The Most Definitive Guide to Hiking in New Brunswick
|Estimated Time||45 mins one way|
|Surface Type||crushed rock|
|Elevation Change||32 meters|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|Dog Friendly||on a leash|
|GPS File||available on request|
From the Sign
Town of Hampton
Welcome to Dutch Point Park, the gateway to Hampton's portion of the Great Trail System. This beautiful 30 acre park was once farm land, acquired and developed by the Town of Hampton beginning in 1984. Dutch Point Park is open year round and is home to a network of multi-use trails that will reward you with beautiful views of the Hampton Marsh, navigating through the woods, across wooden bridges and traversing meadows. Hiking along these trails, you may have an opportunity to view a variety of local wildlife that make their home in the area, including: muskrat, beaver, weasels, ducks, kingfishers, red-winged blackbirds or even the Great Blue Heron. The Dutch Point system includes Erb's Trail (310m), Wetmore's Walk (305m), Coleman's Trail (425m), Pendergrass Trail (80m), Haden Hill's Loop (630m).
Hampton's portion of the Great Trail continues along roadways and greenways stretching from the Hampton Community Centre along Main Street, through Spooner Island Rotary Nature Park to Hampton High School. Enjoy breathtaking views of Ossekeag Creek and the Hampton Marsh wetland system, perfect for birders, picnickers and natural pursuits.
The Main Trail at Dutch Point Park is a wide, crushed rock trail that meanders through the woods, passing by small fields and large boulders. The trail provides access to all the other more interesting trails in the park, along with access to the Primary and Elementary Schools. The trail travels through a band of forest between the schools and Hampton Marsh.
Starting at the ballfields the trail climbs a slight grade. The trail passes by Wetmore's Trail on the right. At the top of the hill the trail turns to the right and passes by Coleman's Trail on the left. The trail starts to descend the hill towards Hampton Marsh and passes a small field with a picnic table on the left. Near the bottom of the hill the trail turns right.
The trail passes by and access trail to the Primary School on the right. Not far past this access trail you will find the Haden Hill's Loop Trail on the left. The Main Trail continues down the hill and then takes another sharp turn to the right, traveling past several Elementary School access trails as it travels behind the school.
The trail climbs up over a ridge, takes another sharp right turn, and then descends the other side of the ridge. At the bottom of the hill the trail comes out at School Street next to the parking. At this point you can turn left and continue on the trail along School Street. There is a slight grade up to the Cenotaph Trail next to Main Street where the trail ends.
From the Sign
Dutch Point Park
Dutch Point Park, as we now know it, is largely made up of farm land owned by William and Marguerite Erb. In 1973, Mrs. Erb sold the property and over the course of the next decade it changed hands several times but was not developed. On April 5th, 1984 the Town of Hampton acquired the vacant land from John and Patricia Gandy. The remainder of the park was obtained in 2014 from the Province of New Brunswick and the Hampton Community Club Inc.
These trails reward users with beautiful views of the Hampton Marsh. Water levels are influenced by the Bay of Fundy tides, and are especially high during the spring freshet. Some examples of wildlife that make their home in this area are muskrat, beaver, weasels, and ducks. You may see Kingfishers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Black-capped Chickadees or even the Great Blue Heron on your hike.
Developing this property from farm land to a beautiful public park and trail system fell to the Town's Leisure Services Department. In the early days, this was a small committee with a very limited budget. Local resident, Charlie Branscombe, operator of the Branscombe's Brass and Aluminum Foundry on Dutch Point Road and Town of Hampton Parks Committee Member, completed the majority of the work in the park using his own machinery. Over the years the trails have been expanded and defined by the Town of Hampton. Dutch Point Park and its trail system include Hampton's portion of the Trans Canada Trail as well as five-trail system that includes: Erb's Hill Trail, Wetmore's Walk, Coleman's Trail, Pendergrass Trail and Haden Hill's Loop. These trails reward users with beautiful views of the Hampton Marsh and with winding paths into the woods, across wooden bridges and through meadows. To this day, the Town's Parks employees continue to complete all work in the park and the pride of their workmanship is very evident.
From the Sign
The Kennebecasis River is the largest tributary of the St. John River. The main stem of the river is spread over both Albert and Kings counties, meandering for approximately 95 km before meeting the St. John River in Millidgeville. The Kennebecasis River and its banks provide habitat for many species of birds, mammals and amphibians, including muskrat, beaver, ducks, belted kingfisher and red-winged blackbirds. The river is also home to a reported 24 different varieties of freshwater species of fish. These include the shortnose sturgeon, an ancient and long lived species that in Canada is found only in the St. John River and its tributaries. The Kennebecasis River is also known for its recreational fishing opportunities, especially in pursuit of Atlantic salmon and brook trout. The public can access the Kennebecasis River at Lighthouse Park.
From the Sign
White-tailed deer are the most common large mammal in North America. New Brunswick's white-tailed deer population is estimated to be approximately 90,000. In recent years they have migrated from deep woods to suburban areas. White-tailed deer are well adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions and can tolerate the presence of people very well. They are herbivores whose diet consists predominantly of green plants, nuts, and in the winter, wood vegetation. White-tailed deer can be active at any time, but they tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. Their fur is tan or reddish-brown in the summer and turns a greyish-brown in the winter. The name white-tailed refers to the white underside which is commonly displayed when it lifts its tail while running. White-tailed deer can make vertical leaps of over two and a half metres and horizontal leaps of nine metres.
From the Sign
Ospreys are sometimes confused with bald eagles, but you can identify Osprey by their white underparts and their distinctive black eye stripe that goes down the side of their face. Due to the fact that fish make up 99 percent of an Osprey's diet, these birds have a preference for nesting along lakes, coastal waterways and rivers, including our own Kennebecasis River. Their vision is well adapted to detecting underwater objects from above. They hunt by diving to the water's surface from heights up to 30 metres, plucking fish from the water with their curved claws. The majority of these migratory birds leave New Brunswick by the end of September and return in mid-April. When they return, they repair their nests or build new ones. Traveling along the Kennebecasis River you will have an opportunity to see several nesting sites, as they often select hydro poles or dead trees as a location for their bulky stick and sod nests. Well-constructed nests can be used by several generations and can end up being large enough for a human to sit in. Although the Osprey is a locally common bird in Hampton, the species remains sparse in many regions. Like all birds of prey in New Brunswick the Osprey is protected.
From the Sign
Rocks underlying Dutch Point Park are from the Early Carboniferous Period of geologic time. They belong to a rock unit called the Mabou Group and are about 325 million years old. In southern New Brunswick the Mabou Group is made up of the rock types conglomerate, sandstone and mudstone.
A conglomerate is a sedimentary rock consisting of a mix of rounded boulders and sand. These conglomerates were likely formed by rivers that had the energy to move large boulder-sized particles. Mudstone rocks probably represent slow moving streams or ponds. On occasion there are layers called calcrete, hard calcium-rich layers that form in soil as a result of climatic fluctuations in dry (arid or semiarid) regions.
The sediments that formed these rocks were transported by rivers that eroded highlands of the ancient supercontinent Pangea. At the time New Brunswick was located near the middle of Pangea, and probably a little south of the equator. Some of these rocks may be 'glacial erratics', boulders that were transported by glaciers during the last ice age and left behind as the glacier melted. Erratics are often different from the bedrock they lie upon, having been transported long distances by the glacier.
For directions to the park go to the Dutch Point Park page. The trail starts and ends near the two access points.
Trail Last Hiked: June 4, 2020.
Page Last Updated: April 2, 2021.