Kejimkujik is accessible off Route 8, the Kejimkujik Drive, approximately 160 km from Halifax via Highway 103, 190 km from Yarmouth via Highway 101, or 90 km from Digby via Highway 101. The Seaside Adjunct is accessible from Highway 103, about 100 km south of the inland portion of the Park and 25 km southwest of Liverpool. The name, in Mi’kmaq names “swelled private parts” in reference to the effort required to row across the lake.
Kejimkujik National Park has 381 square km (147 sq mi) of scenic inland wilderness country. “Keji” has abundant wildlife, including several rare or endangered species. Recreational opportunities include nature talks at the visitor centre, hikes along 14 hiking trails through woodlands, up to 6 km (4 mi) in length, cross-country ski trails in inter, canoe excursions along inland and seaside waterways, and backcountry camping for canoeists and hikers. There are both canoe & bicycle rentals available in the park.
The information centre is open mid June to Labour Day Weekend – 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.Labour Day to mid June 8:30 – 4:30and the Visitor Centre may be closed during weekends in late fall and winter.
The Campground Kiosk is open mid June to Labour day – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.during shoulder season – see posted hours and closed in winter. There are a number of fees that apply, for entry to the park and for use of the facilities, particularly for camping.
Kejimkujik National Park was created in 1968 and is located on the Southern Upland of Nova Scotia, and is a relatively flat plain lacking the escarpments, mountains and valleys seen in other parts of the province. The Park is abundant with examples of many surface features from the last glacial stage, including giant boulders, boulder fields, long winding eskers, drumlin hills, as well as kames and outwash plains. Most of the visible landforms seen in the Park resulted from the last glaciation that began 100,000 to 80,000 years ago. Most glacial landforms are in areas with slate bedrock, as it was soft and easily eroded.
After the glacial retreat, the formation of numerous shallow lakes connected by meandering rivers, has made this the best canoeing country in the province. Huge boulders of granite, moved by glacial ice, are scattered over all of the landscape. Looking across Kejimkujik Lake from the eastern shore, one observes the huge rounded dome of granite on the western shore, which contrasts with the typical slates or quartzites.
Drumlins, which are smooth, oval hills which have a steeper, blunt end facing the oncoming glacier, and a gentle slope pointing in the direction of glacial retreat. In the Park the drumlins point from the northwest to the southeast.
About 12 percent of Kejimkujik National Park is covered by fresh water. Most of the water in the Park comes from run-off, and because slate, quartzite and granite, are hard and unyielding the waterways have few natural minerals, providing few nutrients, to support life. Kejimkujik lies within a zone of bedrock that has created among the lowest surface water calcium concentrations in the world, and were acidic naturally before the addition of sulphates from acid rain. The coloured lakes being more acidic than the clear water lakes
Kejimkujik protects 40 mammal species, 12 fish, 205 birds, eight reptiles, five snakes, 13 amphibians, and 544 vascular plants. Kejimkujik is home to a few rare and special animal species including the northern ribbon snake, southern flying squirrel and piping plover. Feeding wildlife is prohibited within the National Parks. Such food is unhealthy for animals, and repeated feeding may cause them to lose their natural fear of people. Please observe, photograph and enjoy all our animals from a distance, but respect them and leave them wild.
Kejimkujik lies in the centre of traditional First Nations canoe routes between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Coast. The earliest inhabitants of Kejimkujik were Maritime Archaic Indians, who lived here since about 4,500 years ago. The nomadic Woodland Indians arrived next and used seasonal campsites along rivers and lakeshores. The Mi’kmaq are Woodlands descendants and have lived here for the past 2,000 years, as evidenced by petroglyphs in the park.
The petroglyphs around Kejimkujik represent the lifestyle, art and observations of Mi’kmaq people in the 18th and 19th centuries (older ones would have faded away due to erosion). These faint images, inscribed in soft slates, include stylized men and women in traditional dress, wildlife, hunting and fishing scenes, outlines of hands and feet and many other subjects. The public can observe them on guided walks led by trained Park interpreters, and they are inaccessible at all other times.
