1st stop of our 15-day road trip in New Brunswick by RV (recreational vehicle), Mount Carleton Park. A first sporting step, because the park is home to the highest peaks in the province. Here is the story of our day in Mount Carleton Park in the heart of New Brunswick.
First, presentation of Mont Carleton Park
Located in the heart of New Brunswick, Mount Carleton Park is a provincial park which is home to 11 hiking trails, 4 lakes and 4 peaks. High peaks including Mount Carleton (820m) which is the highest in the province.
Access to Mount Carleton Park costs $ 10 per vehicle per day (whether there are 2 or 4 of you in the vehicle). Please note that there is no telephone / internet network in the park. You will find network and connection in the city of Saint-Quentin.
Our day in Mount Carleton Park
Start your day off right with the ascent of Mount Carleton
It is by the homonymous path of the park that we begin our discovery of the park of Mount Carleton. A difficult 9.6 km trail (loop) leading to the highest peak in the park and in the province: Mount Carleton (820 meters above sea level). We follow the advice of the rangers and we start the hike by the left path (4.9km). The start of the hike is easy and very pleasant. We go deep into a forest and walk along a stream. The serious things start a little before the last mile.
Not really a trail anymore but rocks. To get to the top of Mount Carleton, you have to earn it. We finally arrive at the top after a few perilous passages on the rocks, but the various panoramas are magnificent. Millions of trees and dozens of mountains as far as the eye can see, very beautiful. At the top of Mount Carleton is the old observation tower of the park. Its purpose was to watch the fires. But since 1968, the guards who occupied it have been replaced by planes. Today, it is the hikers who come to admire the landscape from the tower.
Mont Head and Mont Sagamook for the afternoon
It is at the junction between the descent of Mont Carleton and the Mont Head trail that our paths separate with Elodie. It ends the Mont Carleton trail to reach the parking lot. While I go to discover other summits. The 4.4 km descent from Mount Carleton takes you through the forest. As for the Mount Head trail, from Mount Carleton, it is 3 km of slight descent through a forest. But the path is very narrow, about 80 cm wide, and strewn with roots and stones. Really not obvious. Especially since it is lined with fir trees so if you don’t want to end up with claws on the calves / shins, I advise you to wear high socks or pants. Arrived at the top of Mount Head (792 meters above sea level), the panoramic view of Mount Carleton, Mount Jumeau and Little Nictau and Bathurst lakes is magnificent.
Then direction Mont Sagamook (777 meters above sea level), again 2.7 km of very narrow path, strewn with roots, stones and firs. The last meters resemble those of Mount Carleton, with elevation and a lot of rocks. At the top of Mont Sagamook, no clear view. I am looking for an observation point but in vain. So I start the descent. Your choice: 2.2 km or 3.2 km east. I choose, wrongly, 3.2 km to the east. 3.2 km of steep descent through the forest and no observation point. The descent is really steep, I do not advise you to go up by this side of the mountain. A priori, the observation points on the Nictau lakes are on the other side. Pity !
Williams Falls to end in style
Before leaving the park, we go across Big Nictau Lake to see Williams Falls. Accessible from a very easy 300-meter trail, an observation point offers a breathtaking view of (small) Williams Falls. It is possible to see trout jumping in the waterfalls. In our case, it was otters that we saw enjoying at the water’s edge.
What else to do in Mount Carleton Park?
Other hiking trails are available in the park. This is particularly the case of the popular Mount Bailey (difficult 7.4 km loop) and Portage (easy round trip 4.2 km). The Portage Trail, which stretches from Lake Nictau to Lake Nepisiquit, allows you to walk in the footsteps of the First Nations (Maliseet and Mi’kmaq) who have used it for centuries.
Where to sleep to discover Mount Carleton Park?
The simplest and most practical solution is to camping inside the park. 5 campsites and 3 hinterland campsites are available to travelers.
The other solution, if you don’t want to camp or the campsites are full, is to stay in Saint-Quentin. It is the closest town to the park: 30 km. In Saint-Quentin, direction the Bed and Breakfast Du Repos which offers Queen rooms with private bathroom, breakfast and kitchenette starting at $ 151 per night with free cancellation. A real good plan accessible to all.
For our part, as we were in an autonomous RV, we spent the night 3 km from the entrance to the park: here. A small lot at the bottom of the park road with a small fire place. 3 vehicles maximum. Ideal location for exploring Mont Calton Park in VR. It is even a priori frequent to see originals here, but in 2 nights, we did not see a single one.
In conclusion, my opinion on this day in the park of Mont Carleton
I was pleasantly surprised with the park. The paths leading to the summits offer beautiful panoramas and they are well marked. In one day, we had time to do two hikes. I would have liked to have had an extra day to do more. I liked the Mount Carleton trail which, in addition to the difficulty of the last kilometer, offers a beautiful panorama. However, I found the Mont Head trail (between Mont Carleton, Mont Head and Mont Sagamook) in poor condition.
And you, what hikes have you done in Mont Carleton Park? What is your favorite?
Next stop on our 2 week road trip in New Brunswick: A day on Lamèque and Miscou Islands in New Brunswick.