Musquash Nature Reserve, NB (Photo by NCC)

Musquash Nature Reserve, NB (Photo by NCC)

Musquash: Five Fathom Hole Trail, New Brunswick

Most places under NCC's care welcome visitors. Please check site-specific pages on this website for access information and any special restrictions.

Located 19 kilometres west of Saint John, New Brunswick in one of the most biologically productive natural settings in Atlantic Canada, Musquash is one of the last fully functioning estuaries in the Bay of Fundy. For generations, the stunning scenery surrounding the lower Bay of Fundy has drawn vacationers to explore its lands and shores.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has built and maintains two coastal hiking trails along the Musquash Estuary, just west of Saint John, New Brunswick — Canada's sixth Marine Protected Area and New Brunswick's first. The trails pass through mossy coastal forests, with stunning views of the Musquash Estuary, cobble beaches, mudflats and pristine salt marshes.

Trail length: 5.7-kilometre linear trail (11.4 kilometres return), with a shorter 1.5-kilometre side hike to access the Butler Creek Beach. This trail takes approximately five hours to hike.
Hike difficulty: Moderately strenuous, with many ups and downs and crossing two beaches. Trails are rustic and for hiking only. Please be prepared for rugged conditions and changeable weather.
Amenities on-site: There are no facilities on the trail.

Points of interest

Home to thriving communities of fish, birds and terrestrial wildlife, the diversity of ecosystems in Musquash is extraordinary, and includes each of the habitat types found in the greater Bay of Fundy region:

  • cobble and sand beaches
  • mudflats
  • saltmarshes
  • rocky headlands
  • coastal forests
  • islands

Species you can look out for

  • American black duck
  • common eider
  • red-breasted merganser
  • broad-winged hawk
  • moose
  • black bear
  • bobcat
  • white-tailed deer


To get to the Five Fathom Hole trailhead:

  • From Saint John, take Route 1 west.
  • Take exit 103 (Prince of Wales exit), left off the exit, left at the stop sign.
  • The parking area and trailhead are located down the road on your left, and is marked with an NCC sign.

To get to the Black Beach trailhead

  • From Saint John, take Route 1 west.
  • Take exit 112 (Lorneville exit) and drive straight (towards Coleson Cove).
  • At Coleson Cove, veer right onto a gravel road (follow beach signs). This road can be rough, and hikers may want to park at a pull off partway in and hike the rest of the way to the trailhead.
  • The road ends at Black Beach with a small parking area.
  • Follow a side road up to the right that leads to trails and the trailhead.

Contact information

NCC Fredericton office: 1-877-231-3552

Learn more about Musquash here >

All visitors to NCC properties do so at their own risk.

Visitor information

When visiting the property, please:

  • Respect the wildlife and other visitors.
  • Travel on designated paths only.
  • Ensure that all dogs are accompanied by their owner and controlled on a leash at all times.
  • Refrain from lighting fires or smoking.
  • Remove your own garbage, and please pick up after your pet.
  • Respect that the property does not permit the removal of any plants or animals.

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada