Riding Through the Lower River Passage along the St. John River
About the Motorcycle Route
Motorcycle Touring and the River The Lower River Passage could have been designed for motorcy- clists: pleasantly winding secondary highways with little traffic, plenty of places to stop where the views of river, farmland and forest are soothing, and inviting villages and small towns to explore. Add a city at either end, free cable ferries to cross the river on, farmers markets to graze through — welcome to a good ride!
Fredericton has all the amenities of a capital city, and then some: a downtown cathedral copied from a 13th century English church, a Second Empire-style legislature, a beautiful riverside for strolling, a large park with centuries-old trees and one of the province’s best Saturday farmers markets. And, of course, restaurants, pubs and shops. For a side trip, take the old highway (Route 102) west along the St. John River to Kings Landing, a replica 19th century village. On your way back, cross the Mactaquac Dam, turn right onto Route 105 and return to Fredericton on the north side of the river.
Oromocto is New Brunswick’s military town, tracing its heritage back to 18th century fortifications and owing its modern form to CFB Gagetown — the largest military base in the Commonwealth. The town is also a good launching point for exploring the river. Sir Douglas Hazen Park offers canoes and kayaks for rent and features a Saturday farmers market.
The Village of Gagetown is a mecca for artists, birders and boaters. Start at RotaryPark Landing to learn some area history. Tour artists’ studios — Gagetown is noted for its distinctive pottery and weaving. Enjoy a meal and visit shops housed in heritage buildings on Front Street. Some of the province’s best birding is also found here, including species rarely seen elsewhere.
1. Christ Church Cathedral (1853), Corner of Church & Brunswick St.
2. Historic Garrison District, Corner of Regent & King St.
3. Kings Landing Historical Settlement, Exit #253 Trans-Canada Highway (or Rte. 102)
6. Artisans in Sitting @ the Oromocto Visitor Information Centre, Intersection of Waasis & Restigouche Rd.
7. Eco-Logical Adventures, Sir Douglas Hazen Park, Onondaga St.
8. CFB Gagetown Military Museum, Building A-5, CFB Gagetown
10. Gagetown Rotary Park Landing, north end of Front St.
11. Gagetown Marina, 50 Front St.
Fredericton to Oromocto (18 km)
Take Route 102 downriver. The Trans Canada Trail runs parallel to the road and is ideal for a leg stretch. Just past the city limits, a picnic site overlooks the river. This low-lying road passes leisurely through small communities that have grown together over the years, and it offers breathtaking river views. Lincoln Road/Route 102 South. Access to Trans-Canada Highway.
Oromocto to Gagetown (38 km)
This is a beautiful ride through gently rolling countryside. The river here is wide and island-studded, changing its appearance with the seasons, as the islands and intervales flood in the spring, only to emerge as bright green marshes and summer pasture for cattle, before fading to waves of yellow grass in fall. Pass Pine Grove, where mature eastern white pines line both sides of the road. Walk at Babbits Meadows and glimpse eagles and osprey hunting from the silver maples by the river. Route 102 South.
Gagetown to Grand Bay-Westfield (68 km)
This scenic winding road offers excellent stopping and picnic sites, including one overlooking historic Caton’s Island and one at the Nerepis River Marsh. This site and the George Slipp Legacy Marsh are exceptional for birding, especially waterfowl. Route 102 South.
4. Trans Canada Trail
(off Lincoln Rd.)
5. Wilmot Bluff Park
Thatch Rd. (off Rte. 102), Lincoln
9. Babbits Meadows
525 Route 102
12. Gagetown lighthouse
Jemseg Ferry Rd. (off Rte. 102 )
13. The George Slipp Legacy Marsh
Rte. 102, Hampstead
14. Kiwanis Picnic Site (Caton’s Island)
Rte. 102, Browns Flat
15. Nerepis River Marsh and Picnic Site
Rte. 102 (above intersection with Rte. 177)
Begin your visit of the charming town of Grand Bay-Westfield at the Brundage Point River Centre. It offers information on the heritage of this area, a guide to some of the best river views, and directions to walking trails, boat launches and a swimming beach. A summer cottage refuge for Saint Johners in the steamboat era, Grand Bay-Westfield has a rich Loyalist history, with such fascinating sites as Mount Hope Farm. Many of the houses in Westfield were reconstructedin the 1920s after a catastrophic forest fire. Access to Route 1: St. Stephen/Calais, Maine (west) and Sussex/Moncton (east).
