Exploring Stonehammer Geopark In New Brunswick [3 Tips]

Stonehammer is close to Saint John, New Brunswick. It is the first UNESCO Geopark in Canada. If you think geology is boring, this website and the many things you can do on it will change your mind.

When I was growing up in Saint John, New Brunswick, I didn’t think much about the countryside.

I didn’t pay any attention to our rough coastline, dense forests, or rich river basins. I didn’t even look at the ground under my feet.

It wasn’t just me. Most people in Saint John know about our reversing rapids, which happen when the Bay of Fundy’s high tides push the fast-moving St. John River back upstream.

But before UNESCO came to town, not many people thought about the geology around those rapids.

Most people know UNESCO for its list of World Heritage Sites, but the group also raises awareness of many ecosystems and landscapes and works to protect culture and human history.

The UNESCO Global Geopark System is all about the ground we stand on and the long history that our geology shows.

Like most people in the area, I didn’t know that our geology was special or that it was worth being Canada’s first UNESCO Global Geopark.

But learning about the Stonehammer site and all of the things that happened there opened my eyes to the mysteries and wonders that were around long before Canada was even a dot on the geological map.

HOW TO EXPLORE STONEHAMMER GEOPARK

Stonehammer is hard to explain, and it is even harder to explain why it is so important. On a trip to Stonehammer, the first place you should go is the New Brunswick Museum in Uptown Saint John.

The museum is now the information centre for the Geopark (although a dedicated site is in the works).

Exploring Stonehammer Geopark In New Brunswick

Stonehammer is 2,500 square kilometres in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy area. It goes from the hamlet of Saint Martin’s in the east to the towns of Norton and Hampton in the northeast, the Kingston Peninsula in the northwest, and Lepreau Falls in the southwest.

With the exception of the Jurassic, this area has more than 60 geologically important sites from the Proterozoic to the Quaternary (which scientists anticipate will be discovered here as well).

The New Brunswick Museum has interactive displays that break down these different geological eras and explain how they relate to Saint John’s geography.

There are also hands-on activities for kids and some amazing fossil finds on display (and for kids at heart).

Now that you know a little bit about Stonehammer Geopark, it’s time to go out and see it for yourself.

The best thing about Stonehammer is that it has something for everyone, whether you like fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping activities, quiet moments in nature, heart-pumping treks, or relaxing cruises. You can even go to a spa or eat food with a Stonehammer theme.

Exploring Stonehammer Geopark In New Brunswick

STONEHAMMER FOR ACTIVE TRAVELLERS

Stonehammer will surprise you if you think that all there is to do at a geopark is stand around and look at rocks. There are a lot of things to do for people who love adrenaline and want to work out while travelling.

  • The zip line at Saint John Adventures consists of five lines that take you out over the Reversing Rapids.You will be dangling over the rapids. Challenge a friend to a race on the dual line when the tour is over.
  • At the Skywalk at the Reversing Falls Restaurant, which is just over the lake, you can test your fear of heights. This open-air walkway with a glass floor sticks out over the rapids and gives you a great view (if you can keep your eyes open!). Look up at the cliffs to see the Caledonia Faultline while you’re there. The rocks on one side of the crack came from South America, and the rocks on the other side came from Africa.
  • If you like kayaking, you can dip your paddles in several places in Stonehammer. At Martin’s, you can paddle through the sea caves that our high tides have made. River Relics Kayak Adventure is another option from GoFundy Events. From Dominion Park, this trip takes you up the St. John River to see some amazing fossils that can only be seen from the water. This was one of my favourite Stonehammer episodes.

Exploring Stonehammer Geopark In New Brunswick

STONEHAMMER FOR NATURE-LOVERS

When someone suggests taking a walk in a park, people in Saint John and the surrounding areas have a lot of options.

  1. The 890-hectare Rockwood Park in the middle of Saint John is a great place to start exploring the natural beauty of the city. You can walk along any of the 55 paths on your own, or you can join a guided tour at the Inside Out Nature Center in the Lily Lake Pavilion. Inside Out also has an indoor climbing wall, but if you want to do something Stonehammer-related, you can go rappelling next to the Caledonia Faultline, which runs through Rockwood.
  2. My favourite place to go in the Saint John area is the Irving Nature Park on Taylors Island. Explore the kilometer-long hiking trails in the park or go beachcombing on Saints’ Rest Beach. On the island’s circuit, you can see some of the native birds and animals and see beautiful views of the coast.
  3. The Fundy Trail Parkway is another of my favourite places in southern New Brunswick. Like Stonehammer, it can be explored in many different ways. The Parkway is easy to get to by car, bike, or foot. We even got there in our RV. There are great places to canoe and kayak, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the area are in the park.

STONEHAMMER FOR FAMILIES

Stonehammer Geopark is proud that it is open to people of all ages and physical abilities, and there are many things that the whole family can do together.

  • Visit Zelda’s River Adventures in Hampton to sail along one of the beautiful rivers in the area. On an eco-friendly pontoon boat, you’ll set sail and learn about the river’s rocks and animals.
  • Osprey Adventures offers trips in an original voyager canoe, which is a slightly more difficult way to go boating. You’ll walk along a traditional First Nation trail and learn about the plants, animals, and rocks in the area.
  • Once you’re back on dry land, you can go to Lepreau Falls, a rushing waterfall near the St. Stephen Highway. It’s a great place for a picnic on a sunny day.

Even if you only do a few of the different things you can do in Stonehammer, you’ll work up an appetite. At Lily’s, the restaurant inside the Lily Lake Pavillion at Rockwood Park, you can order from the Stonehammer Menu.

The restaurant is a well-known nonprofit, and the money it makes goes back into the community. In the summer, the lakeside terrace is one of the most popular places in the city.

Exploring Stonehammer Geopark In New Brunswick

Try the Stonehammer hot rock massage at Pangea Wellness Spa, which is right next door to Lily’s. It will feel good on your tired muscles.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things you can do at Stonehammer Geopark. With new things to do every year, there’s no better time to plan a trip, since you’ll definitely want to come back.

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