We are currently experiencing extreme lockdown restrictions here in Nova Scotia – therefore we are required to stay within our local districts . Thankfully, we are fortunate to have a fantastic hiking area within Lunenburg County (where we are located).
River Ridge Common is a relatively new park/trail area that has a lot of wonderful features no matter what you are looking for. It offers a wealth of hiking and biking trails – based on difficulty level – and also offers accessible trails and an amazing playground / nature park area. The Municipality of Lunenburg is still adding more trails and park features.
River Ridge Common is a 115 acre outdoor recreation site that offers picnic areas, a naturalized playground, an interactive art park and 4+ km of mountain bike trails (to date) for a variety of skill levels. Each of these features are constructed from wood, stone, and plant elements, inviting play and relaxation for all ages, revealing views of the river and a shady mossed gully that crosses the site. There is also a mountain bike skills area and pump track being added in the summer of 2020.
Rest stops, look offs, and interpretive features allow users to enjoy special features, such as the lovely waterfalls of Indian Brook, and highlight the succession of a former working woodland growing back into a diverse Acadian Forest.– District of Lunenburg Website
This is a great park to build up your confidence hiking with kids as it offers trails for every level of fitness and timeframe. The natural park is a wonderful place if you would rather have a picnic or lounge at a table with coffee in hand and let the kids run wild. The playground area offers plenty of opportunities for kids of all ages to explore -with a swing set and slide area, tree trunk balance beams, hidden trails, climbing structures made out old logs, tunnels and bridges, bike track and plenty of space to burn off that lockdown energy.
Further into the park there are numerous trails out into the forest for both hiking and mountain biking. Though they are not cleared of snow in the winter months, we have found most to be accessible with a good pair of walking spikes added to your hiking shoes.
The parking area off Hwy 10 is well maintained, but be forewarned there is quite a steep hill to climb up into the park area. There are two paths, one is longer but less steep as it has switchbacks for accessibility. The other path is very steep, but it’s the one the kids prefer to take as it is much faster to reach the playground area.
Heading along an ATV trail that heads through the park (with the playground behind you – turn left) you will come to a wooden bridge across Indian Brook. Continue across the bridge until you get to the Indian Brook Falls trail – a short trail that runs beside the falls. You will find some sitting areas and a small picnic area along this trail as well as beautiful views above the falls.
You can choose to go down the embankment for a closer look at the falls, but beware that there are no designated trails and it can be quite precarious. Exercise caution, especially with young children.
If you follow the short trail to the end you will end up back at the ATV track, at which point I would turn back towards River Ridge Common park either towards the playground or to explore the other trails.
We feel quite blessed to have such a wonderful park within our home district of Lunenburg County. It has become our go to place for exercise and outdoor exploration for the kids. We highly recommend this park to anyone, with or without kids, to enjoy the outdoors. (As a bonus, it is a great place for dog walking too!)
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