Hike Your Own Hike: Grand Manan’s Hole In The Wall

You’ve likely seen photos of the popular rock formation, but how do you get there?

You’ll just need a ferry to take you from mainland New Brunswick to Grand Manan Island.

While it may take a while to get to the island with the necessary ferry trip (read more about the logistics here), the Hole In The Wall trail is otherwise a pretty short and simple hike.

Still, the views you see from the trail’s rocky cliffs are not to be missed if you are up for a day trip or a longer stay at New Brunswick’s own getaway island, Grand Manan.

The trail itself is named after a large rock arch formed through erosion thousands of years ago. It is a popular attraction for visitors, hikers and photographers.

This hiking trail is located just under a kilometre from the ferry harbour, at North Head Camp Ground and Park, formerly called Hole In The Wall Campground, which is privately owned. The same family has maintained these grounds for 200 years.

It costs just $4 for a day pass to the grounds, and visitors can come and go throughout the day. The park also offers a few camp sites near the entrance and parking lot, but no longer offer camp sites along the cliffs.

On the grounds, there is a continuous marked hiking trail from Swallowtail to the Whistle lighthouse on Northern Head. The Hole In The Wall option is quite short and mostly down-hill. Considered moderate, the trail is flanked by forest on one side and rocky cliff, as well as the Bay of Fundy, on the other. It should take about half an hour to complete without accounting for time spent pausing to take pictures or admire the views.

The hike is also family-friendly since there is a scavenger hunt available to children. Just ask for this option at the front desk. Little animal and gnome statues are scattered throughout the trail, tucked in and around trees, trunks and logs. There is even a heart garland and other cute decorations near the entrance.

For the adults, keep an eye out for the beauty of nature. There are spots to look out at the bay, see fishing weirs, and even spot the occasional passing ferry. Some say you can spot whales or seals at the right time. However, we weren’t so lucky!

Of course you can try other trails during your stay on Grand Manan Island or even go out onto Grotto Cove, but these are considered more difficult. Grotto Cove, for instance, has slippery rocks which makes it riskier and less family-friendly, even though there is a rope railing. Other trails are significantly longer to complete, so if you have just one day on the island, it simply won’t work.

The Hole In The Wall hike is a good blend of simple and short, with the added bonus of having spectacular nature views. A great perk of this one is that you don’t need to invest much time and energy into completing it. Sometimes the most picturesque places aren’t always so far off the beaten path.