Saint John is one of Canada’s oldest cities—there’s lots to do and see. New Brunswick is a true paradise for outdoor lovers, and Saint John’s coastal beauty will not disappoint. If you’re in the area, you gotta explore some of the parks and trails in and around the city!
We’ve been in Calgary for more than a week now. The house is nearly back to normal after unpacking and attacking Mt. Laundry. We travelled to New Brunswick to visit my in-laws and self-isolated for 14 days at the family farmhouse. The visits tend to feel short, usually split between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This time, COVID-19 travel restrictions didn’t allow for an NS visit (Next time, family and friends!). But there was a bit more time to explore NB.
I planned to get out one last time before driving 4,500 kilometres across the country. I searched trails near Saint John and wanted more than a couple kilometres. I considered a portion of the Fundy Footpath, but it would have taken too long. I was really happy to find Split Rock and Troy’s Trail.
About Split Rock and Troy’s Trail
Location: Lorneville (outside of Saint John)
Distance: 14 km out and back
Difficulty: Moderate (due to length and some steep sections)
Elevation: 173 m gain
Time: Approx. 4 – 5 hours
Features: Beautiful coastal trail with several lookouts, including views of Split Rock Lighthouse. There’s also a cave and beach access.
Hiking Split Rock & Troy’s Trail
This coastal hike was exactly what I wanted. It’s about 14 kilometres out and back, but I decided to hike one way and was finished by mid-afternoon. Split Rock trailhead was very easy to find, with a trail sign and parking lot on Black Beach Rd just past the Coleson Cove Generating Station. AllTrails was really helpful in locating the trailhead. Unfortunately, not all NB trails are accurate on the AllTrails app (I learned that the hard way).
Split Rock Trail is all views! The beginning is through thick alders, down an old road, and into a grassy meadow. The trail follows closely along the coastline. Thick fog hovered over the water, and waves crashed against the rocky shores. The faint foghorn off in the distance was a bonus. I didn’t mind the lingering fog with 20-degree temperatures and no rain.
There was only one other hiker on the trail, starting with Troy’s Trail from Black Beach. I was surprised to find the trail so quiet, but that was okay with me.
This trail is highly maintained with blue circle markers on trees to keep you on track (similar to Five Fathom Hole trail). Hikers should exercise caution around these exposed areas. There are also a couple rope sections to make it easier to manage the steepness. These ropes were especially helpful on the muddy path. My trekking poles were in my pack until I ended up on my butt shortly past the trailhead. Needless to say, I used poles for the rest of the trek!
As I trotted along, I took many opportunities to soak in the views at the lookouts. In one area, this meant walking through high and wet grass, but the sights were worth soaked pant legs. There wasn’t any rain during my hike, but it poured the day before and the trail was slick. I wore my ankle-high hiking boots and should have brought a pair of gaiters to keep dry. There is also a cave with a rope to climb down; I didn’t have time, but it looked cool.
From Split Rock to Troy’s Trail
Once I made it to the Split Rock Lighthouse, I bumped into a couple of people who drove just to view the lighthouse and surrounding area. Troy’s Trail begins just past the lighthouse and is back in the woods for the remainder of the hike.
Starting with Split Rock trail meant finishing the hike at Black Beach. After 7 kilometres in my hiking boots, my feet were glad to soak in the brisk Atlantic Ocean!
Fantastic Coastal Trails in New Brunswick
I would highly recommend Split Rock and Troy’s Trail to anyone who loves the Bay of Fundy coastline. I wouldn’t consider this an easy hike—some skill and fitness is required. The trail can be more difficult when it’s muddy. I like the choose-your-own-adventure potential of this hike: the full out and back is 14 kilometres, one way is 7 kilometres (with a pick up at Black Beach), or choose either Split Rock or Troy’s Trail. If I only had time for one trail, I would pick Split Rock for the views. If you’re like me, you’ll find this hike enjoyable and rewarding—even with a bruised backside!
Have you hiked Split Rock and Troy’s Trail? Do you have other favourite New Brunswick or Maritime hikes? Drop a comment below.
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