Fall to the Rising Sun Trip • Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick • September 25 & 26, 2016
The whole time that we were at Fundy National Park, we kept wondering “where are all the people??” We just didn’t understand why more people weren’t out enjoying this cooler yet beautiful weekend on the Bay of Fundy! Well, when we arrived at Hopewell Rocks, our question was answered: here they are! Some of the reasons why Hopewell Rocks is so much more popular is probably because it’s closer to the larger city of Moncton and not out of the way like Fundy National Park. It’s also a smaller area, so it feels more crowded than the big national park when everyone is down on the beach or at the lookout points. It’s around a more commercialized and touristy area, and takes very little effort to see the beauty of this natural attraction. The day we visited also happened to be one of their “free admission with a donation to the food shelter” days.
However, we don’t regret visiting the very crowded Hopewell Rocks at all because there is no denying that this is a beautiful and fascinating place!
Example of tides in the Bay of Fundy: Top picture is shortly after high tide in Fundy National Park; Bottom picture is just 2 hours later, not even at low tide yet!
I briefly mentioned in my post about Fundy about how the Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tides in the world. Visiting Hopewell Rocks during both high tide and low tide really gives you an idea of what that actually means. It’s incredible how at low tide, you can walk around on the ocean floor, and high tide comes just 6 hours later and completely covers the entire area. Having lived near an ocean, we’ve become familiar with the changing tides, but this place blew us away.
We knew that we had to visit Hopewell both at high tide and low tide, so we decided to go on Sunday afternoon right after finishing up our morning hikes at Fundy. It is just over a half hour to go from Alma to Hopewell if you take the main highway, and we arrived shortly after low tide. The cost for getting in is $10/person, and you can use your receipt for free admission the following day. This makes it very convenient to be able to see it at both high tide and low tide and not have to wait 6 hours or so to see both. Dogs are allowed on leash, and Charlotte loved both the long walk on the beach and all the love she got from people.
The world famous “Flowerpot Rocks” at low tide
You’re allowed to walk on the beach among the rocks from about 3 hours before to 3 hours after low tide. The best part is just wandering around these rocks and peeking in the caves formed in the cliffs. We walked as far as we could to the end of the rocks, and sat down and took it all in. Curtis was coming up with all sorts of ideas for planting letterboxes around here — such as how to plant a box that’s underwater during high tide and accessible during low tide?? We’ll have to figure that out before we ever return.
It’s important to note that they are open from May until mid-October, like many places we visited in Canada! The park also has campsites, and a restaurant and small museum inside the visitor’s center. They also offer shuttle rides at a low cost from the visitor’s center to near the main lookout of the rocks, just in case you want to skip the less than half-mile trail…which is completely level and a lovely walk in the woods.
Just one of many rocks reaching high above us. Such a cool place.
After spending a few hours here, we drove back to our campsite at the Shire. It rained for a while as we drove, and then we saw the most clear double rainbow stretching across the whole sky. Thankfully our tent stayed dry through that though! We bundled up for yet another 30º windy night.
The Flowerpot Rocks shortly after high tide!
The next morning, we got up as early as we could to pack up our stuff and make it back to Hopewell for high tide at 9. (No, we weren’t sleeping in, we were hiding from the cold!) At high tide, you can go as far as the last landing on the big staircase that takes you from the Flowerpot Rocks overlook to the ocean floor. I’ve heard that you can also kayak during high tide, but we didn’t see anyone doing that. If we ever came back, I’d love to have the chance to paddle around the rocks if it’s really possible! It was really amazing to look out over the same spot we were walking through the day before and see it under several feet of water. It’s truly an amazing place!
After our quick second visit to Hopewell, we drove to Moncton where we stopped at Tim Horton’s for the second time on this trip. The second time out of…I don’t remember how many. I just know that Tim Horton’s was like our third biggest expense on this trip. 😉 Next, we visited Fort Beausejour and the Nova Scotia welcome center before driving to our destination for the next few days: Halifax!
Now entering our third Canadian province!