Just down the road a few dozen kilometers from Annapolis Royal is Keimkujik National Park a great place for a few hikes or during fall just to absorb the gorgeous call colors. On the day we visited there was some rain and parts of the park were closed from heavy rains a few days ago.
The park is relatively new established in 1967 and covers a vast area of about 400 square kilometers. The inland area consists of lush forests with many rivers and creeks flush with a wide variety of wildlife including beavers, bears, coyotes and squirrels.
A second distinct portion of the park sometimes referred to as the, "Seaside Adjunct," was added about seventeen years later. My trip was exclusively to the inland portion.
According to the information contained at the very informative visitor center the area has been inhabited for just over 4500 years by nomadic Indians. The Micmac occupied the area for over the last 2000 years as their home and took advantage of the abundant hunting and fishing opportunities. There are a series of petroglyphs in the park but they are available only by guided tour.
There are at least 15 hiking trails in the inland portion of the park that range from easy to moderate. Canoeing opportunities are amazing at the park. However due to the heavy rains we stayed exclusively on the trails.
The Annapolis Valley is located in the southwestern portion of Nova Scotia. The valley covers an area from Digby in the west to Wolfville in the east. It includes the counties of Annapolis, Digby and Kings. The area is primarily agricultural but growth in recent years has encroached upon this activity. The area is a major producer of apples. Every year there is an apple blossom festival in the town of Kentville.
Driving this area is an extreme delight. I would suggest a trip from Annapolis Royal down to Digby and then over to Wolfville. In Wolfville there is the campus of Acadia University, a very pretty campus. In the valley you will climb small hills with great views of the valley, then out to the sea with great views of the water and then inland to some of the most tranquil agricultural settings in all of Nova Scotia
One of the reasons for venturing over to Annapolis Royal was because we were told that it was in the middle of some of the highest tidal changes in the Bay of Fundy.
When arriving in Annapolis Royal we learned that while the area in town had pretty great tidal fluctuations it was nowhere near the fluctuations that could be seen at Halls Harbour.
Halls Harbour is an isolated but scenic fishing village located on the Bay of Fundy. The town was first settled in 1826 when a few families moved over from New Brunswick. A wharf was constructed in 1836. Over the next nearly 180 years the town was home to a lumber mill and ship yard. Today the harbor area contains many fishing vessels that fish for lobster or scallops. There is a lobster pond located in the town.
When you arrive in Halls Harbour you drop rapidly in elevation down to the harbor area. Depending on the time of day and tides the area can be either completely dry with boats that are piled onto dirt and rocks or under several feet of water. If you manage to eat at one of the nearby excellent restaurants you could see a significant variation in the tides in just a few hours.
The winds can be very strong and cold in Halls Harbour even when it is substantially warmer just a few miles away. So dress warm.
From Kentville, the town of Halls Harbour, is about 15 minutes north on Highway 359. From Annapolis Royal it is about a 30 minute going through Centerville.
As you drive into Annapolis Royal you cross the Annapolis River and notice a strange installation on the side of the river. This is the home of the Annapolis Royal Generating Station. It claims to be the only tidal generation station in the Northern Hemisphere. It was constructed as a 20 megawatt power station and has been in existence since approximately 1984. Residents indicate that the power station has had mixed results in providing power to the grid.
The tidal generating station takes advantage of the amazing variation in tides that the nearby Bay of Fundy is famous for. Visiting this site a few times in our short stay in Annapolis Royal we could see the amazing variation in tides. (See other posts for the best place to see tidal variations in Bay of Fundy area).
Didn't get an opportunity to visit the site in detail other than walking on and under the bridge.