The hike to Archibald Lake is an easy/moderate difficulty walk 1.4 km along a backroad, followed by about 1 km on a cleared trail. The hike passes through a spectacular old growth forest growing on top of a drumlin, and a pretty waterfall between Rocky and Archibald Lakes. It ends at a sandy beach on Archibald Lake. The elevation change over the hike is around 50 meters. Some of the backroad can be flooded, which requires short excursions around it. (Waterproof boots are recommended after a rain.) Much of the route is covered by a mature tree canopy, so it is cool even on a hot summer day. Mobile phone reception on the trail is good.
Directions: Follow the directions to the trailhead using the maker on Google Maps. We recommend parking cars on the Indian River Road and walking the short distance to the trailhead. Follow the narrow backroad down the hill at the trailhead. Keep walking until an intersection is reached (400 m - all distances measured from the trailhead) and follow the road on the left. The old growth forest will appear at about 1 km. Continue to the boat launch on Rocky Lake (1.4 km). From here, the backroad ends and the hike follows a cleared trail. Blue trail makers have been added, but the route is obvious. The waterfall can be heard off to the left at 1.7 km - it is a short walk through the woods. A very rough trail to the waterfall can be found opposite a pink trail maker. The last 100 meters of the hike passes close to the edge of wetland between Rocky and Archibald Lakes. The beach is 2.2 km from the trailhead. On the side of the lake opposite the beach water flows out of the lake and down a brook into the St. Mary’s River. Learn more about this important river system here.
Forest Biodiversity: Some volunteer members of the St. Mary’s River Association have been documenting the rich biodiversity in the forests around the lake. Please consider contributing to this citizen science project on your hike. The biodiversity data are archived on a project using iNaturalist: Archibald Lake - Guysborough County. If you plan to participate, we encourage you to learn in advance how to use the free app. This will greatly enhance the value of your observations. Please review some of these videos.
Archibald Lake Wilderness Area: The trail takes participants into the proposed Archibald Lake Wilderness Area. Hikers can learn more about the history of this area by reviewing the content here.
Social Media: Find us on Twitter and Instagram @ArchibaldLake. If you post photos of your hike on social media, please consider using the hashtags #ArchibaldLake or #SaveArchibaldLake.
We hope you enjoy the hike to Archibald Lake! Please don’t leave any garbage on the trail, but please do leave your comments (and photos) on Google Maps.