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Incredible Sunset on Nictau Lake, Mount Carleton Mount Carleton is the highest peak in the Maritime Provinces. Found in the provinces northern regions, it is located in an accessible wilderness, along good paved roads but with no bordering towns or villages. This accessible isolation is a large part of its appeal.

The park is located in the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains. Aside from the 820m Mount Carleton, the park has several other significant peaks including Mount Bailey, Bald Mount Brook, Mount Head and the well know Sagamook, all of which have trails around or over them. There are several lakes and two major rivers along with many brooks and streams within the parks 17,427hectares. 
The parks most popular lake is Nictau, which is at the core of the parks camping area and has a designated area for swimming. You'll also find hiking trails and camp sites along the lakes beautiful shoreline.

The park is famous for its hiking and backpacking. With the International Appalachian Trail cutting through the heart of area and with the highest peaks in the Maritimes, its easy to see why. There are lots of other outdoor opportunities as well, in the form of canoeing, mountain biking, camping, photography and nature observation.

Flora and Fauna
The park is located in a heavily wooded area. White Birch and Black Spruce predominate. You'll also find White Spruce, Balsam Fire, and White Pine. The parks peaks often have stunted White Birch, Ash and Cherry. There is small percentage of the park which is made up of marsh and meadow.

There are over 100 species of birds and perhaps as many as 30 mammals that have been observed in the park. In the avian category this includes Grouse, Goshawks, Grosbeaks and Woodpeckers. Mammals include Fisher, Martens, Porcupine, Moose, White Tails, Black Bear and the rarely sighted elusive Lynx.

Front Country Camping: The park has a campground accessible by car but there are no hook-ups available. The main campground area is the Armstrong Brook Campground with 88 sites. The sites are designated as tent or car campsites with a number of them set up as pull-throughs for RVs. The campground has flush toilets, a kitchen shelter and showers.  
View from Mount Carleton
A view from atop Mount Carlton
The other two areas are Williams Brook and Franquelin campgrounds. These sites are walk-ins but the walking distance is not significant. Each of these areas has 8 sites with shared vault toilets. The walk-in sites offer far more privacy and some have access to Nictau Lake.

Backcountry Camping: The Headwaters back country sites are situated a short distance from the top of Mount Carleton. The only option is to backpack up Carleton, so you best be in shape. There are four sites, in two areas a short distance apart. There is a water source (be sure to check with the park) but it must be treated. You must register before setting out. Reservations are accepted and strongly advised.

Group Camping: The group area accommodates 60-75 campers and has vault toilets. Reservations are required.

Cabins and Huts: The park has cabins which may be rented. Contact the park for details.

Big Brook Trail, Mount Carleton
Big Brook Hiking Trail

Bald Mt. Brook Trail is a demanding 5.5 km hike one way. This is a steep trail that heads down a ridge lined with large hardwood trees, it is particularly beautiful in the fall. This is a good trail for spotting deer because of the shrubby undergrowth in the forest. The trail should take about 3 hours to complete.

Mount Carleton Trail The Eastern Trail is a moderate hike of 4.4km one way. A wooded trail that takes you to the peak of Mount Carleton, which at 820 meters it is the highest point in the Maritime Provinces. From the top you have a spectacular view of a number of other peaks in the area and views into Maine and Quebec. The trail should take about 1.5 - 2 hours from the east, or 2 - 2.5 hours from the  west side (the fire road). For more details have a look at Out-There's article "Getting High in the Maritimes"

Big Brook Trail is a moderate/strenous but long 11km hike one way. The hike affords beautiful views of Bathurst Lake and the mountains around it. It follows the lake for 2 km until it ends up on a logging road in a heavily forested area. In combination with the Dry Brook it will take more than 7hrs to complete as a loop. The trail combination is more strenous if hiked counter clockwise.

Caribou Brook Trail is an easy 6kms one way. It is a connecting trail between Sagamook and Dry Brook Trail. It follows Caribou Brook, which meanders through the forest allowing for many picturesque rest stops on route. The trail should take about 4 hours return.

Dry Brook Trail is an intermediate hike of about 6km one way. This is a forested trail that heads to a gravely stream bed or "Dry Brook". About 4 km down the trail you come to numerous waterfalls, one of which is 10 meters tall. You'll see a lot of beaver activity on this part of the route. In combination with the Big Brook it will take more than 7hrs to complete as a loop. The trail combination is more strenours if hiked counter clockwise.

Mount Bailey Trail a moderate hike of 9km return. This trail travels through a forest of Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch and Beech Trees to the mountains peak where the trees suddenly change to stunted White Birch, Pine, Cherry and Mountain Ash. Your climb to the the peak (563 meters) rewards you with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and perhaps a glimpse of a moose or deer, in the beaver ponds below. The trail should take about 3 hours to complete.

Mount Head Trail Intermediate, 4.5km one way. This trail begins at the summit of Mt. Sagamook's or Mt. Carleton's peak. It is a spectacular peak-to-peak trail that winds through hardwood forests and leads to fantastic viewpoints. The trail should take about 3 hours one way.

Pine Point Trail Easy, 2km return. This trail is an easy walk around the point at Bathurst Lake through stands of Red Pine. You'll will have an opportunity to see loons and other water fowl, upland birds and animals.

Sagamook Trail Demanding, 8.1km return. This is a challenging trail with a good climb that rewards you at the summit with a spectacular view of Nictau Lake 777 metres below. You have a choice between the east route or the steeper west route for your ascent. To descend the trail you should use the east route.

