Visiting Hopewell Rocks at Sunrise in New Brunswick, Canada

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The alarm went off at 5:45am. It was our last day in New Brunswick and the rental car needed to be returned by 9:00am, but not before one last drive to the place I’d been dying to see all along: the Hopewell Rocks.

Hopewell Rocks at sunrise

We arrived at the provincial park just before 7:00am and parked the car by the side of the road. The place was closed and I knew it would be. There were no signs suggesting I couldn’t be there, but I still felt like a teenager tip-toeing in after curfew as I walked around the first barrier and then hopped over another chain to get into the park . I was relieved to see a photographer had also snuck in and was busy photographing the tide go out. I’m not one to break the rules, but this was my last chance to see the rocks and I wasn’t going to let the ‘hours of operation’ ruin it for me. I had come a long way! All the way from Ontario, to be precise. Besides, nature should be free for anyone to observe no matter what time of day, right?

As we walked through the forest and slowly made our way down to the seabed, we were greeted by this haze of gold streaming through the trees. Our timing was perfect.

Sunrise at Hopewell Rocks Park

The tide had just gone out exposing the ‘flowerpot’ rocks and granting us the freedom to roam the rocky seabed. Mounds of seaweed lay on the ground like seals basking under the sun. The landscape was out of this world. I felt as though I had washed ashore on the banks of some post-apocalyptic world with only a handful of survivors, each of them wandering in a daze.

Low tide at the Hopewell Rocks

When I got up that morning I had contemplated heading back to bed in my slumber; I’m so glad I drove out to the Bay of Fundy instead. The Hopewell Rocks were the highlight of my time in the Maritimes. And seeing the rocks at sunrise before the masses of tourist cared to venture in was priceless.

Tip: If you choose to visit the park outside its hours of operation, be sure to check the tide schedule! And should you loose track of time and find yourself trapped when the tide is rolling in – don’t despair, you will not be washed out to sea! Just find  a rock above the moss line, sit tight for a few hours and enjoy the view. That’s what the signs say, anyway…

Have you visited the Hopewell Rocks?

What’s your favourite place in Maritime Canada?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Lloyd Parlee

    Ahh.. makes me miss home, something about the texture of the light in the early morning, and the coniferous trees, never thought I’d miss a spruce tree.

  2. says: Terri McCulloch

    hi everyone, Terri here from Bay of Fundy Tourism. The tide times actually change every day…moving ahead by 52 minutes. It just happens that low tide during the day of Audrey’s visit was early in the morning. It sounds like she was looking for the early morning sunrise light there anyway and planned her visit accordingly.

    Our tides takes 6 hr 13 min to go from low to high then same amount of time to go from high to low so there is several hours in each daily tide cycle when the tide is low enough at Hopewell Rocks to open on the ocean floor. If you’d like to check tide times prior to visiting you can take a look on Hopewell’s website

    Tide times for other Bay of Fundy communities can be searched by date on our website:

    Hope this helps!

  3. says: Shivya

    Lovely pictures. I’m glad you snuck in to show us those rocks. Amazing how shapes & sizes fascinate us so much, especially when they stand by the waters 🙂

  4. says: Suzy

    What cool rock formations! I can see why you would want to explore the park in the early morning. Just to have that solitude with a such a landscape would be worth getting up early!

  5. says: Brian

    What great advice! We always try to get places early to beat the hordes, but usually that means 7 or 8 A.M. This morning, though, we wanted to get the best light possible for photographing the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which meant getting to the park while it was still dark. Up at 5:15 A.M. but it was well worth it. Nothing the sky light up in a beautful place that you have all to yourself.

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