16. Brundage Point River Centre, 4 Ferry Rd. (off Rte. 177)
17. Westfield United Church (1922), 133 Nerepis Rd./Rte. 177
18. Mount Hope Farm Provincial Historic Site, 690 Nerepis Rd./Rte. 177
Grand Bay-Westfield to Hampton
via the Kingston Peninsula (63 km)
Grand Bay-Westfield to Hampton via the Kingston Peninsula (63 km) Cross on the free Westfield cable ferry to the historic Kingston Peninsula. The route divides to take you either along the north or the south shore of the peninsula, both with gorgeous views of the water. These two roads wind through hills and valleys for an exhilarating ride. Pass wharves, lighthouses, a covered bridge and historic churches. Visit cemeteries where gravestones date back to the 18th century. Settled in 1783, the Kingston Peninsula is one of the earliest areas of Loyalist settlement in New Brunswick. Finally, stop in Kingston for a meal, some
shopping and the museum. This lovely village features two Saturday farmers markets and Trinity Church, a National Historic Site. Westfield Ferry to Route 845. Either west on Route 845 (32 km) or east (42 km) to Kingston. From Kingston, Route 845 East, then Route 121 West, to Hampton (21 km).
Via Saint John (60 km)
This alternative loop takes you into Saint John, where you can visit Reversing Falls and stop at the Saint John City Market — the oldest operating city market in Canada. Saint John offers arts, culture, dining and entertainment. The New Brunswick Museum is here, and the city’s Victorian architecture is unmatched in New Brunswick. Route 177 South and Westfield Road to Saint John (22 km). From Saint John, Route 100 East to Hampton (38 km).
19. Hardings Point (Historic Home), Westfield Ferry crossingRoute 845 West:
20. Whites Bluff Wharf, Whites Bluff Wharf Rd., Long Reach
21. St. James Church (1843), 3365 Rte. 845, Long Reach
22. The Pottery Shop, 1 Shampers Bluff Rd., Shampers Bluff Route 845 East:
23. Bayswater lighthouse, Bayswater 24. Milkish Inlet Covered Bridge, Bayswater Kingston:
25. Carter House Tea Room, 874 Rte. 845
26. Trinity Church (1789), 3949 Rte. 845
Whichever route you choose, Hampton is worth the visit. The Lighthouse Park River Centre offers canoe and kayak rentals, as well as boat tours. The nearby Hampton Marsh is one of the most fertile and productive wetlands in the province, with spectacular birding on well-worn park trails. This vibrant community also features heritage sites, artists’ studios and shops.
27. Kredl’s Corner Market, 34 Pickwauket Rd.
28. Lighthouse Park River Centre, 1075 Main St.
29. Spooner Island Rotary Nature Park, Rte. 121
30. St. Paul’s (1871), 486 Kennebecasis River Rd.
31. The Barn in Bloomfield, 569 Rte. 121, Bloomfield
Hampton to Fredericton via Cambridge-Narrows (166 km)
There are several scenic routes heading back to Fredericton, featuring low-traffic secondary highways. The communities along the way have public wharves or riverside parks. Jemseg boasts a Saturday farmers market and worldclass birding. Route 121 East (10 km) to Route 855 North (9 km). Then Route 124 West (21 km) to Route 705 West. Right onto Route 705 (32 km) to Route 710 North and then left on 710 (14 km). From Cambridge-Narrows, Route 695 North to Route 715 West (31 km). From Jemseg, Route 105 North (49 km) to Fredericton.
32. Wickham Wharf, Wickham Wharf Rd., (off Rte. 705)
33. 9J Antiques, 1409 Bridge Rd./Rte. 695 Cambridge-Narrows
34. Cambridge-Narrows Conservation Park, 1307 Bridge Rd./Rte. 695, Cambridge-Narrows
35. Anthony Flowers House, 2270 Lower Cambridge Rd./Rte. 715 Cambridge-Narrows
36. Saint James Stone Church (1887), 647 Rte. 715, Lower Jemseg
Via Jemseg (105 km)
Route 121 East (10 km) to Route 855 North (9 km), across the Kingston Peninsula to Route 124 West (3 km). Then Route 695 North to Jemseg (34 km). Route 105 North (49 km) along the river to Fredericton.
Add a Ferry Hop ( 131 km)
Why not add a free ferry to your ride? It’s possible to bypass Cambridge-Narrows and Jemseg, returning to Route 102 by the Evandale cable ferry. Follow Route 124 West to its end at the Evandale Ferry landing
Add Grand Lake (35 Km)
This route skirts east along the southern shore of Grand Lake, the largest inland body of water in the Maritimes. Churches and cemeteries provide a glimpse into the past. Stop by vegetable stands for local produce and treats, and picnic along the way. Spectacular vistas, boating, swimming and beaches add up to a grand day on Grand Lake. Route 105 South to Route 10 East. Access to the Trans-Canada Highway.
37. Fanjoys Point Cemetery, Rte. 105, Fanjoys Point
38. Waterborough Wharf, Rte. 105, Waterborough
39. Waterborough Baptist Church (1888) 12 Union Settlement Rd., Waterborough
40. Youngs Cove Wharf, Rte. 105, Youngs Cove
41. Covered Bridge Visitor Information Centre Intersection of Rte. 10 and Trans-Canada Highway