Riding your bike with your family is always a great way to spend an evening, or even a weekend. It gets everyone outside, active and brings the family closer together. New Brunswick is no stranger to families on vacation — many coming from all across Canada to see what the east coast has to offer. If you’re one of these traveling families headed east (with bicycles) this Summer, here are fifteen family rides in New Brunswick for you to check out.
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1. Kouchibouguac National Park (River Trail)
Kouchibouguac National Park was built for family fun. The River Trail is one of the Park’s outer trails, it’s 11km of mainly flat, crushed gravel trails, perfect for either mountain bikes or hybrids, though due to the loose gravel, perhaps not for thin-tired road bikes. Along the way you can stop at Kelly’s beach for a refreshing cold drink and an ice cream from the dairy bar located there. There are also multiple picnic tables and log cabins dotted along the route, so you can even bring a packed lunch. There is also the Sipu campground along this route, so if you wanted to pick a place to camp, this is available to you.
2. Bunny Hop Trail — Irishtown Nature Park
The Bunny Hop Trail in Irishtown Nature Park is meant for the adventurous. If you’re a thrill-seeking family, then the Bunny Hop trail is for you. Some sections of the trail are steep, and run alongside a lake, also they remain ‘natural’ — meaning that they have largely remained ungroomed since their creation, thus they are tailored towards those not looking for a nice, clean, clear-cut trail. Trail Map Link
3. Sackville Waterfowl Park (Part of the Trans-Canada Trail)
One of the shorter trails in our list is the trail that circumnavigates the Sackville Waterfowl Park. One of the main attractions of the town of Sackville is it’s famous Waterfowl Park, there are over three kilometers of trails going around and within the park itself, which is home to Canada Geese and myriad species of birds. The boardwalks provide ample view of all of the animalia of the park, a great place to ride through, although it is usually fairly busy, so it might be advisable to either lock your bikes up, or walk alongside them.
Trail Map Link(Page 9 contains the map, rotate right to view right-side-up)
4. Sugar Mama Trail, Sugarloaf Bike Park
Length 2km (downhill)
The Sugar Mama Trail in Sugarloaf Bike Park, near Campbellton in the north of the province is a fantastic way for a family of mountain bikers to spend the afternoon. There’s the “Pump Track” at the bottom of the hill, which is a good place for the kids to practice their mountain bike skills — balance and control at speed. After you’re feeling comfortable that they’ve mastered it — accompany them up the hill to Sugar Mama, where a 2km downhill straight beckons. Bike Park
5. Connaught Woods Mountain Bike Trail, Moncton
Length: 4.38kmThe mountain bike trails at Connaught Woods are one of the city of Moncton’s best mountain bike trail systems, with a mix of dense woodland and wood trail bridges and ever-changing elevation profiles, it’s a challenging route for a family of moderately-experienced mountain bikers. So long as you and your kids are confident enough in your mountain biking abilities, you’ll have great fun in Connaught Woods.
6. Fish Quarry Trail, French Fort Cove, Miramichi
Fish Quarry is located in French Fort Cove park in Miramichi — a city located smack-dab in the middle of the province’s east coast. French Fort Cove provides you and your kids myriad cycling opportunities, from loose gravel to downhill mountain bike adrenaline rushes. Fish Quarry is one such adrenaline-rush trail, featuring a 19m climb followed by a steep 45m descent — it should only take a few minutes for you to barrage down the hill. Therefore it’s advisable that you and the kids are confident mountain bike riders before you attempt Fish Quarry — but the rest of French Fort Cove can be explored without the need for such a high level of skill, so, enjoy!
7. White Rock Recreational Area, Hillsborough
Length: ~10km (in total)
White Rock Recreational Area in Hillsborough has been described as a hidden gem. It offers over 50 different trails — both single and double track upon which to ride — with a mix of loose gravel and woodland. It is much better suited to mountain bikes. If you’re a family of three or more, you should stick to the double-track trails. The area is also mostly flat, as it leads to the Fundy shores.
