Near the Canada-U.S. border, Ganong Nature Park is just minutes from the town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick. If you enjoy being on the coast, you’ll love exploring this 350-acres nature preserve with trails, fields, and beach access. All year round, find picturesque views of the St. Croix estuary and Oak Bay. There’s something for everyone on these NB trails—locals and visitors alike!
On the East Coast, it’s exciting to discover different places close to my new home. We made it out to the Ganong Nature Park back in December. This community-based nature preserve is run by the St. Croix Estuary Project not-for-profit organization. While admission is free, individual donations help make the park sustainable for years to come.
Ganong Park is located on the traditional territory of the Peskotomuhkati Nation, which includes the watershed of the Skutik (St. Croix) River and Passamaquoddy Bay.
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About Ganong Nature Park
Location: Dufferin, New Brunswick
Distance: 4 km loop
Elevation: 60 m elevation gain
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Dog-friendly: Yes, but dogs must remain on a leash.
Features: Explore 350 acres of nature preserve owned and operated by the St. Croix Estuary Project. You’ll find several short trails to choose from, with the option of completing the scenic loop around the park. Walk on the ocean floor at low tide or hike through the forest to The Lookout. There’s plenty of open space, with large fields surrounded by dense forest.
Finding the Park
If you’re in Saint John, prepare for about an hour to reach the park. Head west on Route 1 for 96 km and then take exit 25 and turn left. Next, turn right onto Route 170 toward Oak Bay and then turn left onto Oak Haven Rd after a few minutes. Finally, take the left turn onto Todds Point Rd and continue to the Ganong Nature Park parking lot.
Ganong Nature Park Loop
Ganong Park has several short hiking trails. However, you can string them together for a longer loop. That’s exactly what we decided to do, hiking counter-clockwise around the park.
From the parking lot, head right in the forest along Echo Trail for the first 500 metres. This path quickly connects to the aptly named Field Edge Trail. You could continue along the edge of the field, or head down to the rocky shore. We cautiously walked along the kelp-covered rocks on Tidal Pool Trail until reaching the gazebo. Though you can stay on the shore for about a kilometre when the tide is low.
At the Quoddy Kiosk, keep going toward Ganong Cottage where you can head back in the forest on Berry Hill Road. Next is the gradual walk up Aux Hill and then return to the forest until reaching The Lookout. From the granite bluff, you’ll be greeted by views of Oak Bay and Pagan’s Cove on a clear day. If there’s fog over the water, it’s still a nice spot to stretch your legs. The full loop is about 4 km and can take less than an hour to complete.
Know Before You Go
Parking: There is free parking available at the park entrance.
Garbage: Do not leave anything behind. Pack out garbage, fruit peels, and dog poop. I carry this smell-proof pack out bag to pack out dog poo.
Campfires: Fires are not permitted in the park. Bring a campstove (I love my Jetboil) if you’d like to cook in the park.
Toilet: There are several outhouses within the park. During the summer season, public washrooms are also available.
Cost: There is no fee to enter the nature park. However, a donation box is available near the entrance to help run the park. You can also donate online.
Trails: While the trails are well-maintained, they can still present hazards like roots and slippery rocks. I recommend sturdy footwear.
Pets: Dogs are permitted in the park, but they must be on a leash. Please pick up after your pet.
Conservation: Practice Leave No Trace Principles and support environmental conservation in the area. The Peskotomuhkati Nation has been working to bring life back to the Skutik River, through improving fish and wildlife habitat. Please do what you can to preserve the natural landscape and ecosystems.
Note: Several readers have warned about the amount of ticks in Ganong Nature Park. Depending on the time of year, consider whether or not to bring your pup. Wear long pants/long-sleeved shirts and use bug repellent. In the summer, always check yourself (and your pup) for ticks after you’ve been out.
What To Bring
If you’re planning to hike the full loop, you’ll want to bring hiking essentials along. Bring a day pack with water, snacks, first aid, and some clothing layers. In the winter, bring several layers along to stay warm outside. No matter the season, you should always bring a rain jacket when hiking on the coast. Plus, sturdy hiking boots are useful on the rocky shoreline and the uneven forest terrain. Also, hiking poles can be very helpful to keep your balance. An extra pair of socks is never a bad idea on New Brunswick hiking trails. To carry it all, my favourite daypack is the Osprey Hikelite 18 litre.
Trail signs and information are spread throughout the park. Though you may also want to bring this self-guided tour map along. GPS can also be helpful. On a clear day, you can see the St. Croix Island International Historic Site—one of the first French settlements started in 1604.
Ganong Nature Park Loop Map
Have you visited Ganong Nature Park in New Brunswick? Tell me about your experience below.
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