Kanomee Canyon is a great loop trail that skirts the gorge of the Economy River and associated feeder streams.
There are at least 5 creek crossings, and depending on the time of year,you should expect to get your feet wet.
A map published by the area's trail club mentions two or three backcountry camp sites. Be careful with your food managment due to abundant wildlife. (You may be considered food as well!)
the hike uses a collection of trail marker styles so you must keep your wits about you. One time, an 18 K hike turned into a grueling 30K slog in all kinds of spring weather. Bring a compass just in case you get off the trail. The hike starts where it ends, at the Economy falls.
Awsome views and definately a feeling of remoteness. A Nova Scotian "must do"!
From Matthew Hogg: (used with permission.)
We're the only people parked at the trailhead of the Kenomee Canyon Trail. The sky is grey and threatens to pour rain down on us at any time. Autumn being in full swing, there is a slight October chill in the morning air. I shoulder my backpack and join Kris on the trail as we begin our overnight hike.
The loop starts at the top of the cliff overlooking Economy Falls. After taking a few photos and admiring the falls from above, we follow the trail across the newly built bridge spanning the chasm that is Economy River. On the other side there is no choice but to follow some switchbacks straight up the hill. Luckily the hill is short. By the time I reach the top I'm forced to remove the layers I had put on in defense against the cold.
The trail from here on out is relatively level, but it does meander along the side of the hill running north beside the river. Orange leaves cover every square inch of the ground, which makes the trail a little difficult for my eyes to make out in some places. Adding to the difficulty are a couple of right turns in the trail that come out of the blue and catch me off guard. I make a mental note to pay better attention and I stay on the lookout for the occassional marked tree.
Kris and I cross a couple of ATV tracks where the hiking trail intersects. The surrounding forest changes slightly as the trees stand further apart and the terrain begins to slope downhill. Before I know it I can see Newton Lake through the trees. Kris does a bit of a double-take, too. We weren't expecting to be here so soon. Our plan was to make it to Murphy Brook and camp there for the night, but it was looking like we were going to get there a little early. We take a short break by the lake's edge where I can hear dogs barking furiously from somehwere across the water.
There are campsites on the shores of Newton Lake, but somehow we fail to notice the spur trail as we continue on our way. Not too concerned about it, we forge ahead. I mention to Kris how we might arrive at Murphy Brook a little too soon. We'd have a lot of daylight left to kill-- most likely under a downpour. Kris exchanges a quick glance with me and we both know what the other is suggesting. Right then and there we elect to do the entire loop in the same day. Backpacks be damned.
Between Newton Lake and Black Brook, I get a little lazy and pay less attention to where the trail takes us. The trail is mostly well defined, but when it isn't you're left to chase one trail marker after another. These are hard to see surrounded by autumn leaves, but are also inconsistently placed. Sometimes the trail is marked with survey tape, sometimes with painted metal markers. Occasionally two markings suggest two different directions.
After following the ridgeline for some time, the trail suddenly turns downhill and intersects with a river at the bottom of the hill. It should be immediately obvious to either of us that this is Black Brook, but inattention and false assumption somehow lead me to the conclusion that this is Murphy Brook. Kris doesn't ask me to justify my assetion and we take a short break at the river's edge. Thinking the waterfall should be a short distance upriver, we leave our packs behind and start a bushwhack. I'm dodging branches with sandwich in hand, and I begin to realize we can't possibly be where we think we are. While the trail was certainly rough in places, there's no way it can be so bad as to be impossible to find. Kris and I decide to turn back after reaching an anonymous bend in the river.
When we return to the trail, I examine the map and try to see what I was getting wrong. I think it through logically and replay the last part of our hike when it dawns on me that Murphy Brook is a few hundred metres down the trail. We've about an hour of our day for nothing when all we had to do was hike around the next hill and read the big sign labeled "Murphy Brook Camping Area". The sound of hand against forehead echoes off the surrounding hills.
