There's an island just off the coast of Nova Scotia that not many people have even heard of, including many locals. Despite its wholly untouched nature, it's become known as the best place for bouldering in all of the region and even in all of Canada. With that being said, it's also not always the ideal place to be stuck - high winds, heavy surf, and overall seafaring conditions can quickly turn a trip to this island into something that's far from what was expected.


Despite the present threat of sailing to this island, many people have found that it's one of the most unique landmarks in Nova Scotia. Each year, it's home to a bouldering competition that attracts hundreds from all over to try their hands at the rock face boulders that cover the island. Additionally, it's free to camp on, even further enticing those who are committed to a weekend in nature with no modern amenities. So, what is this island in question?

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The 'Ocean Playground' Of Canada

Dover Island is located less than one mile off the coast of Nova Scotia but it could not be more different from the mainland. It has long since attracted outdoor enthusiasts, including rock climbers, kayakers, hikers, and campers, promising a setting that's untouched and remote. Although the mainland is located just offshore, the island itself feels entirely secluded thanks to the large waves that lap at its coast and the wind that occasionally keeps visitors in their tents rather than outside of them. The island can be seen from West Dover, which is an equally small community with only one main road - and even this feels more civilized than that of Dover Island.

The biggest allure of this island is its cliffs, which hover just over the Atlantic Ocean and have called to climbers for decades. With that being said, it's also a challenge to those who think they've perfected the sport; fog regularly rolls in and prevents anyone from having a clear line of sight, and the top of these cliffs see some significant wind speeds. Despite all of that, it's still home to the island's annual Boulderfest, which is hosted by Climb Nova Scotia.

It's a chance for climbers to show off their bouldering skills and commune as they spend the weekend camping at this unique island campsite. It's so popular, in fact, that tickets usually aren't available after 24 hours thanks to the eager climbers waiting to stretch their limbs on Dover Island.

Life On Dover Island

Known by Taylor Island by the locals in West Dover - as that's how it's seen on nautical maps - is quite serene. Once a visitor gets past the intense winds and occasional inclement weather conditions, it can be seen for what it is: a haven for 50 endangered species, and a natural ecosystem that's unique from its moss-covered cliffs all the way to its incredible shoreline. Those hiking on the island on a sunny day will be mesmerized by its secluded yet seemingly teeming with life beaches, the rocky formations that cover the expanse of the island, and the general sense of tranquility that comes with its remoteness.

Those climbing its features will be more than happy to strap on their gear and try their hand at climbing the cliffs on this beautiful island if only to get a glimpse at the sights from the top. Either way, the trip is worth it for those who are truly looking to live like a pioneer for a few days. The campsite is easy to find and while there are barely any rules and regulations, the same general respect applies - carry in and carry out, and don't disturb the wildlife.

Getting To The Island

Getting to Dover Island is somewhat tricky and doing so requires advanced planning. The only entrance to the island is from West Dover, and those interested will need to either find a boat ride over or rent a kayak in order to do so. Obviously, this can be a hassle with tons of bouldering or camping gear, so careful planning should go into any Dover Island trip. Additionally, hikers should know that there is no fresh water on the island so bringing water along for the ride is an absolute must.

  • As of 2011, those interested in booking a boat ride to Dover Island are advised to contact Laurence 'Rod' Morash at the OceanSpray B&B in West Dover. Visitors should give at least three day's notice before their intended time of arrival and be respectful of his time. Interested parties can find more information here under 'Booking a Boat to Dover Island.'

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