Deep in the interior of southwestern Nova Scotia, Kejimkujik (kedji-muh-KOO-jick, or “Keji” or “Kedge” for short) National Park lies off Highway 8, about midway between Liverpool and Annapolis Royal. Encompassing 381 square kilometers of drumlins (rounded glacial hills), island-dotted lakes (legacies of the last ice age), and hardwood and conifer forests, the park and the adjacent Tobeatic Game Sanctuary are an important refuge for native wildlife and town-weary Nova Scotians.
Wildlife enthusiasts visit the park for bird-watching (including barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, great crested flycatchers, and loons and other waterfowl) and may also spot black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats, porcupines, and beavers. The many lakes and connecting rivers attract canoeists and swimmers in warm weather, as well as anglers (particularly for perch and brook trout). Hikers can choose from a network of trails, some leading to backcountry campgrounds; some of the campgrounds are also accessible by canoe. In winter, cross-country skiers take over the hiking trails.
The Visitor Reception Centre (902/682-2772; mid-June-Aug. daily 8:30am-8pm, Aug.-mid-June daily 8:30am-4pm) is just beyond the park entrance. This is the place to buy day passes (adult $6, senior $5, child $3) and fishing licenses ($10 per day, $35 annual) and pick up literature on the park, including hiking trail descriptions.
Things to Do in Kejimkujik
The two most popular park activities are hiking and canoeing. The Beech Grove Trail, a two-kilometer loop, starts at the visitors center and wends along the Mersey River, where it climbs a drumlin hilltop swathed in an almost-pure beech grove. The Farmlands Trail is another drumlin variation, and the 45-minute hike makes its way up a drumlin to an abandoned farm on the hilltop. A little farther south along the park access road is the trailhead for the one-kilometer Rogers Brook loop, which passes through a forest of red maple and hemlock trees.
You can rent canoes, rowboats, and bicycles ($5 per hour, $24 per day) at Jakes Landing, on the northeast side of large Kejimkujik Lake; the adjacent stretch of the Mersey River is placid and suitable for beginning paddlers.
Where to Stay and Camp in Kejimkujik
Within the park, Jeremy’s Bay Campground (mid-May-mid-Oct.; $27.50-31.50), on the north side of Kejimkujik Lake, has 360 sites, some with power hookups as well as washrooms and showers, fire pits and firewood ($8), a playground, picnic areas, and an interpretive program. Another 46 wilderness sites ($18) are scattered in the woodlands and offer toilets, tables, grills, and firewood. A percentage of sites can be booked through the Parks Canada Campground Reservation Service (519/826-5391 or 877/737-3783) for $11 per reservation.
Milford House (902/532-2617, from $155 s or d) is in South Milford, about 20 kilometers north of the park toward Annapolis Royal. The resort features a main lodge (rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 2014) and 28 lakeside cabins. All cabins have separate bedrooms, a wood-burning fireplace, and a full bathroom. Four hiking trails radiate out from the resort, some leading to lakes where canoes are available free of charge. Dinner and breakfast is a very reasonable $30 per person per day.
Getting to Kejimkujik
Although the park is just 50 kilometers from Annapolis Royal along Highway 8, allow about an hour to reach the entrance, as the road is narrow and winding.
From Halifax, take Highway 101 along the South Shore to Liverpool and then Highway 8 north. The total distance from Halifax to the park is 170 kilometers (two hours).