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Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Maroochydore...
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Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Hi there,

My Fiance and I are looking to do a day hike or two in either Saguenay or Fundy National Parc. Unfortunately we don't have time for both.

We will be there late September / early October 2013 and we are looking for scenery and wildlife.

My question is... Which one is better or is there another option and if you suggest one can you please also suggest the most scenic trail in that one?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Hi Greg and welcome to the forums ~

I'm going to post here to bump this up to try to help you out. It takes a bit of doing to become familiar with TA. You do realize that these two areas are 10 hours driving apart? Your question is a bit too vague for anyone to help you. There is no travel context for this question. Will you be in Québec or in New Brunswick? or both? What else are you doing in Canada that would give people something to hook on to? How many nights? Where are you flying into and out of? You haven't got any responses because people just don't know what to say to you.

No one's going to talk about "better" because that's subjective. I could say go to Fundy because it's "better "and you would hunt me down if you didn't like it and wasted your time. You would be better to ask for some descriptions of the location and other people's experiences.

TA has reviews for Fundy National Park (Things to Do in the green bar up top):

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g154956-d1…

and Saguenay Fjord NP:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1144652-d…

Click on the title of the first review to open the page to full text.

Maroochydore...
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2. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Thanks for the reply. We are driving from Quebec City to Nova Scotia and will have around 3 days to make the drive so were considering a detour to one of these destinations. Just not sure which one would have the best scenery and hiking available... or if you have a better suggestion? Thanks again :)

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

I'd certainly want to click open those blue links above and explore what others have said about the parks. Their comments will easily trump my ignorance of both parks. There are photos included as well, taken by some of the reviewers. :-)

Maroochydore...
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4. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Hey MuftiMixandmatch,

Thanks for all the help. The links were very helpful and we are disappointed we dont have more time for this eastern Canada area. I think we are going to go straight from Quebec to Fundy and miss Saguenay (as amazing as it looks) due to time constraints and some building things we want to do in Nova Scotia. We appreciate all your help.

Regards,

Greg

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5. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Grrr, I just typed a long post only to hit the wrong keyboard key.

You've got a 10 hour drive to Halifax. A little over half way is Fredericton the capital city of NB so a decent place to spend a night. Moncton will be busier, an "intersection" if you will between Québec, PEI and NS, so more amenities and not a government town, but east of Fundy NP. The NB Forum is very small, only 1000 topics. The NS forum has 5500 topics. NB is pretty and has things to do but doesn't have the ocean features that the other provinces do which may explain the fewer visitors.

Here's the NB tourist information website: http://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/#

One other idea I have is to post on the NS Forum because it's fair game. You will be travelling through NS to Halifax. But you really do have to do something about the "vital statistics of a good OP (Original Post)" These include all or most of: dates, number of nights to give, travel style, interests, arrival and departure locations. You know, so you're not giving people a Bullamakanka situation to work with. I've been around these forums and it is a truism: garbage in, garbage out. NOT that yours is, just saying.

I'd look out for kayakdover's posts on the NS Forum. He's located across the Bay of Fundy from Fundy NP at Advocate Harbour, NS and is up on the outdoors, especially kayaking. So have a go and see how it goes.

Lunenburg, Canada
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6. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Hi Qld!

I've done both! They're two different attractions.

The Bay of Fundy coast in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia offers splendid coastal scenery combined with the highest tides in the world, as much as 15 meters in the difference between high and low water. High tides offer some unique attractions. I'll add a separate article I wrote on the subject as a second message to you.

The Saguenay is a true fiord, in which a glacier plowed out an ancient river valley during the Wisconsin Ice Age and then the sea flooded in. Today, it's an arm of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with high vertical cliffs, so steep that it's not practical to build a highway along them. In the Saguenay country, the parallel roads run well inland, out of sight of the fiord. You can get down to the water only by a few lateral roads to sheltered coves.

