When you think of New Brunswick, what comes to mind? Do you think of lobster rolls, beautiful coastal scenery and covered bridges?

It’s time to add epic mountain biking to your list.

RockwoodBe Rad Adventure Co.New Brunswick has always had a core group of riders who have quietly developed trails in their local parks. In the last 10 years or so, the development of the sport has become much more professional—to the point where New Brunswick is now a legitimate top tier mountain biking destination with fantastic and diverse riding in all corners of the province.

Rockwood Park in Saint John is a great place to start. The park is aptly named as the more than 40 kilometers of trails here are old-school rocky, rooty rides with some tough, punchy hills. In the last two years, Rockwood has had more than $200,000 of investment in its cycling infrastructure with the addition of professionally built enduro trails and the Jedi Academy, a skills park where beginners and intermediate riders can learn their skills in a more controlled environment.

RockwoodBe Rad Adventure Co.

For any sport to grow, it takes dedicated people. Saint John has Sam Bosence. In 2019, Sam introduced the globally recognized Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association to New Brunswick and there are now about a dozen certified instructors. Sam and her passionate team at Be Rad Adventure Co. are working hard to make the sport accessible and fun for everybody by offering skills courses and kids camps, and hosting meetups and festivals.

Travelling up the St. John River to Fredericton, riders are blessed with more than 100 kilometres of trails maintained by the volunteers at the very active River Valley Cycling club. For the next couple of years, club president Chris Norfolk and the rest of the club will be concentrating on improving the existing trails and building new ones at Woolastook Park, thanks to a grant for $303,000 from the Canada Community Building Fund. The trails here are mostly rated green and blue, so this is an ideal place to go whether you want a nice meandering ride through the woods alongside the beautiful St. John River or crank out some hard laps training for Woolastook’s four-hour endurance race, the Wooly 4.

WoolastookRobert Linden

A short 40-minute drive from Fredericton you’ll find the Minto trails, one of the most unique bike parks in the country. Minto was a bustling coal mining town until the mines finally shut down for good in 2010. In fact, Canada’s first coal mines were here with the first shipment to Boston in 1639. The coal was strip mined in a process where a dragline would shear off about eight feet of soil to get to the coal seam. This overburden would then be placed in what over the years became big ridge lines. What was at the time a horrible scar on the earth has today resulted in smooth, flowy trails in a moonscape-like setting alongside otherworldly green settling ponds.

MintoBe Rad Adventure Co.

The park started as a hobby project by Dr. Sean Morrissy after he started a family medicine practice in Minto. With his office butting up against the old mine site, and while he was looking for a place to ride after work, Sean started developing trails in his spare time. What began the first year as four kilometres of trails has grown to more than more than 40, with plans to grow to 50 kilometers this year.

Last year, a boutique campground called Tiny Trails opened at the entrance to the Minto Park that caters almost exclusively to riders. It’s a great place to relax after the day and enjoy some legendary east coast friendliness as you compare rides at the communal fire pit or the licensed on-site tap room.

The north of the province has not been left out of the growing mountain bike scene. The Sentiers Madawaska Trails just outside Edmundston has 60 kilometers of IMBA standard singletrack located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range where it extends into Canada. With a relatively even split of beginner, intermediate and expert riding, this is truly a place for the entire family.

SugarloafZoe Boyd

To the northeast of the province in Sugarloaf Provincial Park near Campbellton, there is some of the best lift-serviced downhill riding in the east. This park’s range of trails from long, flowy greens to tough double black diamonds will surely bring a smile to anybody at every skill level. This park was designed and built by Whistler’s Gravity Logic so you can be sure that it has some of the best downhill riding you can find anywhere. In addition to the downhill riding, the park has cross country trails, a pumptrack and a skills park. And, for convenience, you can camp at the park or, if tenting is not your style, yurts and chalets are available for rent.

YurtZoe Boyd

Fundy National Park in the southeast of the province is also into the mountain biking action. The park has converted an underused campground to the Chignecto Adventure Centre. From the recently built lodge (complete with bike tool stand, showers, washrooms, picnic tables and stoves) you can head out on the primarily beginner and intermediate trails.  If Strava is your thing, challenge yourself on the Whitetail trail as it rises 280 metres in just over four kilometers. The park is also home to the largest pumptrack in New Brunswick.

And this is just a sampling of the great places to ride in New Brunswick. Communities across the province are investing in cycling infrastructure. Places like Sussex with the Bluff and Beyond trails, Caraquet’s Club Plein Air and the Millenium Bike Park in Quispamsis are all smaller communities that see the value of riding. Wherever you are in the province you don’t have far to go to find some terrific single track.

RockwoodBe Rad Adventure Co.

So, as you load the bikes on your car, set your GPS for New Brunswick and join us for a rip. And, of course, grab a mouth-watering lobster roll, too.