A few weeks ago my sisters and I went on a little girls getaway. As I mentioned in my post outlining our trip to Cape Enrage, N.B., we only had a couple of days, so didn’t want to venture too far. We decided to have a staycation in our home province of New Brunswick. We wanted to explore, or re-explore in some cases, the beautiful Fundy coastline.
We rented the cutest little cabin in the tiny hamlet of New Horton, N.B., planned some delicious meals, packed our suitcases and coolers and were on our way.
My sisters had both previously been to the Hopewell Rocks, which is part of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. However, I am a bit ashamed to say, I had never seen them. They insisted that I had to experience them first hand, so this was put on our must see list. Isn’t it strange how, if the Hopewell Rocks were on some distant continent I would have put seeing them on my “bucket list”. But here they are, literally on my doorstep, and I had never visited them.
We were a bit late arriving and missed the lowest tide. If you look at the classic “flower pot” rocks out in the water, when the tide is at its lowest you can walk on the ocean floor between the rocks and even beyond them. (Check out the video below to see what I mean.)
With its monolithic “flower pot” rocks, it is certainly an impressive place. Add in some of the highest tides in the world at 14 m or 46 ft between low and high tide during the highest tides of the year and you have a winning combination! The Flower Pot rocks, whose bases are covered at high tide, are explorable up close on foot at low tide, and uniquely explorable by kayak at high tide.
“The rock formations are made of conglomerate cemented together by gypsum and limestone and were formed in river deltas from raging torrents flowing down from the ancient Caledonia Mountains over 300 million years ago. Amazingly, they were built up as sediments in monsoon climates, when what is now this part of New Brunswick was at the equator! Stromatolite (Blue-green algae) fossils at the far end of the beach can also be found here. More recently, the beach at the Rocks is also being used by migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers, sometimes in excess of 50 000 at a time, in late July or early August.” (Amazing Places)
Side note – this area of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve was featured in a recent episode of the Amazing Race Canada!
How to Get There:
The Hopewell Rocks is one of New Brunswick’s premiere tourist attractions. Located in New Brunswick, Canada, within one hour of the nearest airport at Moncton, N.B. Just over three hours from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and two hours from Prince Edward Island.
Did You Know:
- The Bay of Fundy tides can reach up to 15m (50 ft) – the height of a four-storey building – twice every day.
- The term ‘Flowerpot Rocks’ was coined for the unusual shape of the formations and the tenacious trees that cling to their tops.
- While the gravitational forces of the sun and moon combine to create a continuum of tidal action the world over, two unique characteristics of the Bay of Fundy help create the highest tides on the planet.
- The highest tide ever recorded was in the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy where the tides can rise and fall over 50 ft (16 m) in extreme circumstances.
- The reddish cliffs at the Hopewell Rocks were first formed millions of years ago as a massive mountain range – older than the Appalachians and larger than the Canadian Rockies – began to erode.
- The native Mi’kmaq, who first knew the tides of the Bay of Fundy better than anyone, created and passed on colourful legends to explain its mysteries.
- Each summer, for a 4-6 week period beginning in mid-July, 1-2.5 million shorebirds arrive in waves at the Hopewell Rocks and other Bay of Fundy locations on their journey south.
To fully appreciate the power and majesty of the truly awesome Bay of Fundy, have a look at this time-lapse video of a 45.6 foot tide, taken at the Hopewell Rocks. (It’s not long, less than 1 minute in length)
The park is open from mid-May until mid-October. We paid $9.00 each admission and it’s important to note that your fee for the Hopewell Rocks is valid for two consecutive days. This means you can return at any time during that period to see both the high and low tides. (I noticed they had reduced rates for seniors and students as well as a family rate of $24.00).
If you look closely at this photo I have inserted a couple of arrows at the high tide water height. If you follow along with your eye you will see how the rocks are eroded below the high water mark. Hopefully, this will help you picture how the rocks will look at high tide.
The Hopewell Rocks is a self-directed park, however interpretive staff are located at key areas to answer any questions you may have. In addition to the opportunity to walk on the ocean’s floor, we have two sandy beach areas at either end of the park and a number of well-marked walking trails.There is plenty to do at the Hopewell Rocks:
- AWESOME photo opps
- Explore the ocean floor
The park has an Interpretive Centre which provides interactive displays to help
visitors understand why the Bay of Fundy region is unique.
- A number of walking trails
- Two options for food service on site; two sandy beaches, perfect for spreading a picnic blanket; a number of covered picnic shelters and picnic tables.
Taken from a viewing platform above the rocks. The beach is now covered, but as you can tell by the erosion line, the tide is still not at its highest.
We thoroughly enjoyed spending a few hours at the Hopewell Rocks and I would HIGHLY recommend it. If you are ever in New Brunswick, you will definitely want to put visiting the Hopewell Rocks on your MUST DO list!
Have you ever been to the Hopewell Rocks, Cape Enrage or any other part of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve?