Kouchibouguac National Park is a hidden gem on Canada’s Acadian coast. Established in 1969, the Park has offered outdoor enjoyment for millions of people. Whether you’re into sea kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking or simply laying on a beach and enjoying an ice cream, Kouchibouguac has it all to offer!
If hiking is your thing, here are the ten best trails in Kouchibouguac, they vary in length and difficulty, but offer little in the way of elevation, as coastal New Brunswick is fairly flat.
1. The Beaver Trail
The Beaver Trail is a fantastic introduction to hiking in Kouchibouguac National Park. It’s a relatively easy, relatively flat 1.4km through forestry, leading to a beaver dam — if you stick around long enough, you may spot a beaver or two! Be sure to bring your cameras. A variety of birds and flowers line the trail and visit the trees, so keep your eyes peeled. All in all, the Beaver Trail is an easy, enjoyable afternoon hike.
2. The Bog Trail
Bring bug spray for the Bog Trail! A relatively easy self-guided hike along a boardwalk awaits on the Bog Trail. When the bog is dry, a vast, open expanse can be seen for miles and miles! The first part of the trail leads to a spiral staircase which has become a lookout point for moose, if you’re up early enough in the morning. The Bog Trail is another fantastic, easy way to spend an afternoon.
3. Claire-Fontaine Trail
The village of Claire-Fontaine stood on the grounds which are now home to Kouchibouguac National Park. The trail, named after that village features plenty of dark undergrowth, perfect for a rest spot on a summer day. You’re also treated to a mature aspen grove and several bodies of water as you hike. The terrain is relatively flat and you’ll have to keep an eye out for ducks and other waterfowl in the Spring, as they feed in the brooks and ponds that dot the trail.
4. Pines Trail
The Pines Trail is a short loop trail through a beautiful Acadian forest in the heart of Kouchibouguac. Majestic white pine stretching skyward line the relatively flat trail, and where there isn’t pine, there’s a variety of flora and fauna, as well as a variety of mushrooms. This is a relatively short hike of about 15-30 minutes, but well worth it!
5. Kouchibouguac River Trail
6. Osprey Trail
Hiking the Osprey Trail is a terrific way to spend the day in Kouchibouguac. You’ll follow the meandering of the Rankin Brook all the way to the Black River Peninsula which is home to some gorgeous vistas of the sea and land beyond. At other points in this shoreline trail, you’ll be able to see Ospreys or bald eagles diving for fish, with any luck! The Osprey is a diverse and often overlooked trail in the park, perfect for a short-ish, 2 hour hike.
7. Kelly’s Beach Boardwalk
Take in a gorgeous sunset along this boardwalk trail at Kelly’s Beach. Stretching from the ice-cream stand inland out across the estuary to the South Kouchibouguac Dunes. Though a short 1.2km hike, the beauty of the surrounding area is what stands out. An easy, breezy ike by the seaside awaits at Kelly’s Beach.
8. Tweedie Trail
The choice is yours on the Tweedie Trail — do you take the shortcut, or go the long-way around? This double-loop trail, named after the family which once inhabited the land is a gorgeous, easy hike overlooking the Kouchibouguac River, vast grasslands, forestry and marshland. Stop to fish trout in the Spring along the banks of the river or explore the point — which was a 19th century shipbuilding hub of the east coast. History and natural beauty abound in an easy hike along Tweedie Trail.
9. Mi’kmaq Cedar Trail
Walk among the cedars and experience the history of Kouchibouguac as the original Mi’kmaq inhabitants did. Along this short trail, you’ll learn how the Mi’kmaq look after the land and especially the cedar trees which characterize the area of the Park. The trail goes out to the coast from the humid undergrowth, providing great coastal views.
10. Salt Marsh Trail
Explore Kouchibouguac’s salt marsh on this short but enjoyable trail. A boardwalk is your hiking surface on the Salt Marsh Trail, as you loop around the marsh and hopefully don’t get bitten by the mosquitoes! (Bring bug spray!) This loop is the perfect way to spend half an hour or so in a less-frequented area of Kouchibouguac National Park.
Kouchibouguac National Park has plenty to offer any visiting hiker, especially for those looks for a leisurely stroll, rather than a strenuous summit-climb.
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