Experience UNESCO's Fundy Biosphere Reserve, the World's highest tides, local hospitality, and fire-side gourmet meals during a 4-day trek along the rugged Fundy Footpath. This unique trail (designated as part of the nation-wide Trans Canada Trail) has been described as one of the very best experiences Canada has to offer, and it is made all the more impressive during autumn when the trees display their brilliant red, orange, and golden hues. This special itinerary offers a rare and intimate experience with the changing tides, local story-telling, and fully-supported hiking along the shores of one of the last remaining stretches of wilderness on the continent's east coast. Enjoy a gourmet lobster dinner on the beach, fire grilled bacon wrapped scallops, and other coastal delicacies before falling asleep to the sound of the tides. Wake up to the challenge of the trail's ups and downs, roots and rocks each day. As bookends to the 4-day trek, we walk the ocean floor at the famous Hopewell Rocks, hike in beautiful Fundy National Park, learn about the local history and culture, and enjoy expansive lookouts from the Fundy Trail Parkway.
Although this is a short trek with no altitude to consider, it is characterized each day by multiple steep ascents and descents, for a total elevation gain/loss of around 4000m! As such, it is not recommended for trekkers with knee or other joint injuries.
We pick you up from your Moncton accommodation between 8:00 and 8:30am. Please be ready with your luggage in the lobby by 8am. We will arrive at the Hopewell Rocks (also known as the Flowerpot Rocks or simply 'the Rocks') by 9am and have the opportunity to walk the ocean floor at the base of the 20 meter tall rock formations and explore the coves before the extreme tides come flooding back in, leaving just small islands of rock where tall columns once stood. There is a very good information center at the entrance, signage throughout the grounds, and naturalists available to answer any questions you may have.
Continuing along the coast towards Fundy National Park, we take the scenic route in order to visit pretty Cape Enrage, New Horton Hawk Watch Site, and Mary's Point where, from mid-July to mid-August each year, millions of shorebirds stop over during their southerly migration.
Lunch/snacks are available for purchase at Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage. We will arrive in Alma, the gateway to Fundy National park, in time for dinner where you can choose from a small selection of dining establishments. We recommend the charming Octopus Garden Cafe for a live show and/or post-dinner beverages (no dinner service), including a good selection of local beers. They also serve a fantastic breakfast, catering to many dietary needs.
After breakfast, we head into the heart of pretty Fundy National Park to enjoy some of its most impressive day hikes. Fundy National Park covers approx. 207 square km from the rugged Bay of Fundy coast to the Acadian Highlands, and is characterized not only by its signature shoreline but by it's numerous waterfalls, mixed hardwood and softwood forests, and excellent recreational facilities. Today's first hike is short and sweet - Matthew's Head loop & Squaw's Cap Lookout will provide you with your first sweeping view of the Fundy coastline (weather permitting). Next we head inland to the longer Laverty Falls/Moosehorn Trail loop where we will stop for a picnic lunch by the falls and have the opportunity to go for a swim in the refreshing and picturesque natural pools. After a full day of hiking in the park, we return to Alma for dinner (own expense) and our cozy cabins in the park.
This morning we will head out on a day trip to explore the sites west of our main trekking route. The village of St. Martins marks the western edge of the Fundy Trail system and is best known for its charming covered bridges, lighthouses, and sea caves. Settled in 1783 as a major ship-building community, it is now a fishing harbour and the gateway to the Fundy Trail where the western end of the Fundy Footpath is marked by an interpretive center and impressive suspension bridge spanning the Big Salmon River. We will visit these sights today in order to gain some insight into the natural and human history of the area, as well as take in some of the views from the mad-made lookout platforms erected atop cliff sides. From here, you can look out over the coastline and imagine your next 4 days immersed in the rugged wilderness, away from the roads and onto trails far less explored.
This evening, we we will make our way to our camp on the grounds of Adair's Wilderness Lodge - A unique family-run lodge in the middle of the forest with a licensed restaurant serving home-made meals and local cuisine. The real charm comes from its owners and operators, Larry and Ida Adair, who will make you feel right at home. Larry grew up in these woods and knows them like the back of his hand - In fact, the Adairs were instrumental in the development of the Fundy Footpath itself. We have dinner at the lodge tonight and discuss the upcoming trek.
