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Remarkable coastal drive along the fundy trail parkway

The Fundy Trail Parkway is a National Park and coastal drive in New Brunswick. Located in one of Canada’s smallest provinces on the Atlantic coast, this is a destination worth seeing. With cliffs separating the forest landscape to the pristine untouched beaches, this park has everything.

The Fundy trail covers 6323 acres and has a 19 mile road through the middle to allow visitors a chance to admire the beauty of New Brunswick. This is a very accessible park due to allowing cars, hikers, cyclists and more.

During the busy season you’ll see hundreds of tourists make their way from one end of the trail to the other. If you head towards the East entrance you’ll have the option to turn towards the Fundy Footpath which is listed in the top 50 of worldwide hiking trails.

You’ll also be interested to know that the Fundy trail is part of two protected UNESCO sites: The Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark. The parkway is run by a non-profit charity who take care and keep the park protected. The money for tickets go straight back into the care of the Fundy trail parkway so everyone can enjoy the coastal drive and trails here.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through my links I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Big Salmon River

British citizens can get a working holiday visa in Canada for up to 2 years.

If you are planning on doing the coastal road trip through New Brunswick to drive the Fundy Trail and you’re not a local, it is very easy to rent a car in the local area. I rented a car from Saint John for 4 days and it was a straightforward process!

Need some captions for your road trip instagram posts? Check out: Road trip quotes to inspire you to hit the open road

Nova Scotia in the far background and the east side of the Fundy Trail to the left

Location

The Fundy Trail Parkway is located on the south-east coast of New Brunswick in Canada. It is a 19-mile (30km) long parkway and has been a national park since 1948.

The park has two entrances, one on the east side and one on the west. Depending on where you start your trip will determine which of the two entrances you head to.

  • From downtown Saint John’s it takes 1 hour by car to reach the WEST entrance.
  • From St Martins it is only a 15 minute drive by car to the WEST Entrance

If you are spending some time in the area, check out the St Martins sea caves before you go.

  • From Moncton it will take 1 hour 45 minutes by car to reach the EAST entrance.

If you’re spending time in Moncton you should definitely head out to Hopewell Rocks National Park to check out the world’s highest tides and the flower pot rocks the waves have created.

Planning on staying in the province a bit longer and moving around? Why not combine all three destinations to create a fun road trip! This coastal drive around fundy should not be missed.

Ticket & entrance prices

As well as regular day passes that you can purchase at the East and West gates, you can also purchase a season ticket that allows you repeat access to the park if you are spending a bit longer in New Brunswick.

If you are hoping to purchase a season ticket you have the opportunity to purchase either an early bird or pre-early bird ticket. These are a lower price than the regular season ticket depending on when you buy them.

WhoDay TicketSeason Ticket
Adult$11$62
Senior$9$52
Youth$6$35
Family$34$98
Ambassador$38$148

The Big Salmon river & the river delta

Opening times of the Fundy Trail Parkway

Every year, the Fundy Trail Parkway is closed over the winter months and reopens in the Spring which means you cannot enjoy the coastal drive for half of the year. The park is generally open from mid-May until mid October so you have the entire summer season to enjoy this stunning park.

Make sure to arrive at least 1 hour before closing so you have enough time to drive from one end to the other before the gate closes.

When?Opening TimeClosing Time
May 20th – June 24th9am5pm
June 25th – Aug 21st8am8pm
Aug 22nd – Sept 5th9am7pm
Sept 6th – Oct 15th9am5pm
Oct 16th – May 19th (following year)CLOSEDCLOSED
Opening and closing times for 2022 season

The Lookouts & Viewpoints

The Fundy Trail Parkway is a tourist trail you can drive that covers 19 miles of coastal landscapes. The main attraction point of the national park is the stunning environment and viewpoints that allow you to admire the region. This gives you a glimpse into the beauty of the Bay of Fundy.

What’s great about the Fundy Trail Parkway is how easy it is to see all of the sites along the way. Almost every lookout has space to park your car as well as sit down and take in the sites.

