The Annapolis Valley, "The Valley", runs for about 120 km in an east-west direction. The north wall is called the North Mountain and the south the South Mountain. The North Mtn. cuts out the fog and cool weather from the Bay of Fundy , creating a local climate. Unlike most of Nova Scotia, the Valley has a real spring in April and May and by June summer arrives. Many Nova Scotians find July and August here too hot but it's still cooler than central Canada or most of USA. The cool Fundy shore is only 10 km away. There is a shortage of good swimming areas but a few can be found. There are lots of lakes on the South Mtn.

The Valley is the province's prime agriculture area. Apples are a major crop but there are also strawberries, plums, blueberries, and the world's biggest pumpkins. There are lots of U pick strawberry farms. Apples come in blossom at the end of May. The Apple Blossom Festival draws big crowds.

The Valley is prominent in early cycling history. There were several bike clubs in the 1890s that produced world class racers. The first documented bicycle tour was by Karl Kron on a high wheeler in 1883. (See "Outing" magazine April 1884, pp 11-18, Reprinted in "10000 Miles On A Bicycle", New York 1887). The article is transcribed at: Nova Scotia and the Islands Beyond

In 1894 The Canadian Wheelmen published THE CYCLISTS' ROAD GUIDE OF CANADA, edited by Fred Bryers. The book has a few tours in the Annapolis Valley, see transcript of pages 95-97. Full texts of the book, in several formats, are available at: THE CYCLISTS' ROAD GUIDE OF CANADA.

There are many paved, scenic quiet roads, although many of them don't really go anywhere. Highway 1 is best avoided, there are several roads running parallel to it. To completely explore all the nooks and crannies would take weeks of continuous riding. The passing-through cyclist will just have to miss something. I will describe several Trans-Valley routes with a few side attractions. For most of the province, the official Highway Map is adequate but in the Valley the "Map Book of Nova Scotia" (ISBN 0-88871-074-7)) is needed. Although the valley floor is quite flat, to get to really interesting places some climbing is necessary. One of the routes has some serious climbing along the South Mtn slope.

Annapolis County Outdoor Recreation Map

Annapolis County Recreation Services now publishes a FREE topographic map (scale 1:100000) of the whole county with names on just about all of the roads, suggested bicycle day tours, canoe routes etc. It should be available in most tourist bureaus in Annapolis County.

See Notes on Maps

A/ Digby to Annapolis Royal. 41 km

Map of route for this section Annapolis Valley West Download the GPX file for map
view GPS Visualizer map

A ferry from Saint John New Brunswick lands near Digby so this is a good place to begin. There is only one suggested route. Rt 1 is narrow and has quite heavy traffic so we will avoid that most of the way. Rt 1 has the Upper Clements Amusement Park.

NOTE (1999): Now that the new Rt 101 is completed in this area, traffic on Rt 1 Digby to Annapolis has been reduced, so cycling is tolerable.

Distances are from Digby exit on Rt 101. Turn left on Rt 101, a busy highway which does have a paved shoulder.

B/ Annapolis Royal To Middleton

There are 2 choices ( not including the North Mtn- Fundy Shore route described in Guide to North Mountain). They are on the north and south sides of the river.

B(1) North Route

B(2) South Route

The route on this is simple. Just follow Rt 201. This is hillier than the north route as it crosses spurs from the South Mtn. Although it bypasses the nice towns of Bridgetown, Paradise, Lawrencetown, and Middleton they are only a km off. There are some farm markets on this road and U-pick berry places in season. You may also find nice wild blackberries in late August.

Section C Middleton to Wolfville

There are now at least 4 route choices: 2 very flat, 1 slightly hilly and the last quite hilly. In general the more hills, the more scenic the ride is.

Map of route for this section Annapolis Valley east Download the GPX file for map
View GPS Visualizer map

C(1) North route i Route 221 - moderately hilly

Start in Melvern Square, head north towards the North Mtn. There is a bit of a steep hill and an illusion called a "Magnetic Hill" where it looks like you are going down but you obviously are climbing. I don't think motorists would notice this. Just before the hill gets really steep you turn off.

