Flock of Sheep Trail
|Distance||1.8 km mapped|
|Estimated Time||1 hr 15 mins|
|Elevation Change||25 meters|
|Features||Flock of Sheep|
|Trail Markers||red markers|
Head south from the ferry on route 776 to the southern end of the island. After driving through Deep Cove travel another 1.7 km. The trail will be on the left at Pat's Head. Look for the large sheep spray painted on the pavement near the trail head because there is another small trail just before the Flock of Sheep Trail that just goes out to a lookout. The road is quite narrow so find a wide spot on the shoulder of the road to park.
The more recommended way to access the trail is to continue another 2 km to Southwest Head Lighthouse. If you see pictures of Grand Manan that include jagged cliffs along the coastline this is probably where they were taken. You will find a parking lot at the lighthouse along with beautiful views up and down the coast from the cliff tops. The trail starts along the coast on the left.
On our trip we didn't make it all the way to the lighthouse because it was getting dark. We walked back to the road on the Southern Head Beach Road and were offered a drive back to our car by a couple from Saint John who were passing by. Note that the Southern Head Beach Road is a private road. You are welcome to access the trail on foot from here but parking is not permitted. To access the trail from the Southern Head Beach Road, park at the lighthouse, walk back the main road 800 meters, and turn right onto Southern Head Beach Road. Just a short distance (240 meters) in this road you will find the Flock of Sheep Trail on the left.
The Upper and Lower Flock of Sheep show several of the many layers of geology that make up Grand Manan Island. The large white granite boulders were placed on the top of black lava spires by glaciers. From the water the boulders look like a flock of sheep and was named by fishermen for this reason. The trail follows along the coastline along the cliff edges. It can be a bit treacherous in places, and crosses some streams and wet areas, but for the most part it is an easy hike. There may also be some deadfall to traverse but the local trails group keeps the trails quite clean. The Southwest Head end (west) of the trail is easier than the Pat's Head end (east).
There are several benches overlooking the Flock of Sheep and some are provided by local cottage owners. The trail crosses several private lots. The landowners graciously provide access to hikers so tread lightly. Also be cautious of the tides. This is the Bay of Fundy with the highest tides in the world. The trail itself and the Lower Flock of Sheep are above the tide line but the beach below is under water at high tide so use caution if accessing these beaches.
Even without the Flock of Sheep this trail provides many coastal views including weir poles and a shoreline made of the jagged lava spires. It is well worth the visit if you are on Grand Manan.
Grand Manan is geologically split in two. The Flock of Sheep is on the side of the island that was formed by lava many millions of years ago. The uniqueness of the site is created by the glaciers that came during the last ice age and deposited the large white granite boulders on the top of the spires.
For more information on the geology and trails of the island be sure to pick up the book Heritage Trails and Footpaths on Grand Manan book at the Explore Everywhere Media online store. The book is also available at several locations on the island.