Almost all of the land in the park has been cut over at some time. In the early days, most of the logs cut were driven down through the lakes and rivers, and you can see remains of numerous these early sawmills. Three small gold mines existed within the park, though these mines yielded very little ore. They spawned a variety of “tall tales” and brought new attention to the area, and are evidenced by pits, iron boilers and cabins. You can visit one mine along the Gold Mines Trail, which features interpretive signs.
|Mersey Meadow||0.3 km loop||Eight interpretive signs along the trail identify the types of predators living in this habitat. The trail is level for wheelchair use, there is a telescope for viewing wildlife.|
|Mill Falls||1 km return||Starting from the Visitor Centre, this trail takes you along the Mersey River to Mill Falls. The kitchen shelter and the trail from the Mill Falls parking lot to the falls viewing area are wheelchair accessible.|
|Beech Grove||2.2 km loop||Enjoy the cool forest as you walk along a glacially formed hill called a drumlin. At the Visitor Centre, you can borrow a tape recorder and cassette which will explain the woodlands and wildlife of the area.|
|Flowing Waters||1 km loop||Walk along the Mersey River, which varies between slow lazy runs to riffles. On your way back, smell the fragrance of sweet fern that grows along the old logging road.|
|Hemlocks and Hardwoods||6 km loop||Young mixed forests, scattered with large white pine, lead the way to a stand of 300-year-old hemlock trees. The stately magnificence of the hemlocks can be felt as you walk along the darkened forest floor.|
|Farmlands||1.1 km loop||From cool softwood forests to a mixed woodland, the trail leads up a hill to an old farm site. The field and orchard are almost overgrown with young pines.|
|Rogers Brook||1 km loop||The trail crosses Rogers Brook and offers you our best view of a floodplain. You pass through a grassy meadow, a red maple floodplain and a hemlock forest.|
|Grafton Woods||Two 1.6 km loops||This trail winds through hardwoods and softwoods and follows the old shoreline of Grafton Lake. This once flooded lakeshore is now being reclaimed by bulrushes and the forest.|
|Gafton Lake||0.4 km return||This trail will lead you to the former lake edge. Interpretive signs describe the old fish hatchery and the natural changes following removal of the dam.|
|Peter Point||3 km return||A good area for bird watching because of the diverse habitats: a low area of red maples, a hemlock stand and an old growth of sugar maples.|
|Snake Lake||3 km return||Walk along this figure-8 trail through our best variety of woodlands. Pause to admire large, stately white pine and red oak trees. Wetlands and lakes add to the natural diversity.|
|Gold Mines||3 km return||Interpretive signs along the trail recount tales of the discovery of gold in Kejimkujik. Displays bring to life where the gold was found and how it was mined.|
|Mersey River||3.5 km one way||Walk along the river’s edge to see the red maples grow amid the lush grasses. Dense stands of balsam fir and hemlock provide a canopy over much of the trail.|
|Slapfoot Trail||3.2 km one way||A pleasant walk through mixed forests and softwood stands along the lakeshore to Jim Charles Point. A trail continues for 2 km to Jakes Landing.|
|Jakes Landing to Merrymakedge Beach||3 km one way||The trail begins at the edge of the parking area under a hemlock stand. From the viewing tower, dense stands of hemlock and beech provide a canopy over much of the trail. A wheelchair accessible part of the trail goes along the shore of Kejimkujik Lake (0.9 km).|
During the summer Merrymakedge Beach and Kejimkujik Lake are open. Swimmers can choose a lifeguard supervised sandy beach at Merrymakedge (with change-house facility and a canteen, from late June to Labour Day) or several unsupervised beaches within the campground, or along one of many lakes along the trails and canoe routes.
Quiet lakes and gently-flowing rivers make Kejimkujik National Park provide some of the best canoeing in Nova Scotia. Either bring your own canoe, or rent one at Jakes Landing. Guided canoe outings are given throughout the summer by Park Interpreters. If you are not travelling one of the loop canoe routes, you can make arrangements at the canoe rental concession (902-682-5253) for transportation back to your point of departure.
Kejimkujik National Park offers an excellent natural setting for a variety of outdoor winter activities including a wide range of Nordic skiing. Over 100 kilometres of ungroomed trails offer possibilities for beginners as well as intermediate or advanced skiers.