The Irving Nature Park is a beautiful park right on the edge of the city of Saint John. Most of the trails travel around the shoreline of Taylor Island. Taylor Island is not a true island but is a higher forested piece of land that climbs up from Saints Rest Marsh and juts out into the Bay of Fundy.
The east side of the island overlooks Manawoganish Island, a small rounded island that is a nature preserve for seals and birds. You will also see lots of ships crossing the bay. Tanker ships visit the Irving oil refinery, cruise ships visit the city, and the Digby Ferry takes passengers across the bay to Nova Scotia. The pinnacle of a hike of the island is reaching the Seely Point Lookout at the point of the island on the Heron Trail.
The west section of the island is dominated with views of Saints Rest Marsh and the shoreline of Lorneville. On the Squirrel Trail there is a boardwalk that pokes out into the marsh and a lookout tower that rises above the highest point on the island to show views of the marsh below.
There are other trails that cross over the island providing options for progressive loops. A couple of loop trails show some interesting geology in the interior of the island.
The Sheldon Point Trail is on a point of land before crossing over to Taylor Island. The trail provides views of the west side of Saint John and of partridge Island. The west side of the Sheldon Point Trail travels through ATV trails and gravel pits but then drops down to end with a hike on Saints Rest Beach.
The Children's Forest Trail is the only inland trail. It is a short loop road that passes by shelters, playgrounds and two large cedar mazes. I added this as a trail because it makes a great place to take a walk when the gates are closed.
Take exit 119 in Saint John West and turn right towards Bleury Street. Drive for 600 metres and turn right onto Sand Cove Road. Drive for 1.6 kilometres and you will pass a cemetery on the left and the Greenwood Cemetery on the right. Across from Greenwood Cemetery you will see a small barn with a green roof. Just past the entrance to the barn you will see a sign for the Sheldon Point Trail parking lot on the left. Drive for another 350 metres and you will see a loop road on the right that is the Children's Forest Trail. The other end of the loop is another 600 metres.
Drive for another 400 metres and you will come to the end of the pavement. Just off the pavement you will find a parking lot on the left that accesses Saints Rest Beach and the other end of the Sheldon Point Trail. Continue across the gravel road along the beach for another 850 metres and you will come to the main parking lot for the park. From here you can once again access Saints Rest Beach and the rest of the trails in the park on Taylors Island. When the gate is open in the summer months it possible to continue around a loop road around the perimeter of the island. On the loop there are several smaller temporary parking areas (see map). There is also a large parking area between the Squirrel Trail and Seal Trail.
For more specific direction to each of the trail go to each of the trail pages.