The Dobson Trail

By Matt Tibbits on September 13, 2010


The Dobson Trail is a 58 km trail through the Albert County wilderness of NB, that stretches between Fundy National Park and Riverview, NB. The trail ends at the eastern side of Fundy Park, essentially still in the woods, so you can tack on another 17 km for a total of 75 km of trail that will take you all the way to Headquarters Campground in Fundy National Park.

The Dobson Trail itself is blazed in blue, with any side trails blazed in green. There are also kilometer markings at various points along the way.

If you plan on hiking this trail, I would recommend the booklet entitled “On Foot To Fundy-Hiker’s Guide Book”. This handbook is essential for anybody looking to hike the Dobson Trail, and comes with an accompanying topo map. Each section of the trail is carefully explained along with directions to the various side trails, access points, campsites, and water locations. This is available by mail order and on site from 2 locations:

More information on the Dobson Trail can be found on The Fundy Footpath website.

My Recommendations

This is a backcountry, wilderness trail of which some sections are far removed from civilization. You should definitely plan your trip accordingly. Have an idea of how far you can/want to hike in a day, which will help you plan your overnight stops. Take enough food and proper gear.

There are some ascents on the trail, but nothing major. Depending on local rainfall there are some areas that are VERY wet and boggy, so prepare to have a few “soakers”.

The following is my account and some photos from thru-hiking the Dobson Trail in September of 2010.

Day 1 – Fundy Park to Kent Road Campsite

I had initially planned to hike the Dobson Trail along with the Fundy Footpath in July of 2010. After cutting that hike short upon arrival in Fundy Park, I knew I had to come back at some point and finish what I had started. So I had my parents drop me and my doggy, Abbey, at Headquarters Campground in Fundy National Park on Labour Day Monday. After a quiet evening in what was essentially a deserted campground, I awoke to a very dreary, overcast sky on Tuesday morning.

I packed up and hit the Upper Salmon River trail leading north through Fundy Park. This is a well maintained trail to hike with lots of rocks to scramble over, and several river crossings to “boot”. At the second crossing, take The Forks trail, which ascends for about 3.4 km, and then the Laverty Falls trail, which descends for about 2.5 km. This leads directly to the Dobson Link trail, connecting Fundy Park to the Dobson Trail.

By 12pm we had hiked 12 km through the park and had some lunch at the beginning of the Dobson Link. From here it was about another 40 minutes to the beginning of the Dobson Trail on the Shepody Road. We started hiking on the Dobson Trail around 1:30pm. By 2:15pm I was at Barrett Brook (km 55) where I had initially planned on spending the first night. There is a nice, shaded campsite here beside the bubbling Barrett Brook. A very relaxing spot. However, since it was still early in the day, I decided to keep on hiking and possibly camp at Blackwood Lake instead.

I spent the rest of the day pretty much in “the zone”. That place where everything gets blocked out except putting one foot in front of the other. I arrived at Blackwood Lake and was unable to find the spring that is described in the guide book. I was getting low on water, and hesitant to use the water out of the leech infested lake. We had hiked about 27km at this point, but it was still early in the day, so once again I decided to keep going.

We finally stopped around kilometer 41 where the trail turns off of the Kent Road. If you continue on the Kent Road about 60 meters there is a trail on the left that leads to a campsite located in a grove of spruce trees that was left between two large clear-cuts. This brought the total mileage to about 35 kms for the day. Me and Abbey both were happy to be finished walking for the day.

This campsite is a nice quiet spot with a large fire pit, and a spring fed water source. (The spring is another 50m or so past the fire pit.) At least it seemed like a quite spot. I setup my tent and was in the process of starting to get a fire going before dark when I heard Abbey let out a low-growl. I stood up to see a very large moose standing about 20 feet behind the tent. I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised. He let out a snort and took off across the clear-cut.

As darkness set in, all I could hear were moose snorting and crashing through the brush of the clear-cuts on either side of us. I think the moose were probably more frequent users of the little trail in the spruce grove than us hikers, and it dawned on my that I had setup my tent was right on a game trail. Too tired to care much about it, I fell asleep with visions of a moose crashing through my tent in the middle of the night.

Day 2 – Kent Road Campsite to Riverview, NB

Wednesday dawned to find me and my tent intact, and a strong hint of rain in the air. Having hiked much further than planned the day before, I was now debating whether or not to try for the end of the trail in Riverview before dark. It was 8:30am when we broke camp and I had about 12 hours before dark. I decided to hike the next 6-8 hours pretty hard and see where that took us.

I’m not sure what exactly went wrong, but I found myself in a very sour mood before taking even 3 steps on the trail. One foot was blistered pretty good from a soaker the day before, it was cloudy and dreary, and I just felt really low. I decided then and there that I was finishing the trail today. That would put me in a Moncton overnight, with a huge Zio’s pizza as my reward.

Usually a good hike will always make me feel better, but on this day, for some reason, the further I walked the worse I felt. A few muttered complaints soon turned into outright cursing. I cursed the trail, the long road walks that make up certain parts of the trail, the bugs, my feet, my pack, and anything else I could think of. By lunchtime, as if in response to my bitching, the skies opened up and it started raining.

The rest of this day is mostly a blur. By around 6pm I had reached the 14km mark near the Baltimore campsite on the tracks. I had 14km to go and about 2 hours of daylight left. I grabbed a quick snack, put my head down and started walking. By now I had hiked about 27km and no longer had any energy left for moping. I just wanted to get off of this “godforsaken trail”.

The further I walked, the longer it seemed to take between each kilometer marker. Then around 6:30pm dark clouds started rolling in and suddenly I was in the midst of a downpour, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in a long time. I didn’t even bother stopping to put my rain coat on because I was completely drenched in a matter of seconds. Nothing to do but keep walking. The dog and I slipped, and slid, and fell, and finally made our way to the end of the trail, hiking a total of 41km in about 12 hours.

The hike did end on a bit of a good note: the plan was to call my brother, who lives in Moncton, to pick us up at the end of the trail. As I neared the end of the trail I took out my cell phone to call him, and was then going to hunker down under a tree until he arrived. Before I could make the call, a dog came thundering around a turn in the trail and tried getting Abbey to play with him. As tired as she was she wanted nothing to do with those shenanigans. We kept walking with this dog following us along the trail. We soon came across the dog’s owner, a very nice German fellow, who was just out walking his dog. He asked where we were coming from and some details about our hike. As he could see that we were clearly soaked and very tired, he then kindly offered us a ride to my brother’s place in Dieppe. After a long, trying day there’s nothing like a little trail magic to make you feel a whole hell of a lot better.


I have to admit that the Dobson Trail was not quite what I was expecting, and that I really did not enjoy this hike at all. That however, is no fault of the trail, and as I mentioned above, mainly due to my state of mind while hiking the Dobson. There are some long, tedious sections of the trail that follow gravel roads with nothing to look at but trees. There are also some beautiful sections through deep forest, along brooks and rivers, and over ridges and mountains.

I hope my description does not discourage anyone from hiking the trail, as I do actually recommend it to anyone looking for a good long-distance trail in NB. I am personally looking forward to hiking the Dobson Trail again sometime in the near future, and hopefully enjoying it much more than I did the first time.