Rising from the shores of the Bay of Fundy, Atlantic Canada’s Fundy National Park is a flagship for mountain biking in Canada’s National Park System.
Fundy has recently evolved into a true mountain bike destination
Tucked into New Brunswick’s south shore, Fundy has recently evolved into a true mountain bike destination. With over 65 kms of trails, a world-class pump track and a newly finished ride pavilion, Fundy is well set up to provide you with a quality mountain bike experience.
Mountain biking is not only a new activity to Fundy National Park, but to Canada’s National Park System as a whole. In an effort to increase and diversify visitation and add to the already rich opportunities for outdoor experiences, Parks Canada has been focusing on providing services and amenities to specific user groups, including mountain bikers. This is a pretty big deal for mountain biking as we are now seeing the sport not only becoming more accepted as a valuable form of outdoor recreation, but helping to shape the future of some of Canada’s most valued outdoor spaces.
Fundy National Park is home to the rolling and rounded hills of the Caledonia Highlands. Hosting both boreal and deciduous forests, the park is home to a diversity of tree and plant life. The geography, forest and cool, salty air combined with newly established trails for riders of all abilities makes for the kind of quality outdoor experience you would expect from a National Park.
Prior to the official opening of the park in 1950, the area was home to a prosperous logging and shipbuilding industry. While the climate and acidic soil made for tough homesteading, it made for great trees. Complete with sawmills, shipbuilding and an active fishery, Point Wolfe became a thriving settlement in the 1800’s. However, things slowed as resources became exhausted and steel ships replaced those made of wood. By the early 1920’s, the bulk of the economic activity in the region had ceased with many leaving the area in search of new opportunities in the growing cities.
high-caliber pump track beautifully integrated into the landscape of old-growth forest
If staying for a few days, Chignecto Campground makes for a solid basecamp. Located high above the Fundy shore, Chignecto is strategically positioned just across the road from several trailheads as well as the new Chignecto Pavilion. With washrooms, showers, a picnic shelter, and a bicycle wash station, the ride pavilion is a hub for those experiencing the park on two wheels. Visiting without your bike? Outdoor Elements is conveniently located right next door for all your bike rental and quick maintenance needs. It’s also in the Chignecto area that you will find Fundy’s high-caliber pump track beautifully integrated into the landscape of old-growth forest.
Trails suited to all abilities abound in Fundy National Park. If you’re riding with little ones or those new to the sport, a mix of green level trails pervade the Chignecto area. It’s also here where you’ll find trailheads for Maple Grove, Tippin Lot and the east coast classic, Whitetail. Having roots as a hiking trail, Whitetail has experienced numerous upgrades to establish it as a ‘must ride’ stretch of trail in the Maritimes. Dropping 300 metres from the pavilion, this 4 kilometer stretch of singletrack incorporates a healthy mix of rocks, roots, and rollers and such dramatic topography that you’ll be questioning where it is you’re actually riding.
While the Chignecto trails provide opportunities for lots of Type I fun, for those looking for more of a Type II experience, adventure awaits just down the road at the Goose River trailhead at Point Wolfe. As part of the Trans Canada Trail, the Goose River Trail follows the undulations of the coastline along nearly the same path as was used to link the historic logging villages of Point Wolfe and Goose River back in the day. At just under 24km return and with 800m of climbing, Goose River is no easy undertaking. However, the quality of the riding, the immense coastal terrain and the breathtaking beauty of your destination make it well worth the effort. When you arrive at Goose River, leave your bike topside and hike down to the beach. With a lagoon-like inlet overlooked by the towering geography of the highlands, it’s a great place for a picnic prior to your return to Point Wolfe.
Post-ride, drop down to the Village of Alma to refuel after the efforts of the afternoon. With a selection of restaurants, cafes, and a craft brewery, Alma will leave you wanting for nothing save for a good night’s sleep. Grab an apres beer at the Holy Whale Brewery followed by a highly recommended lobster roll from Tipsy Tales. Other reco’s include the Muddy Rudder for diner-style breakfasts and the Octopus Garden Cafe for the more culinary inclined. And no visit to Alma is complete without a sticky bun (or six) from Kelly’s Bakery. It’s also here ‘in town’ where you’ll find Outdoor Elements’ second storefront providing that much needed spare tube or forgotten pair of gloves. Lastly, don’t forget to pop into Outpost Alma, run by local non-profit Friends of Fundy. It’s here where you can stock up on works by local artisans as well as on the latest MTBA merch.
Fundy National Park has been welcoming mountain bikers to its trails for nearly a decade.
Fundy National Park has been welcoming mountain bikers to its trails for nearly a decade. With huge improvements in trail infrastructure and related amenities, the park has grown into a destination catering to all riders. With plenty of trails and all the other top-notch amenities we’ve come to associate with National Parks, Fundy is well worth incorporating into your next road trip. Next time you’re in New Brunswick, head south to the Fundy shore – the riding in Fundy National Park will leave you happy you did.
Contributed by Chuck Sutton, Advisory Committee Member and Community Advocate for Mountain Bike Atlantic