C(2) North Route Brooklyn Street or Middle Road

Back in Melvern Square turn east on Pleasant St. This road has several names but Brooklyn St is the most common. It is very flat and very quiet. Farm tractors are the most common traffic. In places the surface is oil sealed sand, a temporary cheap pavement that may be a bit rough if old. The road is low and often lined with trees so there aren't many views but it is more sheltered from the wind.

C(3) South Route Rt 201

This route only goes as far as Berwick. From there we have to move to one of the other routes.

C(4) Torbrook-Harmony-Prospect Rd. South Mountain Traverse

This road goes by several names but it runs along the slope of the South Mtn., sometimes high, sometimes low. There is a lot of climbing but some great views on the Valley.


We left our virtual cycle tourists in Wolfville. Let us return briefly to Lakeville on tour section C(1) for an optional route.

Map of route for this section extra loop to Kingsport Download the GPX file for map
View GPS Visualizer map

C(6)-extra Rest of 221 Lakeville-Kingsport-Wolfville

This extension takes us to to nice towns of Canning and Kingsport. It is also the route to Blomidon Provincial Park. See the Guide to North Mountain for that and other hilly side trips.

The Wolfville area has many nice cycling possibilities. The Wolfville Ridge Rd., the Gaspereau Valley , a trip to Lumsden Dam or the 3 pools are all only as short distance away. One interesting ride is on the dikes, especially at high tide. The tops of the dikes may be a little rough in places but there is a smoother road along the base.

East of Wolfville Rt 1 becomes more suitable for cycling and even has some scenic views. There are several alternate ways to Windsor where the Valley officially ends. All these routes are hilly.

D(1) Wolfville-Hantsport via Gaspereau Mtn. (very hilly)

Head up Gaspereau Ave. You could also go up Highland Ave or Maple St. and join up via Ridge Road which has a nice view. It's about a 100m climb to the top of the ridge but that's just a warm up for the real hill. Then it's back down to Gaspereau. Rough map of routes through Hantsport Map of route for this section Wolfville to Windsor Download the GPX file for map
View GPS Visualizer atlas map

D(2) Wolfville to Windsor on Rt 1

East of Wolfville traffic on Rt 1 is moderate but I still prefer the Gaspereau Valley for the first bit which only adds one hill. The easiest way over the ridge is via Maple St. Gaspereau Ave or Highland Ave via Ridge Rd are also possible. Starting at corner of Main and Gaspereau go east on Rt 1 and pass the tourist bureau and park.

D(3) Wolfville - Windsor via Bluff Rd and Bog Rd

This crosses Rt 1 in Hantsport so you can switch routes there. The first 11 km to Avonport is the same as D(2).

A hilly century suggestion (Forties).

If you are in the Wolfville-Windsor area and want a challenging century this loop is about 160 km with 1500 m of climbing. I'll start from Windsor/Falmouth. Falmouth-Falmouth Dyke Rd, Sangster Bridge to Rt 14 ( Chester Rd). At Vaughn right on New Ross Rd. At New Ross take Forties Rd to Dalhousie Rd, then Right on Aylesford Rd to Lake George. Then right past Aylesford Lake to South Alton. Then Canaan Rd to White Rock, Gaspereau Valley to Avonport. Then Rt 1 and Bog Rd to Hantsport and Windsor. There's lots of hills but mostly quiet roads. There are at least 3 swim stops at Vaughn, Lake George and Gaspereau . Map of route : Forties Century Download the GPX file for map and elevation profile
View GPS Visualizer atlas map

Tourist Info

The best source of general info is:
    Nova Scotia Dept of Tourism and Culture
    Box 130, Halifax NS, B3J 2M7
    1-800-565-0000 Canada
    1-800-492-0643 Maine
    1-800-341-6096 rest of USA
Their Nova Scotia Travel Guide contains lots of info on campgrounds, motels,points of interest etc. They also supply free highway map.
Topo Maps($8 each) and the Map Book of Nova Scotia (ISBN0-88871-074-7) (about $15 )can be ordered from: Nova Scotia Book Store Box 637, Halifax NS B3J 2T3
Nova Scotia Bicycle Touring Index
David Dermott (
Wolfville Ridge , Nova Scotia, Canada