Published Nov 01
In the Chaleur Region, you'll find a cool 280 km of ATV trails during the winter. That number quickly blows up to over 400 km once the trails are all cleaned up in the spring.
We're talking over 400 km of the most scenic parts of one of the most picture-perfect provinces in the country.
Here, you'll get to experience the real raw nature of the Chaleur Region.
Hit the trails alongside the majestic protected natural area that is the Jacket River Gorge and discover the splendid scenery at Paul's Lookout.
However, the ride is "only" one part of a fantastic experience that our region has to offer.
On the menu after a day's ride: delicious culinary experiences, a booming nightlife, microbreweries and a warm, friendly welcome at our many hotels and cottages. For you, the ATV fanatic, it's an endless pool of possibilities that will upgrade your experience from a simple trail outing to a full-out adventure.
"Roads?! Where we're going, we don't need roads!"
(But you will need a few things to ride these excellent ATV trails legally!)
Here's a breakdown of what you'll have to secure before heading out:
Once everything is in order, you're ready for a worry-free adventure!
To take on the complete off-road experience, we recommend extending your stay to a few days in the Chaleur Region.
An extended stay means you'll need to find your home away from home. A sanctuary where worries aren't allowed, and where you know you will be treated right.
We've gone through the process and picked out three top-notch ATV accommodations for you to consider while you're in the Chaleur Region.
1. Atlantic Host
The Atlantic Host is an independently owned 4-star Canada Select-rated property that offers modern comforts, full-service amenities and a friendly bilingual staff. They're famous for their hospitality during the snowmobile season, and this stays true for the many ATV riders passing through.
This year-round experience with the local trail scene shows in the many ATV-centric services they offer. Here, you'll find loading ramps, heated repair bays, pressure wash and even fuel on-site.
In the morning, you will want to get your own "fuel" by feasting on their excellent breakfast. The Host is a favourite of both locals and tourists, famous for having some of the best (and most affordable) breakfasts around.
After a full day of adventures on the trails, grab a quick appetizer in the lounge, dive into a 3-course meal paired with a bottle of wine, relax in the pool, order up room service, or retreat into a cozy corner for a nightcap.
It's easy to understand why their slogan is "Always the perfect Host!".
Don't just take our word for it!
Amy N, fellow trail fanatic, had this to say about the Atlantic Host in her TripAdvisor review:
"Love staying here to get on the Trails. Very friendly and courteous staff. Great food. Clean and very accommodating. The rooms are cozy and affordable. Great access to the trails in the Winter. The hot tub and pool are very spacious and never over packed. The bar serves a great app menu and the specials of the day are well worth the money and well prepared and presented you eat every bite."
2. Danny's Inn
In Beresford, Danny's Hotel Suites & Events Centre is a prime destination for ATV enthusiasts.
This spacious hotel, located directly across from trail #19, combines a relaxing 5-acre property with top-tier personalized service. From their heated outdoor pool and fitness center to the events center and restaurant, everything has been designed to provide everything a modern adventurer could seek.
Guests can even enjoy complimentary shuttle service to and from nearby businesses and attractions, something that comes in handy when you just arrived on your ATV.
Speaking of which: they offer a special ATV package deal to make your trip even more worry-free. You'll enjoy a newly renovated garage with a loading ramp, free laundry, and all three meals included!
Savour hearty comfort food dishes like their chicken brochette, lobster rolls and their signature Danny Burger in the Restaurant and Lounge. Take it easy in the garden area, or kick back on the poolside patio.
Here's what Steve Ramsay left on TripAdvisor regarding his stay at Danny's Inn:
"Back from another amazing stay at Danny' s[...]have been making several trips to Bathurst per year to enjoy snowmobile trails, and they never disappoint. Food was great, and accommodations were as well...but the stand out has always been the people!"
3. L'Auberge de la Vallée
If you want to balance your high-adrenaline day on the trails with a peaceful & relaxing escape, you'll want to book some time at the Auberge de la Vallée.
