Grand Manan, population ~2500 (2006) is the largest island in the Bay of Fundy. At about 15km off the coast from where Canada meets the US (New Brunswick / Maine), it’s situated at the mouth of the bay.
Although there is apparently some hiking on smaller islands in the area, most of the marked and maintained trails are on the larger island. There are a network of short trails, primarily on the west side, but the paths can be combined to form “The Red Trail”. From Swallowtail, just around the northern tip of the island, to Southwest Head on the southern end, The Red Trail is about 44km in length.
This park is home to the highest points in the Appalachian Range in New Brunswick. Several trails summit various peaks – there are multiple possible combinations making this a good stop for a single night or multi day hike.
The park is a dark sky preserve area, a designation that limits artificial light pollution – one of only seven such sites in Eastern Canada. It has an excellent dark sky rating of 2 on the Bortle Scale (“typical truly dark site”) making it a perfect path for the night-sky-loving backpacker.
In the east the park borders the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq River Trail, allowing this to be a possible starting or ending point for that path as well. In the west the IAT-NB passes through the park.
This trail follows the The Nepisiguit River along a several thousand year old seasonal hunting route of aboriginals. Although the information currently online is sparse, work is ongoing for a web redesign. In the meantime, the Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail Facebook Group is extremely active and should for the time being be the first stop for anyone looking for current info.
According to information supplied by members of that group; As of Fall 2016 approximately half of the 140 km trail is cut and marked starting from the east, with the rest being a route that is still in active development. Currently the western half is best suited to the determined hiker, requiring some navigation and bushwhacking.
The most dramatic feature of this area – the Bay of Fundy – is something that any potential hiker needs to be familiar with for reasons of safety. Along the coast, tides in the region can be as high as a three story building. The local association has a package available specifically to inform hikers on safe passage.