The Canada Day long weekend was the perfect opportunity to get out an re-explore one of our National Parks. Kouchibouguac National Park was one of our favourite camping spots when the girls were young. When some fellow empty nesters asked us to join them for the weekend, we jumped on it.
On July 1st we woke to a partly cloudy day that was cool enough to require sweaters…….this was better for hiking than the heat wave weather we anticipated. Most of the trails in the park are rated as easy, with relatively flat terrain………probably one of the reasons it was so great with young kids. It’s an ideal place for biking as well.
We chose to do the Osprey Trail in the morning. This 5K trail head is in the Cote a Fabian camping area, which was a good drive from South Kouchibouguac. The trail meanders through the camping area, then along the coast and is mostly tree covered. Bugs were not a problem for us, maybe it was too cold, or the wind kept them away!
The trail is an out and back trail, but it divides to give you a somewhat different view on the return hike. We enjoyed a snack and let the dogs run on the beach at Black River Point. The trail is not a well used trail, but we did meet one other small group on the beach. This would be a nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch.
The trail is well marked, but in some spots it is pretty narrow. Having had a poison ivy episode last summer, I was wishing I had worn long pants. But I returned home unscathed!
After lunch my husband and I made our way to La Source, where we picked up the Kouchibouguac River Trail. This 11K trail is the only trail rated as medium, but I would say it is mostly easy with a few spots that may be a bigger challenge for some people.
The biking trail that runs along the river was well marked, but we almost missed hiking trail with only a small sign.
The trail was wooded, with a number of boardwalks across wet spots…….one was particularly heaved and slanted…….made me feel like I was in a Dr Seuss book!
Along the trail there were short trails to make your way to the river. We found a red chair at one of these lookouts! The red chairs were randomly placed in secret locations throughout Canada’s National Parks last year…….in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. In 2018 they have maintained the red chairs at some of the most picturesque locations across Canada for people to relax and enjoy the beauty.
We encountered an eagle in flight, but lost track of it quickly with the trees overhead. They are such an impressive bird.
Rather than taking two vehicles (to leave one at one end of the trail), we decided to hike until we were tired, or had enough, and turn back to the car. When the bugs started to come out late afternoon, we decided to turn around. According to my fitness tracker app, we did about half the trail before turning around.
Kouchibouguac has a number of hiking trails suitable for people of all ages. You do need a vehicle to get around the extensive park, although you may find biking a good alternative if you stick to one area of the park. There are no real challenging trails, but the views from Kellys Beach at sunset are stunning !