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The Circuit: Circumnavigating New Brunswick in a Canoe


The Circuit is the term employed to describe the 800 km canoe route that circumnavigates the interior of the province of New Brunswick. The route uses three of the Ancient Portage Trails restored by Canoe Kayak New Brunswick: the Little Nictau Lake – Bathurst Lake portage trail in Mount Carleton Park, the McKay Brook-Gordon Meadow Brook portage, and the Cains River – Gaspereau River portage.

Completion of the full "Circuit" will take approximately 4 - 6 weeks. However, there are many access points along the route, so it can easily be broken up into many smaller trips. The canoe route is described below in two sections, the section travelling westward from Mount Carlton Provincial Park, and the section travelling eastward from Mount Carlton Provincial Park. 

Travelling West from Mount Carlton Provincial Park:

Starting on Little Nictau Lake, paddle down the Little Tobique River to the Tobique River. From here, follow the Tobique River to its confluence with the Saint John River. The route continues down the Saint John, past Fredericton and Oromocto, to the Jemseg River. Upstream travel begins at the Jemseg River where paddlers must travel to its source, Grand Lake. After crossing Grand Lake upstream travel resumes via the Salmon and Gaspereau Rivers. An 8.5 km ancient portage trail connects the Gaspereau and Cains Rivers – or the Saint John and Miramichi River watersheds.  Downstream travel resumes on the Cains River, which merges with the Southwest Miramichi River near Blackville, N.B. Travel on the Southwest Miramichi ends at Beaubears Island or the confluence of the Southwest and Northwest Miramichi Rivers. 


Westward travel is not uninterrupted,  paddlers must portage around three NB Power managed dams – the Tobique Narrows, Beechwood, and Mactaquac Dams.

Travelling East from Mount Carlton Provincial Park:


Paddle across Bathurst Lake, through the Nepisiguit Lakes, and descend the Nepisiguit River to the mouth of Gordon Meadow Brook.  Upstream travel begins at Gordon Meadow Brook. Travel 23 km up Gordon Meadow Brook, to an Ancient Portage Trail -- see map above. Cross the 3 km portage trail to McKay Brook, and paddle down McKay Brook to Portage River. Continue down Portage River to the Northwest Miramichi River. Travel down the Northwest Miramichi River to Beaubears Island at the junction of the Northwest Miramichi and Southwest Miramichi Rivers.


Travelling in this direction requires portaging one NB Power managed dam at Nepisiguit Falls. From Mount Carleton Park to Beaubears Island is estimated to take approximately 8 - 10 days.

For More Information:

If you're considering conducting "The Circuit" either in full or in part for more information contact us! 


Click the Ancient Portage Sign below to download a more detailed route description

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