A spur trails leads uphill and, just to make sure we're still paying attention, hangs a sharp right. Many small paths branch off leading to tent sites nestled in the woods. It's a scenic spot for camping, as Murphy Brook Falls can be heard rushing by at the bottom of a hill. Kris and I descend to investigate and explore before moving on.
Returning to the main trail, we follow the trail through the hills above Black Brook as it flows west towards Economy River. West. Yeah, that's it. I have it sorted out in my head now. By now a moderate rain has started to fall and I feel chilly whenever I stop for a break. The trail eventually returns to the banks of the river, where it meets Chain Lake Stream. The last time we were here ( October 2001 ) we accidentally followed an ATV track back to the trailhead. So this time we try to be careful to stay on the trail. Unfortunately, there are no trail markers within view. We tentatively hike uphill on a rocky ATV track while looking for the trail. I get even more confused when I see flagging tape in the woods just off the ATV track. A few minutes later I notice the actual trail on either side of me. Somehow we had misunderstood the trail yet again.
We shrug and reenter some thick woods following a fairly level trail. The trail slowly bends to the south to follow Economy River back to Economy Falls. Once in a while a gap in the trees offers us a glimpse of the opposite side of the gorge. At this point my clothes are soaked through and I'm starting to feel a little worn down. I'm looking forward to seeing the trailhead again and drying myself off. Trail markers are getting harder and harder to see as my eyes begin to tire.
It doesn't help that the trail markers we can see don't inspire confidence. Several times I can see the path diverge into two different directions. They may both lead to the same place, but how do we know for sure? I have to stop and debate with Kris which way we should go because where we're both looking we see trail markers. Arguments, of course, are settled by whoever sees the biggest trail marker.
The remainder of the hike carries on in this way until we reach the final kilometre or two. From here on out the trail is wider and more defined as it slopes gently toward Economy Falls. The rain has been falling consistently and I'm pretty much exhausted. Kris and I aren't chatting much at this point, but we're reinvigorated to see the look-off above Econfomy Falls once more.
Despite our mental difficulties and fatigue, the Kenomee Canyon Loop is a great trail system. I might suggest some slight improvements to their trail markers, as having to concentrate on where you're going can take away from the experience. That said, the trail takes you across all sorts of wonderful terrain. It can be done in one day, or in one weekend. It's the perfect example of the beauty to be found in the Cobequid Mountains. For me, though, it's a long day made all the more sweeter with a stash of dry clothes and heated car seats.
Above Economy waterfall on the far bank of the river
· From Truro, drive west along Highway #104 to Exit 11 at Glenholme. Turn onto Highway #2 and follow for 34-km (21-mi) to Lower Economy. Turn right onto River Philip Road (dirt) and travel 7-km (4.5-mi) to Economy Falls Trailhead parking area, on right.
Stay away from the road in the winter until at least the May "2-4" weekend. Snow cover and really soft rutted surface garentees you get stuck.
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Posted By: dcorning
- Wed Apr 07 15:38:56 UTC 2010
CommentI agree that this trail is exceptional. My girlfriend and I chose this trail as our first 'hike in, camp, and hike out'. The scenery is beautiful, and there is a lot of variety in the hike. It reminded me of being in BC, with the hills and moss.
I will warn others as to hiking this early in the year (early April). In certain north-facing, shaded gullies there was snow up to our knees.
More importantly the streams were quite swift, bordering dangerous. We had to search up and downstream the first crossing (going counter clockwise, north of the lake) just to find a section which was not rapid and over our waist. I had to carry our dog because there was no way he would make it across!
As such we just made it to Murphy's Brook campsite at sun down.