After a hearty breakfast at the lodge, we are transferred via old logging roads to join the Fundy Footpath at a remote trail head about 2km east of the Fundy Trail Parkway area that we visited yesterday. Soon after joining the main trail, we are afforded with a westward view of an exposed terrace overlooking the bay, where we may note a variety of wildflowers more commonly found at high altitudes. Then it's not long before our knees are tested with our first steep descent (the first of many) to the cobblestone, boxed-in beach at Cradle Brook and back up and out again via steep switchbacks to the next plateau. After a couple of hours on relatively flat ground, we begin another descent to the shoreline. Once we reach the beach, we make our way inland along the western edge of Little Salmon River before we get our feet wet (and possibly our legs too, depending on the tide) during the short river crossing over to the small set of stairs on the east side of the river taking us into our first campsite at Dustin Brook. Our crew has already arrived to set up camp and drop off our gear. Tonight is the first time we experience camp meals at their finest! Enjoy multi-course gourmet meals of fresh seafood and local fare. We simply settle in and enjoy our fine dining experience with our fellow trekkers under the stars.
Today we're in for a real treat! Not all who undertake the Fundy Footpath make the time for this side trip, but those who do say that it's a true highlight of the trail. This is where good water shoes, hiking poles, and a sense of adventure come in handy as we spend most of the day walking on slippery river rocks and in shallow water - And, depending on water levels, there may be points where the water comes up to your thighs! We are rewarded with stunning canyon views within Walton Glen Gorge and the 'Eye of the Needle'. If the group is up for a bit more scrambling, we may continue further to the base of Walton Glen Falls.
Those who prefer to a more relaxed walk can opt for a shorter hike to Little Salmon River beach, explore the area, or simply relax around the campsite. Tonight's meal is another campfire special - bacon wrapped sea scallops, anyone?
The length and difficulty of today's hike will depend on the tide. Regardless, we start our day with a series of steep switch-backs to climb out of Little Salmon River/Dustin Brook. Be sure to stop and rest on the way up to take in the beauty at multiple lookout points. After reaching the plateau, we'll pass by an old rock pile, two wood roads, and some marshy terrain before our first descent of the day into Rapidy Brook. The brook should be dry, unless there have been recent torrential rains. On the Eastern side, we follow the ridge of a moss-covered outcrop to ascend to the next marshy plateau which takes us to our next descent at pretty Wolf Brook. Wolf Brook itself is a bit of an adventure as it involves a small river crossing and a bit of scrambling on wet rocks (hiking poles once again are recommended!) before arriving at the mouth of the brook - A lovely spot for a food break and to take in the view. We ascend out of Wolf Brook, pass through an 'enchanted forest', and skirt some cliffs before descending into Telegraph Brook where, if the tide is low, we can continue by a beach shortcut to our campsite at Martin Head. If the tide is high, however, we will need to head back up and out of the brook, inland following the valley through dense maple and birch trees, across Prospector Brook and 2 wood roads, cross a cart road, follow an old wood road, down to Quiddy River, pass a primitive campsite, ascend out of Quiddy River, then finally make a gradual descent parallel to Martin Head Road until you arrive to your final campsite at Martin Head Beach. A scenic and popular ATV camping area on the weekend, we camp here mid-week in order to avoid any 'crowds'.
We are spoiled this evening with a special 'lobster boil' on the beach and an optional evening hike to the lighthouse on the point.
Our final day of hiking the Footpath is timed so that we can make it to Goose Creek for a crossing at low tide - Otherwise impassible when the tide is in. Be sure to stop and look back over the beach as you are ascending out of Martin Head. We'll cross Brandy Brook and, if time permits, take a short side trail to Tweedle-Dee Tweedle Dum Falls before continuing to Goose Creek via a stand of Alders, Green Valley Ridge, and Big Al's Perch. Upon arrival at Goose Creek, we'll pass a primitive campsite and continue to ford directly across to the eastern side of the creek to Dry Boulder Brook. The final stretch is lovely, with just 2 more pretty brooks to cross, more impressive views, birch groves, Black Spruce Forest, and a lovely beach, before the final ascent to our exit point at White Car Side Trail. The final view is spectacular - Enjoy a few minutes of stretching as you breath in the fresh air and look out over the coastline that has been your home for the past few nights. Our ride takes us back to Adair's where we enjoy a much-deserved shower, home-cooked meal, and comfortable bed.
After breakfast, the group will be transferred back to Moncton where the tour ends (transfers to Saint John can be arranged upon request). Ask about optional extensions to St. Andrew's By the Sea for sightseeing, sea kayaking at Deer Island, or Whale Watching tours.*The nearest airport from St. Andrew's is in Saint John, NB.
Per Person, Twin Share