The Most Definitive Guide to Hiking in New Brunswick
|Distance||8.9 km one way|
|Estimated Time||6 hours|
|Surface Type||forested, beach|
|Elevation Change||226 meters|
|Features||coastal views, beaches|
|Trail Markers||white blazes|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|GPS File||available on request|
The Little Salmon River to Seely Beach section of the Fundy Footpath begins at the campsite on the shore of Little Salmon River. The campsite is on a bend in the river at the head of the tidal zone. The valley widens out at this point and the campsite looks out over this flood plain.
If you walk up the river you will be at the start of the Walton Glen Gorge Trail. Eventually you will find the mouth Walton Glen Brook on the left. A short distance up this brook and you will find the Eye of the Needle, a narrow passage where the stream passes between 200 foot cliffs. It is well worth the visit if you have time.
From the campsite you need to cross the river. It is a wide, shallow river with a nice gravel bottom. It is usually easy to cross. When we were there in July it only came to about half way to our knees. This is usually the shallowest part of the year though. Always use caution when crossing rivers. If you think it is too deep then walk up the river and find a shallower place to cross. If you are unsure then the best thing to do is turn back and take one of the access trails out.
Once you cross the river you will follow an ATV trail across the floodplain. You may have to cross another small braid of the river before you come to the white sign marking the trail along the woods on the right.
This is where you start to climb. An old tote road climbs the hill at an angle. It is a steep and steady climb all the way up out of the Little Salmon River valley. You will gain 200 meters (600 feet) of elevation before reaching the top of this hill. I have heard it called Heart Attack Hill. Take lots of breaks and pace yourself.
At the top of the hill the trail flattens out on the plateau as it travels through a mainly spruce forest. There is one view of the bay through the trees before you drop down into the Cradle Brook valley. This hill down into the valley is once again on an old tote road that follows a ridge.
Cradle Brook is a small stream valley. The stream opens up onto a large gravel bar and actually disappears through the gravel before re-emerging to flow into the bay. Even at low tide it is a relatively short distance to the water's edge from where the stream comes out of the woods. The large rocks that have fallen from the cliff edges into the tidal zone are always fun to explore at low tide. The Cradle Brook campsite is in the woods not far upstream.
The climb up out of Cradle Brook valley starts with a long set of cable stairs. Cable stairs were installed because it is steep. It is a steady climb but after the cable stairs it's much more gradual than Heart Attack Hill. There is another set of cable stairs before you reach a plateau. You will start to think that you reached the top of the hill. Soon the trail comes out into a meadow called Million Dollar View. From the edge of the meadow you will see a large rocky cliff above. The trail continues up over this cliff.
There are several short cable staircases up to the top of the cliff and then back down the other side. The trail then flattens out for a bit before dropping down to the shore at Seely Beach.
To continue on the trail go to the Seely Beach to Big Salmon River section.
Note: all distances are horizontal GPS distances. They do not take into account the many steep ups and downs which add distance.
The best way to access this section of the trail is either from the Footpath to the east at Little Salmon River, or to the west at Seely Beach. It can also be reached by the McCumber Brook access trail and the Cradle Brook access trail.
The McCumber Brook access trail is about mid way between Little Salmon River and Cradle Brook. The Cradle Brook Access Trail is about mid way between Cradle Brook and Seely Beach. Construction of the Fundy Trail Parkway extension has made changes to the access trails. The McCumber Brook access trail still exists but now starts at the Walton Glen Gorge visitor centre. I am not sure if the Cradle Brook Access Trail still exists. If you know the status of this access trail let me know. Check back for updates.