Winter riding in NS

Hoping to ride all winter, have ordered lots of cold weather riding gear in. Sounds like studded tires will be needed. I was thinking that even with studs with the granite of Mcrun, its not going to be studded tire friendly, I would imagine the granite would wreck studded tires and it would be challenging to maintain traction on icy off camber granite even with studs. Do people still ride Mcrun in the winter when things are snowy and icy? For those that ride normal mtbs (non fat bikes) with studded tires where do you ride? I’m imagining a fat bike is going to allow riding in deeper non-packed down snowy trails but thinking studded tires on a normal mtb would allow for riding in shallow or packed in snow? Have a smart trainer ordered to get into the Zwift scene this winter but am hoping to also ride outside throughout the winter as well, just not sure what trails and conditions a normal mtb with studded tires would suit.

You’re right, McRun doesn’t see as much action in the winter unless there’s no snow down at all, but even then it can be icy. The granite is not kind to expensive studded tires.

We usually ride Whopper, Bowater and (previously), Spider Lake, but that appears to be off the table now, which is a shame. It was best in the winter. Wrandees also sometimes sees enough love to be rideable, but it also gets a ton of dog walkers who boot-bomb the trails and ruin them for literally everyone following a freeze/thaw cycle or two.

Regular studded tires are fine on pure ice, and highly packed trails. We usually organize snowshoe tamp down hikes to get the trails in better shape and then after a few fatty runs, they start to get rideable by everyone.


You really need to pay attention to the weather and trail conditions, but you shouldn’t have any trouble riding all winter in Halifax with studded skinnies (I’ve got the same setup).

Yes avoid trails with lots of granite unless they are snow covered. When it snows, most trails like norawarren, shubie, wrandees, spider, irishmans rd, nine mile river, etc. get beat down by snowshoers and walkers after a day or two, and then usually setup pretty decent for riding. Bowater is another great trail for winter riding even when the ground is bare.

Also depending on what type of snow we get and how cold it is, some places that are groomed for fatbiking (Vic Park, Irishmans Rd) will setup hard enough to support skinny tires. Vic Park was amazing last winter for all tire types. Again you just really need to pay attention to the conditions.


The trails that get a lot of foot traffic get packed really well if it stays cold for a few days after snow. Like @brightwhite says, a thaw where we get mushy snow and then a freeze leads to frozen boot bombs which can be uncomfortable or unrideable.

Some trails, like Wrandees, are at their best in the winter snow.

Nine Mile is usually pretty good, and there is a doubletrack section full of waterholes in spring, summer, and fall, that is great when it freezes solid in the winter.

Riding frozen lakes, rivers and streams is pretty fun too, being careful that they are well frozen. I’ve had a few breakthroughs of ponds and streams, which were memorable.


I usually try to get out and snowshoe Whooper. It’s always an option but again you need to be careful for the granite sections.


Norrawarren (West pine) is far more fun in the winter, Bowater is also far better in the winter!!


If you’re feeling adventurous and the lakes are frozen, head to the end of Brookside Road (heading to Peggys Cove) or Steven Murphy Drive (off of the road to Sambro) and follow the atv ruts . Only works if the lakes are frozen. Might make a trip to the city this winter to enjoy this ride again if anyone is interested in a tour. Studded tires a must.

Screenshot 2020-11-05 125421


That’s a good one, Tossed.

We’ve also been doing a great ride over the past few winters that only works when the lakes are frozen and is generally best on a fat bike. We ride Whopper and get on the lake at the lookout area on SusieQ and work our way over to Evil Birch. Ride that in and out and head back across the lake to Whopper. Great ride.