Located near P1 car park. If coming in from the WEST entrance then this will be your first stop. It is just a few minutes drive from the ticket entrance after getting onto the parkway. Here this is a gravel car park and a small wooden lookout point that allows you to see some of the cliffs along the west side of Fundy park. On a clear day you can sometimes see as far as the Quaco Head Lighthouse.

Located near P1 car park. This is the gateway to the flower pot rock that stands on the seafloor beneath the trail. Unfortunately one of the larger “flower pot” has now collapsed so is no longer available to see. The trail will lead you down a steep footpath down to the three viewpoints to allow you to admire the rock formation and stunning beach below. This is an easy but steep walk so take caution.

*Update: The flower pot rock has since collapsed so is no longer available to view*

Located near P2 car park. This is the first entrance down to Melvin beach below. There is a long staircase that takes you to Pangburn beach. From here you can see the multicoloured cliffs that line the coast and you can see how high the tide reaches. Just be aware that this beach is only accessible when the tide is out so it’s worth checking tide times in advance. You can check the tides here.

Located near P3 car park. This lookout is a little different to the rest so far as this one provides a look over the forest instead of the beaches. You can see a little glimmer of Melvin Beach below but this can be obstructed by clouds on a bad weather day.

Located near P4 car park.. This trail allows you the choice to choose from two different lookouts, one going left and one going right. The right trail takes you past a viewing deck and a lookout point. The left trail allows you to see Pangburn beach and part of the period rocks. Please note, you can see the beach from here but you can only reach the beach from the Melvin beach lookout.

Located near P5 car park. Further along the parkway trail you will reach the Black Point Lookout. From here you can walk down a short 2 minute walking track to reach the viewpoint where you can see as far back as Fownes head. Plus, from here you can clearly see the Pangburn and Melvin beaches along with the cliffs that stand in between them.

Located near P5 car park. From here you can often see the west coast behind you with a small snippet of beach and lots of forest. In some instances moose are seen in this part of the park but if it is busy they tend to stay out of the way and don’t like to be near humans.

This is another small observation deck that allows you to see the cliffs you have passed, but from a new perspective. The lookout itself is only a few minutes walk away from the car park so you can be there very quickly after parking.

This is the first place to get a glimpse of the Nova Scotian coast in the distance. The lookout here also gives you a great view of Ilse Haute (an island in Nova Scotia on the opposite side of the Bay of Fundy) before you reach the central Interpretive Centre.

Located near P9 car park. To get there you will need to cross the Mitchell Franklin bridge before heading further uphill. This area has a lot more to see and do. Here, you can see the interpretive centre in the distance as well as the river delta and the Big Salmon river. This is the biggest river that runs through the park and you can see the picnic area down below for guests to sit and take a break.

Located near P10 car park. If you continue along the Fundy Trail Parkway you will reach the next lookout which also looks over the interpretive centre – but from a different perspective. The view from here allows you to see much further in the distance as well as getting new angles of the bridge, river delta and the suspension bridge down below. This is another great spot for a picnic break.

At this next lookout you’ll be able to see as far back as the Quaco head lighthouse and the coastline you’ve passed on a clear day as well as stunning views of Nova Scotia. If you’re not yet sick of river views you’ll find them plentiful here too.

After finishing at the Big Salmon river lookout you’ll need to head to the hairpin turn lookout and head down the stairs next to the car parking area. There are two different lookouts from here. One looks down at the valley below while the other gives you a birds eye view of the hair pin road instead.

Located near P11 car park.This lookout point has a two-tier observation deck below the car parking area. It allows you to see the full length of Long Beach beneath you. The view is just as stunning regardless whether you are observing during high tide or low tide. This is arguably one of the best photo opportunities in the park!

Located near P11 car park. The trail takes just a few minutes to reach the viewpoint. You will clearly be able to see Long Beach below as well as Tuft’s Point. There is a picnic table covered with a wooden roof here so it’s a good rest stop if the weather turns.

As the name describes, from this lookout point you are clearly able to see the Quaco Lighthouse all the way back towards Saint John’s to the west. The lookout is on a bend where the trail is starting to go downhill so you will see lots of ocean views along this section of the Fundy Trail Parkway.