8. Mactaquac Provincial Park MTB Trails
Length: 10km(accessible to mountain bikes)
Mactaquac Provincial Park, located in Mactaquac, near Fredericton on New Brunswick’s south shore. While most of the trails in the Park are multi-use or only reserved for hikers, there are still about 10km worth of trails that are accessible to mountain bikes, but riders should be wary of hikers also on the trails.
9. Centennial Park Trails, Moncton
Centennial Park in Moncton is one way to escape from the hustle and bustle of an inner city. Centennial is home to several dozen kilometers of multi-use trails, coupled with hiking and walking trails are the cycling trails. These are mostly loose gravel trails — but vary widely from double to single track and some downhill. So, if you and the family are visiting Moncton, be sure to check out Centennial Park and it’s many kilometres of cycling trails which loop and meander throughout the park.
10. Anchorage Provincial Park, Grand Manan Island
Anchorage Provincial Park, located on Grand Manan Island in the Southwest of New Brunswick provides a seaside cycling getaway for the whole family. As you’re on an island, you’re surrounded by birds and there are several places to stop and enjoy the view, and do some bird-spotting. If you wish to stay on the island, there is a highly-rated campground in the park, just a short cycle from the trailheads.
11. West Bathurst Cycling Trail, Bathurst
Length: 4.3kmNew Brunswick’s northern city of Bathurst has really done some fantastic work with it’s trails in recent years. This includes the creation of over 12km worth of trails, one third of which is the West Bathurst Cycling/Walking Trail. This trail is a loose gravel trail with very little elevation gain, which goes from city to woodland and back again as the kilometers tick by. They are well groomed and so are accessible to both mountain and hybrid bicycles, but I wouldn’t chance thin road bike wheels and tires on them. They are also particularly wide trails — perfect for a family to ride two-abreast.
12. Bay of Fundy National Park, Alma.
The Bay of Fundy National Park is home to a vast network of trails, many are used by hikers. However, the Fundy Parkway Trail stretches sixteen kilometers along the Fundy Coast, which is a multi-use trail made up primarily of loose gravel. Fundy National Park is a must-see for any family visiting New Brunswick, and Fundy Parkway Trail will take you and the family through many different settings, from waterfalls to scenic woodland to the windy Fundy coastline.
13. Odell Park, Fredericton.
Odell Park’s mountain bike trails in Fredericton are mainly located around a 2.4km loop, amassing 557ft of elevation. It’s a loose-gravel, multi-use trail which loops around the park itself and has multiple inlets to the main areas of the park, where you can stop and walk around for a bit, or find a nice spot to sit and picnic. It’s a great day out on the outskirts of Fredericton for the whole family.
14. Sussex Bluffs, Sussex.
Sussex is located in the south of New Brunswick, it is a place of hills and is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Canada. Sussex is also home to a set of ‘bluffs’ — cliffs with a broad face — this is where Sussex grants you and your family some glorious, if difficult riding. While the ride across the First and Second Bluffs may be a short three kilometers, there is plenty of climbing to be done, with almost 450ft right out of the gate on the First Bluff, you can also stop and admire some stunning views after you crest the hilltop. The Sussex Bluffs are a fun, but tiresome ride for the whole family.
15. Bouctouche to Cap Lumiere
Perhaps best done in a full day’s worth of riding, this loop from Bouctouche — a town about 40 minutes north of Moncton — out to the eastern coastline of New Brunswick and through some of the Acadian heartland, before heading back into Bouctouche again — is a fantastic way to experience at least some of what the east coast of New Brunswick has to offer, from it’s glorious sprawling beaches, with clear views of Prince Edward Island on a sunny day, to it’s exquisite Acadian cusiine, this all-day ride is a great way to get out with the family and explore the east coast in all it’s glory. If you are riding with little ones, choose a length appropriate for your group and bike on!
There are many ways to enjoy a summer in New Brunswick as a family — to appropriate Oscar Wilde’s “Animal Farm”, “four wheels good, two wheel better!”. There is no better way to explore the province as a family than on two wheels, it presents fun-filled days of unique challenges, stunning vistas and the very best of the East Coast.