The Sam Orr Pond Trail is a beautiful spot for snowshoeing and winter hiking. New Brunswick finally got enough snow to break out the snowshoes. If you’re looking for a family-friendly park near St. Andrews, I’d recommend visiting the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve. I’ll definitely be back in the summer (and likely before!).
After moving to New Brunswick about a month ago, I’ve been keen to explore new trails near me. Sam Orr Pond Trail had come highly recommended. Yesterday, I finally had the chance to visit. After a big snowfall, this was the perfect place to snowshoe by the Bay!
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About Sam Orr Pond Trail
Location: Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve, Bocabec, New Brunswick
Distance: 3.5 km loop
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation: 52 m elevation gain
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Dog-friendly: Yes, but dogs must remain on-leash.
Features: Sam Orr Pond Trail is well-groomed with ample signage. This family-friendly path offers a loop around the pond with nice views from the lookout. However, you’ll need low tide to complete the full trail across the rock sill (otherwise will need to double back). Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve is one of New Brunswick’s protected natural areas.
Finding the Trailhead
Only a 10-minute drive from historic St. Andrews, the Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve is a beautiful area to explore and very easy to locate. Take the Trans Canada (Route 1) west from Saint John. Then take exit 39 onto Route 127 toward Bocabec and St. Andrews. After about 7 km, the parking area will be on the right. Walk across the street to find the signed Sam Orr Pond trailhead.
I parked on the road shoulder as the parking area hadn’t been plowed. The trailhead is on the east side of Route 127.
Snowshoeing the Sam Orr Pond Loop
The loop around Sam Orr Pond is about 3.5 km and took around 1.5 hours (with stops for photos, of course). Hike through mixed Acadian forest with Eastern White Cedar, Balsam Fir, White Pine, Red Spruce, Tamarack and more. Also, discover cliffs and bluffs with an impressive view of Sam Orr Pond and the surrounding area.
If you’re planning the loop, visit at low tide to cross the rock sill on the side trail. Otherwise, return the way you came if the water is too high. A natural rock sill provides a way across the estuary when the tide is low. Watch your step on the slippery rocks. Also, hiking poles would be helpful for balance.
This was my first chance to use new-to-me snowshoes. I’d been waiting for a good dump of snow. Overall, I’m quite impressed with my MSR Lightning Ascents.
Read more: Barnaby Head Trail in New River Beach Provincial Park
Sam Orr Pond is slightly salty—or brackish—due to the mix of fresh and saltwater when the tide is very high. Interestingly, this is the only place on the Bay of Fundy where quahog (type of clam) are found. Further, this pond was created by glacial movements over 30,000 years ago… that’s a long time!
Read more: Parlee Brook Amphitheatre Trail Near Sussex, New Brunswick
Visiting Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve
Caughey-Taylor Nature Preserve protects around 600 acres of land near St. Andrews in New Brunswick. Sam Orr Pond and the rest of the preserve came from private land donation and is protected by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. When you visit, take special care of this sensitive environment so it lasts for years to come.
As a nature preserve, walkers and hikers are welcome to use the trail. However, stay on the designated trail to avoid causing avoidable harm to the environment. Motorized vehicles, hunting, camping, and campfires are not permitted on the preserve.
Know Before You Go
Pets: Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. Do not allow your dog to run through ecologically sensitive areas. Remember, we’re guests for the wild animals that live here. Pack out your pet’s poo (I recommend this smell-proof bag).
Toilets: There aren’t any toilets on the trail or at the trailhead. If nature calls, make sure you dig a hole far enough away from the trail and water sources. Here’s more information to dispose of waste properly from Leave No Trace Canada.
Garbage: Pack it in, pack it out. Don’t leave anything behind on the trail. Go a step further and pack out any litter you find. That’s a great way to say “thanks” to the park for an awesome day!
Water: I recommend carrying at least 2 litres of drinking water (I use this reservoir). I wouldn’t drink from Sam Orr Pond (salt, nope!) but you could filter from Taggarts Brook (I like this filter).
Clothing and gear: Wear the right gear for the conditions. You’ll want to bring layers and winter hiking essentials when out in the winter months.
Read More: The Best Winter Hiking Gear—Stay Warm and Happy
Sam Orr Pond Trail Map
Have you explored Sam Orr Pond Trail in winter or summer? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.
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