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 Mount Laundry. After five years of living in the West, people still like to ask, “Which do you prefer, Alberta or the Maritimes?” There used to be no contest, but I’ve come to appreciate this place. Though the East Coast will always be home—you know, once a Maritimer, always a Maritimer! For those who don’t know: 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!). So there was a little more space to explore NB.
We were almost ready to start the journey home. I needed 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 (Definitely on my list!). I was really happy to find Split Rock and Troy’s Trail.
About Split Rock & 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. I set out around noon. It’s about 14 km out and back, but I decided to hike one way and was finished by 2:30 pm. 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 (but not all NB trails are accurate on the app…. I learned that the hard way).
This trail is all views! The beginning is through thick alders, down an old road, and into a grassy meadow with a rugged lookout platform. From here, the trail follows closely along the coastline.
This was an afternoon of solitude. The thick fog over the water with waves crashing against the rocky shores was all I needed. The faint foghorn off in the distance was a bonus. I didn’t mind the lingering fog with 20-degree temperatures and no rain. Perfect for my solo adventure. I only came across one other hiker who started at Troy’s Trail trailhead at Black Beach. We met about halfway through the hike. I was surprised to find the trail so deserted, but it was a weekday.
This trail is highly maintained with blue circle markers on trees to keep you on track (similar to Five Fathom Hole trail). While it was a beautiful jaunt, 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 could have brought a pair of gaiters to keep dry. I was able to see some nice views but was glad when the fog lifted halfway between the trailhead and Split Rock Lighthouse. There is also a cave with a rope to climb down; I didn’t have time, but it looked cool.
Once I got to Split Rock Lighthouse, I bumped into a couple of people who drove just to view the lighthouse and surrounding area. The Troy’s Trail trailhead is just past the lighthouse. This portion of the hike was more in the woods than the previous trail.
I was happy to start with Split Rock because I ended the hike at Black Beach. After 7 km in my hiking boots, my feet were glad to (briefly) dip into the brisk Atlantic Ocean!
This was such a great afternoon hike along the coast. 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. And 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 km, one way is 7 km (with a pick up at Black Beach), or choose either Split Rock or Troy’s 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!