William's Falls Trail Easy, 0.5km. This trail meanders through the forest until it reaches William's Brook just above the falls. There are some great viewpoints from here, from the bridge and from below the falls. The trail should take less than 1/2 hour to complete.
William's Falls Trail, Mount Carleton Park
William's Falls Trail
Park Flora, Mount Carleton Park
Park Flora 
  Backpacking: The Headwaters back country sites are situated a short hike from the top of Mount Carleton. You can backpack into the sites by climbing the trail up Carleton.There are four sites in total, in two areas a short distance apart. You are not allowed open fires so be sure to carry a backpacking stove. There is a food storage cache for storing your food near the sites and a water source (be sure to check with the park) but the water must be treated. You must register before setting out. Given the parks excellent trails and its connection to the IAT, it would seem there is a need for the development of several more wilderness campsites. Reservations are accepted and strongly advised. The hiking trail up Carleton connects to several of the parks other trails. You can take advantage of this to build a longer trip.

The International Appalachian Trail cuts through the park and allows a long distance backpacker to head northwest into Quebec or southwest into Maine and on to Georgia (if you really can't get enough) on the "American" Appalachian Trial. You can download guides for the New Brunswick section of the trail  and a Map for the Carleton Section. The trail links the highest peaks in Maine, New Brunswick and southern Quebec. Given the parks excellent trails and its connection to the IAT, it would seem there is a need for the development of several more wilderness camping areas.

Canoeing: If you're just looking to get out on the water, you can take a leisurely paddle on Nictua Lake or the Nepisiguit Lakes. There are two river routes which start in the park as well the Nepisiguit and Tobique River routes. Be advised these rivers wind through wilderness areas with very limited access. Contact the park for more information if you would like to paddle either route.  
Nictau Lake

Mountain Biking: The cross country ski trails are open to mountain biking in the summer. The trails consist of three interconnected loops of 1.0, 5.0 and 7.5kms. The trial system is easy to intermediate. Mountain bikers can take advantage of the parks unpaved roads as well, which take you into some of the more interesting areas of the park. If you love to climb you can also take the fire road part way up the slopes of Mount Carleton itself. There is a turn around point about 400m from the summit which must be respected, bring your locks and hiking boots and then hoof the last bit to take in the view.  Check with the park to ensure that mountain biking is still permitted.

Literature: The park has a free brochure, which provides general information, a map and trail descriptions. There is also a campground guide. Contact the park or pick them up at the park office when you arrive.

Maps: Topographical Map: 1:50,000 - 21 O/7 covers the whole park.


Books: There is a section on Mount Carleton in the excellent book "Explore Canada" by Marion Harrison and Peter Thompson. It covers the best of Canada's outdoors for adventurers, including several other parks and areas in New Brunswick and many more throughout the country.

Photography: If the skies clear after a heavy rain (the rain clears the air of dust particles) and the mist has settled, you can get spectacular shots from the park's peaks. There are a lot of wildlife photo opportunities if you're patient and quiet, the best time is early in the morning and just before sunset. Speaking of sunset, the late summer sun sets just across from the campground on Nictau Lake and the reflections of the multi-coloured sky are often phenomenal.

Star Gazing - The area is a long way from the light pollution of major centres which affords a wonderful opportunity for star gazers. Even with the naked eye (bring your telescope if you have one) the number and brightness of the stars on a clear night is astounding.

 Out-There Home

Tobique River - Information is available on the N
anook of the Nashwaak website. A map is available for a fee from Services New Brunswick

Nepisiguit River
- Information is available on the Nanook of the Nashwaak website. A map is available for a fee from Services New Brunswick


Nictau Lake
Little Nictau Lake
Bathurst Lake
Camp Lake
Nepisiguit Lake
Teneriffe Lake

Mount Carleton Interactive Map

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Mount Carleton
Sign Mount Carleton Park Getting Here

From Fredericton follow the 2 northwest to exit 115 and pick up the 109 to Plaster Rock then follow 108 west to route 385. From Campbellton take the 11 to the 17, at Saint-Quentin follow the  180, to the 385. From Edmonston follow the 2 south  to the 108. Follow the 108 to the 385. Route 385 slices through the northwestern tip of the park.
The park is about 2-3 hours from Bathurst, Cambellton or Edmundston.
Latitude : 47.4295, Longitude : -66.9473 


Friends of Mount Carleton Provincial Park


Getting High in the Maritimes

Towns - Nearby

New Brunswick Cities and Towns

Mount Carleton Park Remember this is a mountainous area and summer nights can be really chilly. Bring a little extra in the way of clothing. 

Driving: Road Conditions - New Brunswick

Accommodations - A fair distance from the park

Restaurants - A fair distance from the park

Events and Attractions - Regional

Season: May 15 to September 30

Weather: Mount Carleton Park Remember this is a mountainous area and summer nights can be really chilly. Bring a little extra in the way of clothing. 

Associations: International Appalachian Trail Organization - Sentier New Brunswick - Trans Canada Trail Association - New Brunswick Parks

Official Site: Mount Carleton Provincial Park - From New Brunswick Parks


Note: Our listings try to incorporate sites which are in the immediate vicinity but we also include more distant regional listings. Check each listing's web page for their location and consult a map of the region. If your still not sure make an e-mail or phone inquiry regarding distance, access and transportation.

The park is remote but easily accessed, the nearest town is over 30km away. Make sure you have the essentials, all camping gear, food, water and of course a full tank of gas

N.B. The park authorities and the Friends of Mount Carleton Park are the definitive source for all park information. Be sure to check their website or contact them by phone or e-mail before making any plans. 

Mount Carleton Provincial Park
7612 Route 385
New Brunswick


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