Posted By: Index32dc
- Sat Jul 18 19:26:53 UTC 2009
UpsideA very challenging but quick trail, we went counter clockwise 3 hours in the late afternoon 3 hours in the am of the next day. Great Camping Pads DownsideI should have prepped a little more for the wicked elevation changes, going coutner clockwise had us start out with the 600ft change in elevation stright up(we went to check out the falls base) The good news was the trail is well kept in this section and the stairs helped CommentThis is a protected area and hikers should take the care to pack-in pack-out. My pockets were full fo candy wrappers by the end of the six hours. I would also like to say I left a little something behind though. A pair of clip on sunglasses somewhere between Murphy brook camp pads and Chain Lake falls I would like them back if you are out that way
Posted By: Seascaper
- Mon Jun 01 12:00:58 UTC 2009
UpsideEconomy Falls is the bomb! Decent map available at the local Visitor Centre for nominal fee Variety of scenery and elevations Nice camping areas Lots of water views Perfect distance I LOVE a looped trial where you are always seeing something new It's a protected wilderness area DownsideSome areas were confusing where the ATV trails intersected Some boardwalks/bridges would be nice to get over the wet areas - more to protect the environment than anything Lots of felled trees to manouever around CommentWe did this loop last July in the rain. But it was warm and it kept the bugs at bay. We also stayed at the Murphy Brook falls site. For the most part the trail was easy to navigate but got confusing in a few places - if you're not careful you might end up on the wrong trail. As far as I know the upper loop is still closed. It would be nice to see a bit more trail maintenance in there but overall, we enjoyed the challenge of all the ups and downs and there was lots to see. It is quite a beautiful area!
Posted By: smburt
- Tue May 19 13:04:14 UTC 2009
UpsideNo bugs, no rain except for over night DownsideBlow down on trail made it that much harder. First creek crossing had to be done sans boots CommentHiked clockwise. Camped at Murphy brook falls. first half is harder than the second half. That closed sign early on isn't for the trail, so hey, it's open season for the Kenomee trail! Great trail, great weekend! Saw deer.
Posted By: emptyname
- Wed Jun 13 13:40:08 UTC 2007
Upside- Great trail - Nice View (Saw 2 bald eagles & something that looked like a wolverine) - Great trail markers - Good water source - Nice little water falls Downside- Many mosquitoes between Economy Falls and Newton's Lake. - Some camp sites are somewhat far from the main trail. 1/2 KM or more. - Map didn't have distances or topo information for the kenomee loop. CommentVery well designed trail system with good water sources, washroom facilities and camps sites (excluding Newton?s Lake). The main trail was really good and we didn?t have any problems with following the trail, other than a few fallen trees. I?ve found the trail had a good balance of valley, wilderness and river scenery. The trail contours were well place and took advantage of the different elevations in the terrain, mixing it with some level sections for resting your legs. I do suggest that a campsite be added to replace the Newton?s Lake campsite as I believe it?s not getting a lot of usage. Maybe a site situated near a running stream that would take advantage of some valley winds to minimize the number of bugs (like Chain link falls).
Posted By: FOGGY
- Wed Jan 31 15:40:57 UTC 2007
UpsideThis is waterfall country, every stream seems to have atleast a small drop and kettle in it. Great for tenting and dreaming by. The hiking is a moderate challenge with some smaller hills. Fall colors here would be amazing, especially towards the lake area. DownsideHiking is sometimes made difficult by the stream crossings which I managed to hit after a rain so they were a bit high. In some areas where the trail coincides with the ATV trail it is confusing but if you take your time it is readable. CommentI did this hike solo and spent an overnight just because I wanted to. The longest loop could be done in a day but I would recommend spending a night next to one of the falls. The Kenomee Canyon Protected Area is a great asset and the trail system is very complimentary to the effort.
Posted By: smburt
- Tue Nov 01 22:16:04 UTC 2005
Upsidegreat trail, and easy to find. DownsideIt was closed due to ecological reasons when I was there on Oct 29th, 2005. It was a fairly high water table and higher than usual current in the brooks, making crossings (all 5?) difficult. CommentWhy not go rappeling instead? THat's what we did.