Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2022
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park is located along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. It features a series of stunning sea stacks and is a popular spot to watch the extreme change in the tide. The park contains a single hiking trail that follows the coastline and provides three access points to the ocean floor.
While staying at Fundy National Park, we decided to make a day trip to visit Hopewell Rocks, which is one of the iconic places to visit in Atlantic Canada. After consulting the tide tables, we figured we should plan to get there during the middle of low tide. From Fundy National Park, it’s about a 45 minute drive to Hopewell Rocks. Along the way we stopped at the Anderson Hollow Lighthouse.
We arrived at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park just after 9:30am. Entrance was a bit steep ($14 per person), but our park pass was valid for two consecutive days. The park features a series of free-standing sea stacks that have been shaped by tectonic shifts and erosion from the extreme tides and elements. The tide here rises and falls an average of 10 to 14 metres (33 to 46 feet), or a rate of up to nearly 2 metres (6 feet) per hour.
There are two options to get to the shoreline, either by taking the shuttle service (for an additional fee) or by trail. We’re all about the steps, so we opted for the latter. From the Interpretive Centre, we turned left towards Flower Pot Rocks (0.8km one-way). The path is wide and weaves through the forest. About half-way there’s a short detour that leads to a viewing platform overlooking Big Cove. The sea stacks at Hopewell Rocks are often referred to as Flower Pot Rocks because there are often trees growing from the top of many of the rock pillars.
The next point of interest along the trail was at Staircase Cove. There’s a viewing platform that overlooks a series of rock formations, including the famous Lovers Arch. There is also a large metal staircase (with 101 steps) that leads down to the ocean floor.
The ocean floor is only accessible three hours before and after low tide. And be warned, it is quite muddy down there, especially closer to the water. Thankfully there is a shoe washing station near the top of the metal staircase to help clean off all the mud and dirt afterwards. We sloshed around through some of the mud to get a better view of some of the rock formations.
After washing off our shoes, we headed back to the path towards Demoiselles Beach. Along the way there are a couple of scenic overlooks that provide a nice view of the mudflats. The mudflats here are off limits to walk across as they contain tiny mud shrimp that serve as food to thousands of migrating shorebirds.
The path leads down to Demoiselles Beach which provides another access point to the ocean floor. The name “Demoiselles” refers to the cape, creek and beach in this area, and is attributed to early French explorers who thought the flowerpot shaped cliffs resembled shapely women wearing elaborate hats, hence the name “Cap de Demoiselles”.
From the beach we walked back to the main parking lot. We would have loved to stay for longer to see the sea stacks at high tide, but we had other plans to explore more of Fundy National Park. On the drive back to the park, we made another detour to check out a covered bridge and to pick up some fresh seafood.
There never seems to be enough time to see it all.