If you come to the Saguenay, the best plan is to drive around the fiord. Take Quebec Rt. 170 from St. Simeon, on the St. Lawrence, a paved highway through splendid hill country with sudden cliffs, streams and little villages, all some of Quebec's best scenery. You reach La Baie, which is the prettiest place to overnight. You cross the river at Chicoutimi (today part of a Quebec municipality named Saguenay) and then continue east on Rt. 172 back to the St. Lawrence at Tadoussac.

Our favorite spots for getting down to the fiord are at Petit Saguenay in the southern shore and Ste. Rose on the north side.

The best way to get to New Brunswick from the Saguenay is to take the St. Lawrence ferries. There are five different routes, although some may reduce or end their service by late October. The fastest, a high speed catamaran, runs from Forestville to Rimouski.

I'll send you another article about the Bay of Fundy momentarily.

Happy travels!

David

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7. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Here's that article on the Fundy tides I promised. I've edited it for you, and I apologize to those who may already have read it.

The Fundy tides manifest themselves in many ways.

The tides do not simply come sweeping in as a thundering wave that instantly fills up the coast, the way you see in the cartoons. The procedure takes several hours, with about three and 1/2 hours of the strongest incoming tide, three hours of high tide, 3 1/2 hours of ebbing tide and three hours of low water when the water moves only slightly.

There's no one best way to see them. Let me show you:

A) If you camp at a place along the water, such as Five Islands Provincial Park, about an hour drive west of Truro, Nova Scotia you'll be able to observe the vast expanse of exposed mud flats gradually disappearing until the water is nearly up to your campsite. This takes hours, though.

If you stand in the bay during incoming tide, the water does perceptibly inch up your leg if the sea is calm. Even small waves, though, will drown out the effect of the tide, since the ripples of waves are always considerably stronger than the advancing tide. The tide keeps relentlessly coming, though, while wavelets move at random. The best place where you can stand to see the tide advancing is at St. Martins, New Brunswick, about three-quarters of an hour drive east of St. John, New Brunswick on Route 111.

B) There are a few places where you can actually see the water streaming up the bay in the form of a current and eddies. One is Cape Split, the hooked peninsula of land northeast of Kentville, Nova Scotia. Beware, though, that Cape Split is a minimum 3-hour hike (1 1/2 hours in each direction) for those in good physical condition. It's not rugged, and the trail is easy to follow, but there is no suitable vehicle road to the cape.

C) Rivers flowing into the bay get a "tidal bore" about every 13 hours, in which the incoming tide overcomes the sluggish waters flowing into the sea and rushes upstream in the form of a wave. (It's not a big wave, like surfers crave, and some who have seen it mutter that this must be the reason they call it a tidal "bore.") Behind the wave, though, the incoming water rises fast, much faster than in the open bay itself, flooding the river up to its banks. The best known and most accessible location is at Truro, Nova Scotia where the old Palliser Motel (now closed down) is located, just below Exit 14 off Route 102 freeway. It is essential to look on the internet for tidal bore tables, since this is a momentary event happening only two times a day.

D) A place like Halls Harbor, 80 km east of Digby, Nova Scotia and 120 km from Halifax, looks like any old fishing village at high water. Then the water goes out at low tide and the boats are beached, still tied to their wharves by long ropes. This effect is best seen in before-and-after views. Numerous Fundy coast fishing ports are good for this. They make for remarkable photos.

E) Sometimes, islands are accessible at low tide but not when the tide is in. The best one I know of is at Bar Harbor, Maine. St. Andrews, New Brunswick has one too. If you're in town at low tide, you can walk, or even drive, to an island out in the harbor.

F) Brown-water rafting. When the tide flows up a river, it creates a sufficiently powerful flow that one can raft up the river in a rubber boat. There are companies that do this on the Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia, southwest of Truro. One is located down on the water from Exit 11 off the Route 102 freeway. I've never done it, but those who did told me they were impressed.

