Looking for a hike with a view in New Brunswick? Friars Nose is a great option! Just a few minutes from Sussex, this winter hike through the forest does not disappoint. After a heavy snowfall, it’s best to bring snowshoes or wait until the trail has been packed down. If you’re new to winter hiking or just looking for a family-friendly trail, I’d recommend checking out Friars Nose Lookout.
I ended up on the Parlee Brook Amphitheatre trail after a major snowfall. Luckily, I brought my snowshoes and made it to the top of Friars Nose Lookout. I continued to the amphitheatre but turned around after becoming tired of breaking the trail. But I’ll return for the frozen falls when the trail is packed down.
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About Friars Nose Trail
Location: Parlee Brook, New Brunswick (near Sussex)
Distance: 3.5 km out and back
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (due to steepness)
Elevation: 216 m elevation gain
Time: 1.5 hours
Features: The Friars Nose trail offers unfettered views of the hills surrounding Sussex. This short but steep jaunt is a great winter excursion for solo adventures and family outings. If you’re looking for a longer day, consider continuing to the eye-catching Parlee Brook Amphitheatre.
Finding the Trailhead
Friars Nose trail begins at the Parlee Brook Amphitheatre trailhead. Google maps provides the correct location. Take Route 111 from Sussex Corner, then keep left onto Dutch Valley Road/Waterford Road, and turn right onto Parlee Brook Road after about 6 km. Follow Parlee Brook Road until reaching the last house on the right (the little abbey) and continue to the road closure.
There are “no parking” signs in front of the little house and beside the road before the winter road closure. Drive to the end of Parlee Brook Road and park where the plow stops. Don’t take up the wide section, or the plow will not be able to turn around.
Friars Nose Lookout—Winter Hiking in New Brunswick
Hiking or snowshoeing up to Friars Nose Lookout is a great way to spend part of your day. This out and back trail is about 3.5 km and takes around 1.5 hours. Don’t be fooled by the relatively short distance. You’ll need energy to trek up to the lookout. But don’t worry, it’s worth it! The first kilometre is a moderate incline until the junction. At this intersection, head left to immediately start the steep trek to the lookout. This stretch is less than a kilometre.
As you approach Friars Nose, you’ll see signs for the lookout and ATV parking. At the lookout, take some time to soak in views of rolling hills. But I’d suggest keeping some distance from the edge. There’s no fence or protective barrier, so children and pets especially need close supervision.
I’d recommend carrying a litre or two of water (I always bring this reservoir). Sadly, my dependable water bladder leaked (!), but the replacement part wasn’t too pricey. On the trail, it’s always important to have other options for drinking water. In the summer, I bring a water filter and purification drops. In winter, I hiked with a camp stove to melt and boil snow or ice (or just boil water). When the snow is deep, wear snowshoes to help pack down the trail. I’ve started packing my snowshoes in for most winter hikes (just in case).
Know Before You Go
Parking: While this is a popular winter trail, parking is very limited. There’s no parking lot and no parking in front of private dwellings or along sections of Parlee Brook Road. Drive to the end of the road (where the plow stops) and park there. Don’t park in the wide space where the plow turns around.
Toilets: You won’t find any toilets at the trailhead or on the trail. Be prepared to dig a cathole and/or pack out your waste. Learn more from Leave No Trace Canada.
Garbage: You won’t find garbage bins at the trailhead or along the trail. Pack out what you bring in. Do not leave any food waste or other litter on the trail.
Pets: Dogs are permitted on the trail. Please pick up after your pet. Bring a smell-proof bag to pack out dog poo. As far as I can tell, leashes are not mandatory but you must be able to control your pooch (and remember that not everyone likes dogs…). I’d recommend leashing especially when other people are around.
ATVs: This trail is shared with motor vehicles. Watch for snowmobiles this time of year and give them plenty of space.
Safety: Use caution around the frozen falls. Do not climb the ice without proper gear and experience. Watch for falling ice hazards and proceed with caution. Highly recommend packing a first aid kit (I carry this one).
Friars Nose Lookout Map
More New Brunswick Hiking Trails
There are so many beautiful hiking trails in New Brunswick. Here are a few that I’d recommend near Saint John:
- Parlee Brook Amphitheatre Trail Near Sussex, New Brunswick
- Split Rock Trail: You’ll Love This New Brunswick Hike
- Barnaby Head Trail in New River Beach Provincial Park
- Sam Orr Pond Trail in the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve
Have you hiked up to Friars Nose Lookout? What other NB hiking trails do you suggest in winter? Let me know in the comments below!
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