Region Map / Lower St. John River / Boulderwalk

Boulder Walk and Forest Glen Trails

Spednic Lake Provincial Park

Quick Facts

Ratings Legend

Difficulty Easy Features Lake, historic site
Trail Type Loop Trail Markers yellow / blue and white squares
Distance 3.57 km Scenery Rating Historic
Estimated Time 1 hr 30 mins Mainteance Rating Well Maintained
Trail Surface Type Forested Cell Phone Reception None
Elevation Change 47 meters GPS file Available on request


Map Legend

View Boulderwalk Trail in a larger map


From the train station in McAdam head east on route 4. After 7.1 km turn right onto route 630 and head north. Route 630 turns into a gravel road shortly after the turn. After 3.1 km you will see the sign for Spednic Lake Provincial Park. Turn left onto the road to the park. After 650 meters the road splits. Keep to the right and travel another 2.3 km and you will come to the park office cabin. There is a parking lot just to the left of the cabin. The trail starts just to the right of the cabin on the right side of the campground road.

On Route 2 at Meductic take exit 212 to Canterbury. Head souht on route 122. After 9.8 km you will come into Canterbury with the school on your right. Across from the school continue straight onto route 630 instead of continuing around the turn into Canterbury. Shortly after the start of route 630 the road turns into gravel. Follow route 630 for 35.9 km south and you should see the sign for Spednic Lake Provincial Park on your right. Turn right onto the road to the park. After 650 meters the road splits. Keep to the right and travel another 2.3 km and you will come to the park office cabin. There is a parking lot just to the left of the cabin. The trail starts just to the right of the cabin on the right side of the campground road.

Trail Description

Spednic Lake Provincial Park is situated on the shores of Spednic Lake. Spednic Lake is part of the lake and river system that defines the border between Canada and United States. The park is a Canadian Heritage River Site. The water levels in the lake are controled by a dam to the south in Vancborro, Maine. The park offers many campsites and picnic sites near the lake, a boat launch, and of course the hiking trails.

The Boulder Walk Trail is named for the large and small granite boulders that were left in the area by the receding of the glaciers. They are found throughout most of the trail. The first entrance to the trail nearest the park office starts by climbing to a hardwood ridge. shortly after the trail start you will see the Forest Glen Trail (described below) on the left. Continue straight on the Boulder Walk Trail across the hardwood ridge where you will pass many large, old hardwoods. The trail then drops into a mossy spruce forest and rockier sections of the trail. Warning: Wear good shoes or boots and be careful on the rocks. Preferably hiking boots with ankle support. It would be easy to twist your ankle if you are not careful.

After the mossy spruce stand the trail travels through some mixed wood before coming out to the lookout platform over Diggity Stream. The lookout provides views of the grassy backwaters of the meandering stream, and has several interpretive signs explaining the history and the environment of the area (see From the Sign below).

The trail continues along the stream until it reaches the lake. At the stream outlet there is a small lookout. If you look across the outlet you will see a picnic site with a stone monument. This is the site of an archaeolocical site of a 2,000 plus year old Native hunting site . Continuing on along the shore of the outlet you will eventually come to a lookout at a point at the mouth of the outlet. This lookout provides access to the rocky, grassy shore of the lake with views of the several islands in the lake.

The trail continues through some stands of very large hemlock. You will find several large trees that have grown on top of boulders and now surround the boulders with their roots. The trail comes to a final lookout on the grassy lake shore that has some large boulders, views of the rocky islands, and several old stumps that have been flooded by the rising waters from the dam.

The trail continues along the lake shore until it eventually comes to the Forest Glen Trail on the left. Continuing straight will take you across a small boardwalk that crosses a wet area and then emerges onto the end of the campground road. There is an outhouse near the end of the trail if required. You can return to the parking lot by turning left and following the campground road back to the park office. The Forest Glen Trail was built as an alternative to returning on the road that runs through the woods parallel to the road. The Forest Glen Trail goes through an old hemlock stands and meets up with Boulder Walk Trail near the start.

From the Sign

St. Croix River - From the Chipneticook Lakes, the waters of the St. Croix River tumble through rolling Appalachian scenary to one of the most historic estuaries in Canada, at Passamaquoddy Bay. Here, French colonization in North America began in 1604 on St. Croix Island. The river was travelled for millenia by native fishermen and traders, and as an international border, British Loyalists and others later crossed these waters to contribute to the founding of Canada. Today, the St. Croix's scenary, historic communities, and traditional recreational fishing and canoeing continue to attract may to the region. For these unique features, the New Brunswick side of the St. Croix River has been proclaimed a Canadian Heritage River.

Hardwood Ridge - Here, on this hardwood ridge, one can become acquainted with a part of the great New Brunswick forest. The ridge itself is a nearly pure stand of beech interspersed with sugar maple and red maple. Surrounding it are stands of older-growth softwoods, chiefly hemlock and red spruce.

The ridge, at 137 meters above sea level the highest point in the park, is well-drained, bright and breezy. On the forest floor, seemingly growing among the ferns and grasses, are granite boulders left by the retreating glacier. In the cool shade of the rocks and trees, Indian pipe and various fungi color the surroundings. And here also is where upland songbirds nest, among them the wood thrush and the veery, whose beautiful song is said to include the name of the region's first Acadian governor, Nicolas Denys.