While they offer four different types of rooms, each equipped with high-end amenities, they also have an offering unique to the city of Bathurst: lodges and cottages.
They're also well-known for being a prime destination for ATVers, Snowmobilers and Motorcyclers, which means you'll feel right at home during your stay.
Do you want to feel like you are at a retreat in the woods, but still would like to be close to restaurants and nightlife?
Look no further.
While the entire hotel is equipped with amazing features (did someone say heated floors and trailer parking?), the lodge and cottage suites give you the full experience. We're talking kitchen, dining room, private lounge, fireplace, deer: you name it!
Wait. Deer? In the city?
That's the beauty of having a spa like this one located at the heart of a 12-acre park!
Guest nb_cpl had this to say on TripAdvisor about his stay at the Auberge de la Vallée:
"A unique break away from the usual accommodations, yet central.
A natural chalet-style oasis, that's surprising in the city. It proved to be an amazing though short winter weekend getaway. The location is close to everything that Bathurst has to offer, yet serenely nestled in a wooded setting that you'd only expect to find in a remote location (deer were seen in the back yard during our visit).
We stayed in chalet #1, this suite had two double beds in a single open-concept area bordered by a kitchen area, a living area (w/ large LCD Tv) & separate small dining nook area [...] It worked very well for us & two children. "
You're all settled in, trail pass in hand and a place to rest your head after the ride.
Now, it's time to get down to business.
To help you get started, we reached out to Jacques Ouellette, Development Coordinator for the NB ATV Federation. A true trail fanatic, he knows the trails like the back of his hand.
Here are 3 ATV loop suggestions he shared with us:
Loop # 1: Salmon Barrier Showdown
(1 day, including return trip)
After a good night of sleep and a hearty breakfast, it's time to leave the den and attack the trails. The best direct departure spots for this loop are Danny's and Atlantic Host.
Head towards Madran cutting through the Chaleur Region beautiful LSD's (Dunlop – Robertville – Sormany - Nicholas Denys).
That majestic ride finally lands you at the Salmon Barrier in Jacquet River. It's a great spot to stretch your legs, check out the scenery and, if you packed a lunch, enjoy a little picnic.
Now the choice is yours, head back the way you came or tear up a NEW trail, you can head through the "Chemin Colonie", or check out the "Chemin Mitchell" for a fantastic view of Antinouri Lake.
Loop #2: Paul's Lookout
(1 day, including return trip)
Every great day on the trails starts with a great breakfast at your favourite local spot. Be sure to get up early – you might want to spend some extra R&R at this picturesque spot.
After leaving from Danny's or Atlantic Host, you'll want to head towards Nicholas Denys; this is where you'll catch the new trail. Swing by the Arleau Brook, hang a right to "Chemin Sormany", and get on "Chemin Daniel".
This trek finishes at Paul's Lookout overlooking the Jacquet River Gorge. Pack your binoculars, camera, or soak it all in. It's simply majestic.
Loop #3: Island Lake Escape
(1 day, including return trip)
Note: This loop has some similarities with loop #2, but don't be fooled: it's an entirely different experience.
Leaving your quarters – head to Nicholas Denys – swing by Arleau Brook – but this time, instead of hanging a right to "Chemin Sormany", you take a left.
You'll then arrive at a local hot spot: Island Lake.
Many riders take on this loop to catch the sights of the local windmills and, of course, enjoy the trails and the lake itself. If you haven't had the chance to ride by windmills yet, you have to put it on your ATV bucket list.
Favourite "hidden" ATV Spot
Jacques' absolute favourite "hidden secret" -- one he's more than happy to share with visitors to the region -- is the impressive ruins of Sir James Dunn's "castle" in St. Sauveur.
Born in 1874 in the village of St. Peter's (an area that's now known as Bathurst), Sir James Dunn was a famous (and wealthy) industrialist and financier at the time. He would often travel to a luxurious retreat built around the Saint Sauveur area, a short distance from the Chaleur Region.
