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Region Map / Fundy West / Five Fathom

Musquash Estuary - Five Fathom Hole Trail

Quick Facts

Ratings Legend

Difficulty Moderate Features Mudflats, Costline
Trail Type Linear Trail Markers Red Squares
Distance 5.3 km one way Scenery Rating Must See
Estimated Time 4-5 hrs Mainteance Rating Well Maintained
Trail Surface Type Forested, Gravel Cell Phone Reception Variable
Elevation Change 42 meters GPS file Available on request
Fees required: No Dog Friendly On a Leash


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Take Route 1 west from Saint John. Take exit 103 to Prince of Wales Road and turn left. After a short distanace you will come to Five Fathom Hole Road. Turn left on the road and drive until after the road turns sharply to the right. After crossing a clearing for powerlines you will find a small dirt road on the left. This road is the entrance to the parking lot for the Five Fathom Hole Trail.


The Five Fathom Hole Trail is one of two trails in the Musquash Estuary Nature Preserve. The other trail is the Black Beach Trail which starts at Black Beach on the King William Road to the south.

There are two things you should consider while planning your hike of this trail. The first is the thick fog that is a regular occurence in the bay of fundy. It is best to wait until later in the day until the fog has burned off if you want to take full advantage of the views. It is also nice to take a walk through the muted colors of the thick fog. The second is the tides. The estuary is known for it's large mud flats that only reveal themselves at low time. The mud is too thick to explore but the rich, brown color provides an interesting landscape to photograph or enjoy.

The Five Fathom Hole Trail cuts through the lush green moss in the mainly spruce, coastal forest. The first section of the trail is relatively flat and a bit wet. The trail crosses two arch bridges over small streams. The trail soon comes to an interpretive sign with the first of an inlet that flows into the Musquash Estuary. The trail crosses several small bridges over streams that flow into the inlet. Each bridge provides a glimpse of the grassy wetlands of the inlet.

The trail comes to a trail junction where you have a choice to make. Turn left and continue on the main trail along the coast or take the trail to the right and go to Butler Creek Beach. The Butler Creek Beach side trail is 400 meters and travels through mostly old field that has grown up with alders. It passes the abutments of an old bridge that used to cross the inlet and an old building that has collapsed. The building is surrounded by a stand a aspen trees.

Continue past the abutments and you will soon emerge onto the rocky shore of Butler Creek Beach. If you look up the beach to the right you will see the dock and boats at Five Fathom Hole. Looking to the left provides views of the rocky coastline of the estuary.

Returning to the main trail will once again take you through the moss laden, spruce forest. The trail comes out to a small beach in a cove. The rock on the beach gives way to the thick, brown mud of the estuary at low tide. After this first beach the trails becomes more strenous and starts to climb and descend along the rugged coastline. There are several lookouts along the way.

The trail eventually comes to a longer more exposed beach at Wallace Cove. The trail continues around the cove and ends at a point on the south end of Wallace Cove. The trail ends on the rocky coastline looking out over the mouth of the estuary and the Bay of Fundy beyond. At low time the mudflats extend all the way out to Musquash Island in the middle of the estaury.

Current Weather


Other Trails in the area:

External Links

Nature Conservancy of Canada - Musquash Estuary Trails

Trail last visited May 31, 2016.
Page Last Updated June 4, 2016.