Located near P14 car park. From this wide lookout you will be able to see the Martin head and the Quiddy river. This is another large lookout area with multiple benches to view from and gives you panoramic views across the Bay.

The Champlain Lookout gives you more views of Martin Head and the forest and cliffs. It is a smaller observation deck compared to the last but it still has places to sit down and view the cliffs to the east.

Seely Beach Lookout lets you see the beach beneath the trail as well as the eastern cliffs. There are some stairs to get you from the car parking area to the viewpoint and back. There are some trees that restrict your western view from here so you can’t see as far as the last two lookouts.

From this final viewpoint before the eastern gate you’ll be able to see Isle Haute. Its name in English translates to High Island. The basalt cliffs that create the coastline of the island are about 320-foot high and they were created from volcanic eruptions before the rest of the Bay had even been created.

Check out another Canadian road trip: A trip to Virgin Falls near Tofino on Vancouver Island, BC

Fuller Falls just behind the safety fence during renovations of the observation deck

The Four Waterfalls

As well as multiple unique lookouts, the Fundy coastal drive also takes you near four waterfalls in the park. Unfortunately for me, all 4 were inaccessible at the time I went to visit due to renovations around the park. Each of the waterfalls are unique in nature and are all completely different sizes and heights.

Above is a picture of Fuller Falls. Normally there is a staircase and a wooden observation deck that gets you close to the falls, however the observation deck is what was being repaired and the staircase was inaccessible on this occasion.

  • Fuller Falls – Just off of the parkway on the west side of the park
  • Long Beach Brook Falls – 1km trail starting towards the east side of the park
  • McLeod Brook Falls – 3.8km trail in the east side of the park
  • Walton Glen Gorge Falls – 2.3km each way in the each side of the park

Fuller Falls is the easiest waterfall to access as it is only a short walk from the parking area. If you are in less of a rush and have some more time to kill, then you can access the other three waterfalls at other parts of the parkway via windy forest trails. Some of these trails are long and strenuous so make sure you come prepared!

Pro tip: Plan your day out in advance if you plan on seeing all three waterfalls. The earlier you arrive in the day, the longer you’ll have to complete the trails without rushing.

The Fundy Trail suspension bridge

Fundy Trail Suspension Bridge

The large 84m (275ft) suspension bridge is about half way along the Fundy Trail parkway, not far from the Interpretive Centre.

The closest car park to the bridge is P8 at the top of the hill. You will need to head down the hill and turn left towards the suspension bridge trail along Big Salmon river bank. You’ll need to go under the Mitchell Franklin Bridge and walk another minute or two before you reach the suspension bridge.

If you’re not pressed for time you could easily spend a lot of time in this area alone as many hiking trails take place in this part of the park. Not only do you have the river nearby, but also some tourist attractions such as the gift shop and snack shop at the top of the hill.

Me walking along the suspension bridge

Amenities

If you are planning on making lots of stops during your coastal drive through the Fundy Trail Parkway rather than just driving straight through then you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of amenities for you to use.

  • Toilets: There are 12 toilets spread along the Fundy Trail Parkway route so you’ll have lots of chances to use the facilities.
  • Picnic Benches: There are between 1 and 3 picnic benches next to every viewpoint along the trail. This allows you to take in the views while enjoying a rest break. Most of these are uncovered but there are some with a wooden roof to protect you from rain.
  • Charging station: If you arrive using an electric vehicle then you’re in luck. The park has an electric charging station for visitor use located near the Interpretive Centre.
  • Food & Drinks: If you are hoping to buy food or a drink you can do so in the Cookhouse near the Interpretive Centre.
  • Accessible observation decks: If you or your party are less abled, you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of the viewpoints are just off of the side of the road and easily accessible by wheelchairs.

The Fundy Parkway coastal trail is a relaxing drive along the stunning Bay of Fundy coast line. It’s definitely a key tourist attraction everyone should experience when visiting this small Canadian province.

Just grab the car keys and head on down. You won’t get tired of the views and landscape. I guarantee it.

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