To Mr. Dunn, it was a simple retreat near his birthplace, where he could entertain guests and enjoy the peaceful northern New Brunswick lifestyle.
To the locals, it was a castle.
When James Dunn moved on, the retreat was taken over by locals to host lively Saturday night gatherings. A far cry from the high society parties of yore, but an excellent use for the space nonetheless.
Over time, and through lack of maintenance, the "castle" was eventually abandoned and stripped of its former glory.
The ruin of "Sir James Dunn's Castle" is now an impressive sight to behold, and a perfect spot to add to your Chaleur ATVing bucket list.
On the subject of ATVing in the Chaleur Region
Jacques speaks very fondly of the ATV trail system in northern New Brunswick, and especially in the Chaleur Region. The unique geography and the impressive quality of the trails are something that he is quick to mention to tourists and locals alike.
When we asked him why he thought the region's ATV experience was so unique, he presented it to us this way:
"De la mer, jusqu'au coeur de la forêt...en 5 minutes!"
(From the sea to the middle of the forest, in only 5 minutes.)
He was also quick to point out that, thanks to a fantastic team of hard-working volunteers, a growing membership, and the support of the federation, ATV enthusiasts reap the benefits and enjoy some of the best-groomed trails in Eastern Canada.
(Join the Federation on Facebook for more information, questions, or if you'd like to map a day trip to any of Jacques' suggested destinations!)
We also reached out to the president of the Chaleur ATV Club, Mr. Frederic Mallet-Boudreau, to get the low-down on what riding an ATV in the Chaleur Region was all about.
The "Club VTT / Chaleur ATV Club" covers the entire territory, from St-Sauveur/Paquetville to Jacquet River, and manages and maintains the 400km+ of available trails.
As the largest ATV club in the Atlantic Provinces, they also team up with municipalities (more on this later) and outfitters in the Chaleur region to complement the experience for locals and tourists alike.
We had a quick chat with Fred to pick his brain on the matter.
C: "Hi, Fred! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Can you start with an excellent tip for someone preparing to go on the Chaleur Region's ATV trails?"
F: "Get ready to experience some fantastic trails and breathtaking scenery! You'll probably also want to bring a map with you, or even recruit a guide if it's your first time in the region."
C: "What are your go-to places for a bite to eat when you're out on your ATV?"
F: "We have so many options in our region! Some of my favourites are the Trail Blazer Lodge in Jacquet River, the Atlantic Host Hotel and the Papa Joe & Evy's in downtown Bathurst. They're all easily accessible by ATV!"
C: "How would you describe the Chaleur Region ATV experience?"
F: "The back-country of our region provides us with hours and hours of trails and spots where you can relax and enjoy a night out or two. Seeing the impressive landscape while spending time out on the trails never ceases to amaze me."
C: "Do you have a favourite trail or landmark? Something a newcomer shouldn't miss out on?"
F: "I have two that come to mind. The trail that leads to Paul's Lookout in Jacquet River, and the Bathurst trail with the ride leading along the coast of Grand-Anse towards Caraquet."
Be sure to touch base with the Chaleur ATV Club on Facebook if you're headed to the region. You'll be able to meet-up with locals and newcomers alike, make a few new friends and hit the trails in style.
Who knows, you might even see Fred on the trails riding his Can-Am 650!
Here's how you know you're in the company of fellow trail enthusiasts: when a city has a designated trail access to the downtown area.
Since June 1st, 2019, ATV's are allowed in designated areas of Bathurst. Perfect for easy access to hotels, gas or coffee, it also feeds directly into the heart of the downtown core.
If you have a sweet tooth, there's even an artisan candy store that offers quality that's unmatched in the region!
Whether you're here for a few hours or a few weeks, know that you'll feel right at home in the Chaleur Region.
The fresh air, the hospitality, the pristine nature.
Take your time to enjoy it all.
The Chaleur Region is your playground.