake trail starts at the tip of Cranberry Lake and quickly changes from wide trail to footpath. The area is within a sensitive barrens watershed. In the early days of trail development, direction arrows were spray painted on the granite boulders along the trail, but they are hard to see and have been since replaced by colorful trail markers along with new signage.
The terrain offers a challenge for anybody who has been wanting a more serious hike. At many points along the trail, you will need to watch your step. There are plenty of views along the way, but one has to stop so that he/she doesn't trip. The added difficulty also means that you will be taking a lot longer to cover the distance. Plan at least 5 hours for this loop. Consider a full day if attempting the other loops. In total there are 4 stacked loops totally over 30kms of hiking.
Do bring adequate gear, compass and supplies. Cell phone coverage is good, but the area is truly remote - there are no facilities along the trail.
This is a great location to practice Leave No Trace, where the five principals allow you to reduce your impact along the trail, including packing out your trash.
In short this is one of the best opportunities within Halifax to experience back country hiking that you can reach via a city bus. The trail is also popular with trail runners.