Fundy National Park

Of course your Bay of Fundy vacation must include a stop at
Fundy National Park.

There is enough in the park that you could spend weeks just there, doing something different every day. As well as coastal walks and views, the highlands of the park offer an interesting contrast. One of my favourite trails is Caribou Plane. The park has an extensive set of well developed trails of varying difficulty levels. Because of the natural terrain, only a few trails are relatively flat, so be prepared to go up and down hills! A complete
list of the hiking trails in Fundy National Park is given here.

Over the decades I have hiked every part of every trail in Fundy, many of them countless times. It's hard to pick out favourites (they are all good!) but if you have limited time, and want to do hikes that will include some of the diversity in Fundy National Park, I would suggest at least the following.
  • Dickson Falls is an easy hike (mainly boardwalk and stairs) that includes a deep hollow around a stream, and of course the falls. Best time to visit: after a rainfall or in early summer or spring when the falls will be more spectacular (although fall is also nice!)
  • Caribou Plain is one of the few flat walks, and is easy walking - the first part of it is even handicap accessible. A large (abandoned?) beaver pond, Although the trail is named after the caribou that historically wintered here, it is moose that you might see here now.
  • Matthews Head This triangular trail (with a slight offshoot) gives you a coastal taste, woodland, and an abandoned homestead. It is named for the family who made their farm here prior to the park beginning. The Matthews Head lookout is beautiful, but be careful with children as there is a cliff without a natural barrier. There are other lookouts further along the coastal part of this trail.
  • Shiphaven This is a pleasant stroll but great views and interesting history.
  • Third Vault Falls This is much more energetic than those listed above, so be prepared for the long steady climb on the return trip. Your reward though is the largest falls in the park.

As well as backcountry camping, there are
three main campgrounds in Fundy. All three offer the usual camping amenities including flush toilets and showers. Note that the heavy demand season in Fundy is pretty short, from mid June to late August, and not all campgrounds will be open all year.

I've camped in all three Fundy National Park campgrounds, and they each have something different to offer. The
Headquarters campground is near the Alma entrance to the park, which means that you can camp there and walk to Alma and the beach, as well as facilities such as the Fundy golf course, playing fields and major playground, swimming pool, interpretive centre and more. The campsites vary in privacy and quality, but it is great being so close to everything. A few of the campsites offer glimpses of the harbour and the bay. Note that although there are a few communal fire pits, individual campfires are not permitted at the Headquarters campground.

The largest campground,
Chignecto, is in the highlands, a number of kilometers up a long hill from the coastal entrance to the park. Most sites here are all quite good in terms of privacy. While some hiking trails start at the campground, and it has features like a playground, for most things you will need to drive. There is at least one star party each summer, and that is usually set up in the group part of the Chignecto campgrounds across the road, so if you are coming to Fundy to visit that Chignecto is a good choice. Chignecto has a large number of serviced (electricity, water, some with sewer) sites. Chignecto has individual camp fire pits.

Point Wolfe is an attractive campground located near the coast at the end of the Point Wolfe Road. The sites range from open to very good in terms of privacy. A number of hiking trails start right at the entrance to the campground, as well as an easy pleasant walk between the campground and the covered bridge just before the campground. You can walk down to the beach, and the area is very photogenic. The camp sites have individual fire pits. While there are a small number of water/electricity serviced sites at Point Wolfe, most are unserviced. There is a very sharp turn as one enters a narrow covered bridge to get to this campground, so if you have a large recreational vehicle you may prefer one of the other campsites. Normally this campground is only open until Labour Day.

Fundy National Park offers an excellent choice in terms of alternative camping accommodation. Headquarters, Point Wolfe and Chignecto each offer 10
oTENTik units. Make sure to review what is included and what to bring, as well as the rules. The units in Chignecto and Point Wolfe have individual fire pits. The Headquarters Campground also offers 5 Yurts. Two of these in particular have absolutely incredible views of the Bay of Fundy - the best views of any park location in Canada I would argue. Some years ago I travelled to Mongolia to live in a Yurt, but now you can do it right at Fundy National Park! At Point Wolfe Campground there is a novel Goutte d'O (I think this is still operational but check with the park). Through a collaboration with a school group Fundy National Park now also has two Rustic Cabins. Be sure to read the information regarding the location of these to see if they are a good match for your needs (one of them has a significant walk in distance).

You can reserve campsites through the
National Park Campground Reservation System. It is a little known fact that there is also front country camping at Wolfe Lake (not to be confused with Point Wolfe, that is at the opposite end of the park). This campground has more basic facilities, but is at lower cost. It is just off the road as you enter the park on the north entrance.

Some visitors don't realize that you can stay in a motel or chalets right within the boundary of the park. They are located part way up the hill between the entrance to the park and Chignecto campground.
Details here.

As well as hiking, there are lots of other things to do at Fundy National Park. The 9 hold
Fundy Park Golf Course is demanding, beautiful and natural. It was designed by well known golf course architect Stanley Thompson and it shows. There are two main choices for swimming (the water in the bay itself is too cold). The park maintains a heated saltwater pool located right along the coastline. The other option is in the swimming portion of Bennett Lake, located in the central portion of the park.

There are several kayaking options in the area.
Lake kayaks (and canoes) are available at Bennett Lake. Fresh Air Adventure in Alma NB just outside the gates to the park offer full and half day escorted sea kayaking, as well as a river option.

I admit I am not a fan of trail mountain biking, but the park allow it on a number of trails in the park. Consult the park website to see where it is allowed and not.

Your trip to the Bay of Fundy should include some east coast musical entertainment. Attend the Molly Kool Centre (in the park near the Alma gates) for a
Molly Kool Kitchen Party. Pick up tickets at the Fundy Park information centre - they usually go fast and space is very limited so don't wait until the last minute. Who is Molly Kool? We're glad you asked. She was an Alma native who became the first female ship captain! The kitchen party takes place in her restored house.

The village of
Alma, NB (at the eastern entrance to the park) offers a variety of services as well as a charming active harbour. Due to the tidal range, the ships sit on dry ground at low tide, and high up at high tide six hours later, and this is one of the more picturesque small harbours in the area. Bring your camera, and if at all possible take pictures at low and high tide.

For such a tiny village (population of permanent residents is a few hundred) Alma offers a lot in the way of services. The village maintains a
listing of some of the businesses operating in the village. If looking for fine dining try the Parkland Village Inn, and ask for a window table if available. You can watch humming birds and the bay beyond. For takeout my favourite is Fundy Takeout that is right beside the entrance to the park - see TripAdvisor reviews of the takeout here.

When in Alma, you must try something at Kelly's Bake Shop - but don't take my word for it read the
reviews on TripAdvisor. Their specialty: sticky buns - very large, gooey, great cinnamon buns. Buy one or buy six. Even if the day old ones seem much less expensive, I recommend getting the fresh ones.

There are a variety of places to stay in Alma if you prefer, including a motel, the hotel, bed and breakfasts, vacation suites and chalets. See the
list maintained by the village. Alma is very compact, and it is wonderful to stay right in the village and wander the main street and watch happenings at the harbour.

This page last updated May 26, 2019. The original material is ©2013-2019 R.L. Hawkes. Contact us for permission to reprint. You may freely link to this page and site without explicit permission. Material in linked pages is owned and managed by the operators of those pages. Always check with Fundy National Park to make sure you have accurate and current information. We have no association with the park.