National Parks of New Brunswick offers great and accessible winter adventures to whoever is not afraid of a little snow. Cross-country ski (or snowshoe) to a rustic shelter in Kouchibouguak for a weekend away in the snow.

Winter backpacking at Kouchibouguak NP

Kouchibouguak National Park is a big piece of protected land on the East coast of New Brunswick. It's a beautiful summer destination for canoe adventures, family camping and chilling on the beach. In low season, the Park offers plenty of opportunities for snow lovers, and winter camping is one of them. On top of buying the National Park Pass, people can rent cross-country skis, snowshoes, fat bikes and sled at the ski hut near the administration center out of Frigault road.

When backpacking to South Kouchibouguak in Winter, there are a few spots to pitch a tent under the stars, but for 70$ a night, the Park rents out great rustic shelters near Kellys beach. There is no running water nor electricity, but the place is equipped with picnic tables, 6 sleeping platforms, 2 wood stoves, 1 dry toilet and plenty of wood to warm up the chilly nights. It's the perfect place to enjoy the trails while staying warm at night. People can make a reservation over the phone during the week, but because there are only 3 shelters available, they get rented pretty early in the season. 

While staying in South Kouchibouguak, many trails are accessible for day adventures. Follow the river to Kellys Beach, hang out in the (many) campground trails or follow a different trail back to the entrance of the Park. At the end of the day, get back to the shelter to warm up by the fire and wait for the moon to rise. 

How to get there

It's easy to reach the National Park: turn on road 117 from highway 11 in New Brunswick, and you are there. During Winter, most roads in Kouchibouguak will be close and the only way to reach the shelters will be to hike in.

To get to South Kouchibouguak, there are a couple trails options, depending on how far you are willing to hike. We choose to park on road 117 near the bridge crossing Kouchibouguak River, for a 6,2 km hike. Take left at the end of Trail 21 and keep going straight on the ski trail until you reached the campground. There are many maps in the Park making the path quite easy to follow. 

Some other ways to access the shelters would be to take the snowshoe trail from trail 21 or to start from the information center at the entrance of the Park for a 10 km hike cutting in the middle of the Park. Just ask any staff member for the best routes and the trails conditions. 

Side note: we were surprised to have a little cell phone reception in the Park, but nothing really reliable. Don't count on it. 

Pack List

  • Cross-country skis and/or snowshoes
  • Plenty of layers, winter clothes, and rain gear 
  • Waterproof matches and first aid kit
  • 4 lt. of water per person per night
  • Candles, flashlight or another source of light
Show More
RT Distance 10 Miles
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

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