Marsh-Floodplain - A marsh, is a truly wonderous place. High water held back by the dam drowns trees, but it gives rise to a multitude of other plant and animal forms. These include sphagnum (peat) moss, cherished by today's gardeners-and by yesterday's Indians who used it to dress wounds and diaper babies. The marsh is also the natural habitat of the carnivorous pitcher plant and sundew, both of which round out their diets by capturing and "eating" insects.

Many animals, including moose, deer, mink, and raccoon, come to the marsh to feed. Dead trees sometimes become nesting sites for eagles and ospreys, both on the New Brunswick endangered species list. These large birds of prey are upscale on the marsh's ecological chain: they feed on large insects, toads, frogs and fish. These creatures are themselves well fed by the marsh's most abundant life form-the BUGS. You may already have met some of them.

Archaeology - Indian hunters inhabited the St. Croix waterway as early as 11,000 years ago. Carefully sifting through the dust of ages past, archaeologists have begun to piece together the early history of this area. The Diggity site (downstream on the left), excavated during the summer of 1983, provides a glimpse of Indian life during the past 2000 years.

The people who lived at Diggity made and used earthenware pottery and various chipped stone tools. More than 700 fragments of decorated cooking vessels were recovered here. Stone tools included many small arrow points and scrapers. Scraping tools were used in tanning hides and for light wood-working.

Charred seed and animal remains found in old Diggity campfires suggest the Indians occupied this site from mid-summer to early spring. Beaver and black bear were hunted for fur and meat. Wild plants and berries were collected for food and medicine. Bristly sasparilla was brewed as herbal tea, and the seeds of smartweed were eaten as a nutty cereal.

During the recent historic times, the St. Croix area was exploited for furs and lumber. A French axe found on Spednic Lake suggests that Indians were trading with Europeans by the early 1700s. The excavated remains of a horse, fragments of clay pipes, a double-bladed axe, the tip of a log drivers' pike pole, and other historic artifacts are lingering evidence of a lumber camp built on the site in the early 20th century. Today the long and colorful parade, which began with the native hunters of 2000 years ago, continues-canoeists, fishermen and hunters still camp at Diggity.

The Old Campsite - Within our view is a combination of historical and natural evolution. First, the archaeological site across the stream has yielded evidence that Indian hunting parties once camped at this spot. These people, ever on the move in pursuit of bear and beaver, probably used this location as a seasonal stopover.

The tallest trees here are softwoods - red spruce and eastern hemlock. They are responsible for the musky smell of this place. Hemlock is a tree with a past in these parts. Because its bark furnishes tannin, used in tanning hides, hemlock was responsible for a large turn-of-the-century tanning industry, a colourful era on the upper reaches of the St. Croix. Today colour in these woods comes from red squirrels and the birds, which include wood warblers, flycatchers and woodpeckers.

Softwood Swamp - The Passamaquoddy Indian name for the St. Croix River is Schoodic, meaning low or swampy ground. These wetlands are home to a remarkable collection of plants, trees, animals and birds, some of them quite rare.

In the first stages of immersion, before their roots drown,, softwood trees such as cedar, black spruce and larch thrive in a swamp. All three species have distinguished reputations-cedar for its pest repellent scent; black spruce for its long fibres which yield excellent pulp for paper making; and larch, the only conifer in our forest to shed its needles for winter, for the historic use of its durable wood in shipbuilding.

Another highly evident hardwood species is the much malighed alder, which actually plays a valuable role by enriching the soil with nitrogen. Thus the alder is partly responsible for the rich variety of grasses, cattails and sedges found in the swamp.

The Islands - The boulder-covered islands which dot Spednic Lake feature a pure growth of several hardwood species. One of the most interesting is basswood whose range in New Brunswick is limited to the southwestern part of the province, and which is more abundant here than anywhere else in the Maritime provincies.

Lumbermen once used the Chiputneticook Lakes to transport millions of logs down the St. Croix system to sawmills at St. Stephen-Milltown. Tales from that colourful era can still be heard in the neighboring villages. Before the loggers, Indians canoed these waters to hunt and fish. Today hundreds of recreational canoeists follow these same ancient route. Few realize that the rounded hills and rocky shores across the lake are in Maine, for these lakes and the St. Croix River serve as part of the Canada/United States border.

Spednic Lake - Glaciers created Spednic Lake. As they advanced and retreated through this area they sculpted the land, carving this long and shallow lake, part of the Chiputneticook Lakes chain. The collection of large boulders visible on the lakeshore or lurking just beneath the waves is another legacy of the glaciers. As the ice melted, the boulders were strewn throughout this area.

The water level of Spednic Lake fluctuates because of the dam at St. Croix - Vancborro. The dam is used to generate electricity for the downstream pulp and paper mill. But even at its highest level, Spednic is still a relatively shallow lake with a maximum depth of only 16.5 metres. Consequently, it is extremely susceptible to wind. Canoeists should be alert to the possibility of sudden wind storms causing high and dangerous waves.

Current Weather

External Links

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Trails last visited August 19, 2012
Page Last Updated April 10, 2013.