New Brunswick is the East Coast’s hidden gem. It’s a small province, but offers plenty of outdoor activity and enjoyment for everyone — from it’s Fundy coastline to its inland national parks, New Brunswick remains a firm favourite for visitors (and residents) of Canada’s East Coast. And what better way to experience all that New Brunswick has to offer, than from the saddle of a bicycle?
Ernest Hemingway once said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, because you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” That is definitely true of New Brunswick. Below are ten of the province’s best routes for those on two wheels.
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1. Kouchibouguac National Park Trails
Length: 60km (including 6.3km MTB trail)
Kouchibouguac National Park sits on the east coast of New Brunswick, and is home to 60km worth of bicycle trails, of which there are two types — loose gravel trails intended for either road or mountain bikes — these will lead you both in and out of the Park, along the coastline and through the wilderness, taking in all of the glory of New Brunswick’s East Coast National Park. There is also a single mountain bike trail, known as Major Kollock’s Trail is 6.3km of rugged terrain, friendly only to the more experienced mountain bike riders.
2. The New Brunswick Trail
The New Brunswick Trail is a vast network of trails (sometimes intersecting with other trails that we’ve covered below) stretching across the province. The conditions for the NB Trail range from flat gravel paths to muddy dirt roads. This trail is a multi-purpose trail, used by hikers and while it is restricted to motor vehicles, dirtbikes and ATVs frequently use it for travel. While the New Brunswick is it’s official name, the trail system is split into ten zones and these are not necessarily in order of travel, though they do cover the entire province from Edmundston to Saint Andrews and Sackville to Tracadie-Sheila, in the north.
3. The Riverside Trail, Moncton
The Riverside Trail in Moncton is one of the most sought after trails in the inner-cities of New Brunswick. Getting away from the city life for twenty-seven glorious kilometres following the Petitcodiac River. There are specific route directions for this trail, though the signposting is fairly recognizable: Stay on the trail running parallel to the river all the way to the bridge. Once you reach the bridge, turn left. Cross the river to Riverview, head East (going with the marshes out to sea), stay on this trail till it ends. Returning, be sure to fork left, to go over the bridge to return to Moncton, rather than under which would lead you into Riverview. Google Maps Link
4. The Caraquet Loop
Length: 60 KM
The Caraquet Loop is a fantastic way to explore New Brunswick’s northernmost shoreline and immerse yourself in the fantastic Acadian culture which is a staple of New Brunswick’s northeast in particular. You’ll experience the uniqueness of Caraquet, with a glorious view of the ocean as you ride. If you care to stop along the way, you can also eat some local cuisine, such as poutiné or poutine rapeé (potato dumplings) or fricot (a stew made with either rabbit or chicken). This route is incredibly flat, with little to no elevation gain.
5. Sugar Loaf Bike Park
Length: ~2-5km downhill riding
Sugarloaf Bike Park is situated around Sugarloaf Mountain, near Campbellton in New Brunswick’s Northeast, just a few kilometres from the border with Quebec. The park is mainly designed with the mountain bike in mind. It’s trails are downhill mountain bike trails — slim and fast — but there are also a few boardwalk trails for those not seeking the downhill rush. A full day’s riding at the park will cost you $25.00 for an adult (19+) and $20.00 for students and youth (6-18). SugarLoaf Bike Park is also home to Adrenaline Bike Festival every Summer, which offers competitive fun for all ages.Trail Maps Link
6. Fredericton Valley Trail.
Length: 10.1kmThe Fredericton Valley Trail begins in downtown Fredericton and takes you out along the Saint John River for 10 kilometers of serene countryside on your left, and gorgeous running water on your right. It’s a multi-purpose trail that’s a part of the Trans-Canada Trail, so you should be weary of thru-hikers and walkers, who also frequently use the trail. While the trail isn’t signposted, it is very easy to follow and there is little-to-no elevation gain whatsoever.Google Maps Link
This is part of the larger 115 kms Fredericton River Valley Trail that traverses both sides of the St Johns River.
7. Fundy Trail Parkway
The Fundy Trail Parkway is a conglomerate of different multipurpose trails for use by hikers and bikers alike. There is one specific trail that is mostly used by cyclists, however — that is the Cranberry Brook Trail, a 16km trail meandering the Fundy Coastline, taking you right along the shore to the Cranberry Brook lookout, which gives you another opportunity to take in the beauty of Fundy National Park and the Bay of Fundy in its totality. The trail also takes you through some spectacular waterfall lookouts and other inland attractions, though things can get quite steep at times with anywhere between zero and three hundred metres of elevation gain.Trail Map Link
8. The Tantramar Trail
Trail Length: 75km
The Tantramar Trail is part of the Trans-Canada Trail stretching from Sackville, NB to Port Elgin, NB — nearing the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island. This trail is a multi-purpose trail used by thru-hikers and bikers alike, taking the rider through serene marshlands and busy farmlands, near tidal bores and waterfalls. Right alongside the town of Sackville, which is home to Mount Allison University, and the it’s infamous Sackville Waterfowl Park, which is a great place to stop and take some photos of birds, ducks and other water-borne wildlife.Trail Map Link
9. Perimeter Trail, St. Andrews.
Length: 7kmThe Perimeter Trail at Minister’s Island in St. Andrews at the furthest southernmost point of New Brunswick is one of the shortest, but most enjoyable circumferencing routes in the entire provinces. It is only accessible at low-tide via a land-bridge. At only 7km in length, it’s a short ride, so you should take as many opportunities as possible to stop and enjoy the view. There have been reportings of white-tail deer sightings on the island, so keep an eye out for those and be sure to keep an eye on the tides, as they notoriously come in fast in New Brunswick.Trail Map Link
10. Irishtown Nature Park Trails.
Length: 4.7km cumulatively
Irishtown is a small community located about ten minutes outside of Moncton. It is home to the Irishtown Nature Park — a huge 2,200 acre area of grasslands and forestry, and over 250 acres of water in the park. There are several multi-purpose trails within the park, covering 4.7 cumulative kilometres. The trails are well groomed and loose gravel, with little to no elevation gain. They are just a short ride or car trip away from the city of Moncton, which is home to several bike shops, so that you can get a tune-up before you ride!
There are many, many reasons to visit New Brunswick and ride. Or, if you live here, there are even more reasons to get out on two wheels. From sprawling seaside vistas to intricate inland trail systems, New Brunswick has something for everyone aspiring to follow Hemingway and learn the contours of the country best from the saddle of their bicycle.
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