It's called brown water rafting because the incoming tidal bore churns up the river bottom, creating a muddy (but not polluted) flow. You can find more on the internet, I'm sure, or other writers may be able to help. There should also be info and perhaps ads in the "Doers and Dreamers Guide," the several-hundred-page travel book distributed by the Nova Scotia government that they'll send you for free, or you can pick up a copy at no charge from Nova Scotia Welcome Centers.

G) There's Reversing Falls, at St. John, New Brunswick. This is where the St. John River flows through its final gorge into the harbor. It's well-marked and easy to find.

The bridge from which you watch is on Route 100, crossing the St. John River. Take Ex. 107 off the Route 1 freeway to get to it. Reversing Falls includes a couple of restaurants, stairs going down to the water, and a jet boat ride.

If you're there when the tide is about halfway in, the river very gradually, I repeat, VERY gradually reverses direction and begins to flow up stream, creating eddies and a current. It's not a sudden event, and the name "Reversing Falls" is not really an accurate description of what you'll see. Still, it's a remarkable phenomenon. Sitting down in the restaurant for an hour will be necessary to appreciate what is happening.

H) The St. Martins Sea Caves at St. Martins, New Brunswick. The caves are half-submerged at high water, but accessible at low tide. You have a few hours to go down and explore inside (so long as you leave on time, of course!).

I) The Flower Pot Rocks of Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick. They're on Route 114, about 30 km south of Moncton. You can either drive Route 114 clockwise from Moncton, or counter-clockwise starting at Sussex (Ex. 211 off Route 1) and first go through Fundy National Park.

At high tide, the rocks are tiny islands with a few evergreen trees growing on them. When the tide goes out, however, the rocks turn out to have tall red stone stems, sticking up 15 meters above the beach.

You can descend to the beach at low tide and walk around the rocky stems. (The treed caps are not accessible, except perhaps in a boat at high water.)

This beach is very muddy. Bring rubber boots in your trunk. Don't wear your walking shoes unless you fancy them permanently discolored by Fundy red mud.

As the adage goes, time and tide wait for no man. All Fundy tidal phenomena are time-sensitive: the St. Martins Sea Caves and Hopewell Rocks within a couple hours of low tide, and Reversing Falls at the incoming tide within a couple hours of the halfway point between low and high water. Check tide tables on the internet well in advance. Be sure you have 2013 (times are different each year) and that the times are in Atlantic Daylight Time (through November 2, 2013). ADT is one hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time and one hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. Or 11 hours ahead (but one day behind) Australian Eastern Time.

By the way, be mindful that the Fundy tides are found only in the Bay of Fundy and its adjacent waters, like Minas Basin and Chignecto Bay. There is absolutely no tidal scenery on the Atlantic-facing coast, like Halifax, or on Prince Edward Island, and you'll see no no hint of the dramatic Fundy tides there. The tidal difference on the Atlantic-facing coast is only a few feet a day.

There is tidal activity in the Saguenay fiord, though not as grand as the Bay of Funday. Still, you'd see that the Saguenay tides do drop a considerable distance.

David

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8. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

I mentioned that you can walk down to the water's edge at St, Martins, a bit under an hour's drive east of St. John, New Brunswick. Another place is at Irving Nature Park, about ten minutes drive west of downtown St. John across the harbor bridge.

(An asker wondered whether there are "exit horns" to get people away from the water as the tide comes in. There are no exit horns for the Fundy tides. Those who expect that have been watching too many cartoons!)

The Fundy tides don't come roaring in as a huge wave, the way sometimes depicted in the cartoons. The water does rise as much as 8 vertical meters at St. John, but not in a single wave. There's about 6 1/2 hours between high tide and low tide. Most of the rise happens during a 3 1/2 hour corridor. Eight meters divided by 3 1/2 hours equals about 2 meters per hour, which is barely two vertical centimeters per minute.

