There’s nothing quite like a coastal New Brunswick hike. It’s a true paradise for outdoor lovers, and you won’t be disappointed by the Bay of Fundy coastline. Saint John is one of Canada’s oldest cities—there’s lots to do and see. So, if you’re in the area, be sure to explore some of the parks and trails in and around the city.

Split Rock Trail lighthouse on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada
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There are lots of great views of Musquash Head Lighthouse.

We travelled to New Brunswick to visit my in-laws, and self-isolated for 14 days at the family farmhouse. These visits tend to feel short, usually between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (where my family lives). This time, COVID-19 travel restrictions didn’t allow for an NS visit (next time!). But that meant I could fit in a long-awaited New Brunswick hike (or two). And Split Rock Trail near Saint John was high on my radar.

About Split Rock Trail (with Troy’s Trail)

Split Rock Trail views of the Bay of Fundy
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The beautiful coastline from Split Rock trail.

Location: Lorneville, New Brunswick
Distance: 14 km out and back
Difficulty: Moderate (due to length and some steep sections)
Elevation: 173 m gain
Time: Approx. 4 – 5 hours
Dog-friendly: Yes
Features: Beautiful coastal trail with several lookouts, including views of the Musquash Head Lighthouse. There’s also a cave and beach access. Split Rock Trail and Troy’s Trail are both highly maintained and offer exceptional views of the Bay of Fundy coastline.

Finding the Split Rock Trailhead

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Taking in the views on Split Rock Trail in New Brunswick.

To start, Split Rock trailhead is easy to find. There’s a sign and parking lot on Black Beach Road just past the Coleson Cove Generating Station. AllTrails was helpful in locating the trailhead, but not every New Brunswick hike is accurate on the app (I learned that the hard way, on a different hike).

Split Rock Trail in New Brunswick
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Alders at the beginning of Split Rock trail.

Hiking Split Rock Trail

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The rocky shore on Split Rock trail relatively soon after the trailhead.

This 14-kilometre out and back coastal hike was exactly what the doctor ordered. Though I decided to hike one way, starting in the late morning and was finished by mid-afternoon.

The hike starts off through thick alder bushes, down an old road, and into a grassy meadow. Then following closely along the coastline. On my trip, thick fog hovered over the water while big waves crashed against the rocky shores. The faint foghorn off in the distance was a bonus. But I’ll take a foggy day when it means 20-degrees 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.

Read more: Barnaby Head Trail in New River Beach Provincial Park

Split Rock Trail in NB
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Split Rock.
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Views of the Musquash Head Lighthouse.
Forest trail
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A good portion of Split Rock trail is in the woods.

Hiking Troy’s Trail

Lighthouse in New Brunswick
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The trail leading up to Musquash Head Lighthouse.

I bumped into a few people hangout out at the Musquash Head Lighthouse as it’s possible to access from the road. Once past the lighthouse, Troy’s Trail begins and it’s back in the forest for the remainder of the hike.

Starting at the Split Rock end means finishing the hike at Black Beach. I’d recommend this route. After 7 kilometres in hiking boots, is there a better feeling than soaking your feet in the brisk Atlantic Ocean?

Read more: Sam Orr Pond Trail in the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve

Troy's Trail in NB
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Troy’s Trail begins right after Musquash Head Lighthouse.
Forest hike in NB
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Troy’s Trail stays inside the forest for most of the hike.
New Brunswick coastline
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Some nice Bay of Fundy views on Troy’s Trail.
Black Beach near Saint John, NB
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Black Beach in Lorneville, New Brunswick.

Know Before You Go

Split Rock Trail ocean views
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Bring trekking poles and other hiking essentials.

This trail is highly maintained with blue circle markers to keep you on track (similar to Five Fathom Hole trail). However, even though the trail is clear, hikers should exercise caution around exposed cliffs. Also, there are a couple of roped areas to provide support through steep sections. These ropes are especially helpful on a muddy trail. There is also a cave with a rope to climb down. Sadly, I didn’t have time, but it looked cool.

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 day!

As I trotted along, I took some opportunities to soak in the views at the lookouts. In one area, this meant walking through knee-high, wet grass (but the sights were worth soaked pants). I should have brought a pair of gaiters to keep dry.

Beautiful New Brunswick Hike

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Many viewpoints along Split Rock Trail.

Split Rock is easily one of the best hikes in the Saint John area. I would highly recommend Split Rock and Troy’s Trail to anyone who loves the Bay of Fundy coastline. So you know, I wouldn’t consider this an easy hike—some skill and fitness is required. The trail can become 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 to do either Split Rock or Troy’s Trail. If I only had time for one trail, I would choose Split Rock for the views.

If you’re like me, you’ll find this hike enjoyable and rewarding—even with a bruised backside!

Split Rock Trail Map

Have you hiked Split Rock and Troy’s Trail? Do you have other favourite New Brunswick or Maritime hikes? Drop a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts

  1. Excellent suggestion, i just completed both trails. Since I wasn’t sure if I was able to do the entire back and forth of 14 kilometers I started on Black Beach and once at the lighthouse I continued on Split Rock trail and hiked back to Black Beach. No hitchhiking possible, I was the only person on the trail.

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