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Kejimkujik National Park

A stunning sunset over a lake in Kejimkujik National Park(©DACshots, flickr.com)

A stunning sunset over a lake in Kejimkujik National Park

The tranquil lakes, rivers and forests of Kejimkujik National Park (pronounced Kedge-uh-muh-coo-jik) have been attracting people for centuries.

First among its visitors were the Mi’kmaq, Nova Scotia’s original inhabitants, who used the interconnected waterways as canoe trading routes.

Their ancestral presence is still seen in the over 500 petroglyphs found in the park.

Today Keji, as the locals call it, is a favourite holiday spot for tourists and locals alike – a real paradise for hikers, campers, mountain bikers and anyone who loves the outdoors.

It’s cheap entertainment too. A day’s admission to the park for a family of up to 7 people costs just $14.70 – a bargain!

Families looking for a nice day out should head straight for the sandy beaches around Kejimkujik Lake. Merrymakedge Beach is a good choice, with supervised swimming between June and September, changing rooms and snacks available from the on-site canteen.

Camping is another popular activity and staying the night lets you can take full advantage of the various nature talks, programs and shows, often delivered by rangers in the afternoons and evenings.

Summer is, of course, a busy time at Keji. Book in advance for both serviced and wilderness campsites in July and August or for nearby accommodation like the charming rooms offered at the Whitman Inn in Caledonia, just outside the park entrance.

Although Keji tends to be packed during the high season, you can always find solitude in the wilderness by heading out on one of the many backcountry trails.

The Liberty Lake Trail is one such place. It’s 60km long and by using the side trails you can add another 30km to your journey, past lakes with enchanting names like Frozen Ocean and through stands of 300-year-old Hemlock trees. There are many unserviced walk-in campsites to choose from and at Peskawa Lake you can even have a bunk and a woodstove.

The seaside adjunct to Keji

The seaside adjunct to Keji

For something a little more easy going, there are many shorter options more suited to an afternoon of cycling or hiking. Try renting a  canoe at Jake’s Landing and going for a paddle on the lake.

Wherever you go, you’re sure to meet some of the park’s natural inhabitants. Moose, white-tailed deer, beavers and turtles are all commonly seen and the haunting call of the loon often sings campers to sleep at night.

There are black bears in Keji but good management of the wilderness means bears and campers have so far always lived peacefully alongside one another, with none of the aggressive behavior sometimes seen in Western Canada.

Once you’ve explored the main part of Keji, don’t forget to have a look at the seaside adjunct, just off Highway 103. It has beautiful white-sand beaches and is home to the threatened piping plover, as well as other coastal birdlife. Two hiking trails provide the main access into the area.

Directions: There is only one park entrance and it’s off Highway 8, about 27km south of Milford and 21km north of South Brookfield.
Opening Hours: Open year-round but the visitor centre and all services run only between the middle of June and the Labour Day holiday in September.
Admission Fees: Entrance fees are $5.80 per adult, $2.90 per child or $14.70 for a family of 7 arriving in the same vehicle, with maximum 2 adults. Camping fees are $25.50 for a site at Jeremys Bay (hot showers and toilets but no powered sites).
Telephone: 902-682-2772 for reservations and information
Website: Kejimkujik National Park