As you can see, you could easily walk far faster than the water rises. There's no need for emergency warnings. If somehow a person became stranded, say on a submergable islet, the water would eventually cover you and rescue might be needed, but this would never happen to anyone who is alert and knows that the the Fundy tide rises 8 meters.

Here is what you can do. The beaches near St. John and along the Fundy coast are not sandy beaches. They're mostly stony, such as at St. Martins, or mud flats.

At St. Martins, we like to walk down to the water's edge during the time of the fastest incoming tide. To a casual observer, you can't even tell that the tide is rising. The water level seems static. Even the tiniest waves appear to swamp any rising tide.

If you stay put for even a minute, though, it will be clear that as each wavelet retreats, the water hasn't gone out as far as it did behind the previous. In a minute or two, the water will start to lap over the spot where you're standing, and you must retreat or get your feet wet. You can do your King Canute imitation to impress friends!

David

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9. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

What about Fundy Trail Parkway?

This is a parkway in the literal meaning, a paved two-lane way through a park, not a synonym for expressway. It’s about 45 minutes drive, one-way, east from downtown St. John, NB.

Most of the drive, on Route 111, will be unremarkable suburban streets. You’ll think you made a mistake. There’s no ocean scenery until suddenly you come out at the village of West Quaco, on the Fundy shore. You’ll now be amid the seaside charm you hoped for.

The road passes several small restaurants and B&Bs, then turn to cross a river next to a quaint covered bridge for the final section to St. Martins. This is where you find the sea caves, large ocean-wrought holes in the rock beside a stony tidal beach. During the three hours when the tide is out, you can walk down to the water’s edge and even enter the caves. It’s safe, but be mindful of the gradually returning tide.

Drive east to Fundy Trail Parkway, now about 15 km long. It’s a paved road of steep hills and vistas, punctuated by about a dozen or so parking lots from which you can walk down to cliffs and look-offs over the water. It’s rewarding. You could go down, but these are steep hikes. Or you could just stay at the top and enjoy the views. Or walk along the clifftop walking trail. You'll have many choices.

Near the midpoint is a walkway to the Hearst Lodge, a “chalet” (more like a 30-room mansion) built in the days before air conditioning as a summer place by publisher and US Congressman William Randolph Hearst, who ran for mayor and governor of New York several times in the early 20th century. You can have tea there and even overnight. Nature walks are offered from the lodge.

David

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10. Re: Saguenay Fjord v Fundy National Park

Here's an article I wrote for an asker who wondered about walking on the sea floor near the Flower Pot Rocks at Hopewell Cape, NB:

You won't have any problem walking on the ocean floor, at least not from a tidal standpoint if you're there between three hours before the time of low water and three hours after, when they close the ocean floor.

All low tides at Hopewell Rocks are go out sufficiently far for you to walk on the sea floor, and stay out for several hours. That's because Fundy tides flow like a sine curve: about 1 1/2 hours before and after low tide, and before and after high tide, there's very little water movement. Most of the ebb and flow is compressed into the 3.5 -hour corridors halfway between low and high water.

The policy they follow at Hopewell Rocks is to open the steps from three hours before the time of low tide to three hours after low tide. That gives six full open hours for each low tide. It's not dangerous, and the authorities see that everyone is back up at the proper time when it's time to close.

You can wander around the base of the 50-foot-tall flower pot rocks. Climbing them is not allowed and indeed not practical, because the islets perched atop the stony stems are wider at the top than at the base.

Bring cruddy clothes and rubber boots, or at least things you don't mind getting permanently discolored. The red Fundy mud will stain your clothes and especially your shoes. There is no way to walk on the sea floor except in the red mud.

Not far to the west, about 40 km, are the lighthouse at Cape Enrage, and Fundy National Park. (Note that Fundy National Park is not the same as the Fundy Trail Parkway, and there is currently no road connection between the two.)

David