Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

Ocean Route 5: Lunenburg

Record #: LQR0009
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019
Last Full Update: 19 Mar 2014


Public Bulletin
Neither South Shore nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites. 
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites. 
South Shore and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.


Located In South Shore Region
Where To Find Us
Lunenburg, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


Phone 902-275-3490
Contact Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA

Description & Services

Information A sheltered inland route including forested islands and a few waterfront homes that provides a contrast to more exposed coastal routes. 
Where: Near Lunenburg 
Skill Level: Beginner 
Time: Half day 
Distance: 8 km 
Click map to enlarge 
These sheltered waterways were part of a native coastal route from Bridgewater to Mahone Bay that bypassed two major headlands. Two trips recreating this route were organized in recent years by a local environmental group, the Bluenose Atlantic Coastal Action Program. The route began on the LaHave River with a 2 km portage across the Indian Path Road to Indian Path Harbour. From here it was possible to paddle up Upper South Cove, around Mason’s Point and into Lunenburg Harbour. A short portage of 300 m through the present historic Town of Lunenburg, brought native travelers to the Back Harbour and the start of this route. (Access Point One) 
Paddling in the protected waters between Lunenburg and Second Peninsula provides a contrast to the rugged environment and stunted trees in most coastal areas. It has an inland feel with bigger trees and a few lush-looking farms. The shoreline is mostly forested to the water’s edge with narrow, gently sloped beaches. You may want to take a side trip up Martin Cove, Grist Mill Pond or Heckman’s Back Harbour to connect with Tanner Pass and the outer coast. 
The natives en route to Mahone Bay paddled through here to the back side of Backman’s Beach (Access Point Two) and did another short carry of 100m across Second Peninsula. From here it was clear paddling to points north in Mahone Bay. 
Water Safety Notes 
You are unlikely to encounter swells in this sheltered area but it can still get quite windy. 
Points of Interest 
1 Lunenburg - This historic town settled in 1753 was recently named a World Heritage Site. Take a stroll past historic old homes with their fanciful trim packed together in the residential area near downtown. 
2 Second Peninsula Provincial Park - A woody 19 ha picnic park. 
How to get there 
Take Exit 11 off Highway 103. 
Access Point One - Lunenburg Government Wharf (Sawpit Wharf) 
Turn left at the intersection before Lunenburg onto Route 332 and travel about 3 km. Look for the government wharf on the left on Back Harbour. There is ample parking and a beach with car access to the right of the wharf. 
Access Point Two - Backman’s Beach 
Turn left at the intersection before Lunenburg, left onto Route 3 and right onto Second Peninsula. Backman’s Beach is a private beach open to public use with a few rules posted at the site. The south side access is through eel grass and a short slog at low tide. The north side is a fine sand beach good for launching except when there is a strong north wind and swells. 
If the weather permits, paddle across Heckman’s Anchorage to Sacrifice Island (see story, Ocean Route 2: Blue Rocks) and back around Bluff Head to Backman’s Beach. 
Ocean Route 2: Blue Rocks - Connect to this route by Tanner’s Pass or around Heckman’s Island. 
Ocean Route 6: Mahone Bay - Carry over at Backman’s Beach and paddle toward Coveys Island. 
Topographic map: Lunenburg 21 A/8
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information