As of April 21, 2016, Long Lake Provincial Park offers two main options for dogventuring.
St. Margaret’s Bay Road
The first option is the well-known, well-loved trail system off of St. Margaret’s Bay Road. The dirt pathways wind through the woods, and lead to a beautiful swimming oasis for dogs and humans. When I lived in Halifax for a few months in the summer of 2010, I visited Long Lake maybe three or four times a week. It is the perfect spot for hot summer days with your four-legged friend.
Note: For a number of years, Long Lake has been a well-loved dogventuring spot, with dogs and their humans accounting for 90% of the regular park users (in my observation). Despite signage suggesting otherwise, Long Lake was, in reality, an off-leash playground, making for happy faces and good times all around. But last fall (November 2015), I heard a rumour that people have been receiving tickets for having their dogs off-leash at Long Lake. Look, I realize that these tickets are, based on the signage, 100% warranted. No one could argue with that. It’s the risk we all take when we choose to ignore the rules. But it breaks my heart anyway. Our hope is that the new Lakeview Trail (see below) will attract the non dog lovers, leaving this old favourite “to the dogs”. Only time will tell.
How to Get There
From the Armdale Rotary, take the St Margarets Bay Road for about 7.5km. The main parking lot will be on your left. You can also check out this map.
This brand new trail opened on April 21, 2016. The newly-forged gravel pathway (which actually loops around Witherod Lake, not Long Lake) is a force to be reckoned with. The trails are heavy duty: wide, gravelly and benches aplenty. It smells of freshly cut timber and pine. At the trailhead, there is a spacious parking lot and washroom facilities. And along the 5-kilometre trail, there are a few spots to access either Witherod Lake or Long Lake. So you can fish, swim, hike, bike, jog. But the entire area is on-leash, and it being a brand new trail, it’s busy. So we don’t recommend ignoring the signage and going off-leash.
You can read more about Lakeview Trail in this blog post.
How to Get There
From the Armdale Rotary take the St Margaret’s Bay Road exit and drive about 2 kilometres before turning left onto Northwest Arm Drive (you’ll actually turn left onto Albert Walker Drive, then right onto Northwest Arm Drive). Continue driving for another 2 kilometres, and the parking lot will be on your right, across from Cowie Hill Road.
You can also check out this map.