Frequently Asked Questions
Our interpretive and visitor information staff answer literally thousands of questions each season. We have tried to address some of the more popular ones here.
1. What time does the tide stop moving?
2. How long may we walk on the ocean floor before the tide comes in?
3. What effect does the moon have on the tides?
4. When are the highest tides and lowest tides?
5. How fast does the water come in?
6. Why are the tides so high at this location of the world?
7. Where are the whales?
8. How were the Flowerpots formed?
9. Why is the water so brown?
10. What are the silver “targets” on the rocks & cliffs?
11. Are there any ferries to and from the area?
12. What are your hours of operation?
13. Do you have picnic tables?
14. Is your park wheelchair accessible?
15. Where do we see the Tidal Bore?
16. How far are the Hopewell Rocks from…
17. Can I bring my pet?
18. Can I explore the Hopewell Rocks on my own?
19. Do I need special footwear to walk on the ocean floor?
20. What is this “beach sweep” that I hear about?
21. Can I stay and visit after the park closes at night?
22. Can I fly my drone in the park?
Tides are constantly moving. The time on a tide table identifies when the water changes direction. Our automated greeting provides the tide times for the day you are calling; our attendants can provide tide times for other dates. We have current tide tables on this site (Tide Tables), which can be used to determine the exact low or high tide for each day of your visit. The tides change by approximately 50 minutes each day.
You may get daily tide times on-site, in the local newspaper “The Moncton Times & Transcript”, on the (Fisheries and Ocean Canada) or you can request to have the e-mailed to you by calling toll free 1-877-734-3429.
The ocean floor is accessible for 3 hours before until 3 hours after low tide. Various areas of the ocean floor are accessible during that time, as the water is constantly moving. Low tide times change each day, please consult the tide table to determine accessibility times. Visitors are asked to watch all danger time signs located at the stairwells to the ocean floor. Interpretive staff stationed on the beaches can advise you on safety issues.
During the new and full moon, when the sun and moon are aligned, there is a greater than normal gravitational pull, causing higher than normal tides.
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During high tides of the new and full moon, tides can reach 14 metres (46 ft) and during low tides of the new moon, tides can recede 30 cm (1 ft) below Chart Datum.
The tides travel at 6 to 8 vertical feet per hour, depending upon the moon phases. However, during the middle hours of the 6 hour cycle on a particularly high “spring” tide, the water can flood up to 12 plus vertical feet an hour.
The most notable factors that affect the tide heights in the Bay of Fundy are the length and shape of the Bay and the natural rocking motion or resonance of the water known as the seiche effect. First off the Bay of Fundy is funnel-shaped, being wide and deep at the mouth, narrow and shallow at the upper reaches, so that as the tide moves up along the ever-narrowing bay, the water simply has nowhere else to go but up. Also and perhaps even more significant is the timing (the seiche effect) whereby the receding high tide reaches the mouth of the bay at the same time as the next high water is arriving from the Atlantic, the water level is accentuated and pushed up the bay rising higher as the bay gets shallower and narrower.
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7. Where are the whales?
The nutrient-rich waters of the Bay of Fundy are famous for attracting more than 12 species of whales. This means we have some of the best whale watching experiences in the world. Whales may be spotted from a number of places along the New Brunswick coast, but the best place to see them or book a whale watching tour is in the South-Western corner of New Brunswick at St. Andrews, Grand Manan, and Deer Island. The best time to view is from Mid-August to Mid-October.
Consider the erosion effect of 100 billion tons of water moving in and out of the Bay twice every 24 hours. By visiting our Interpretive Centre Exhibit you can travel back in time to witness the formation of the Bay of Fundy, and our famous “Flowerpot” Rocks, created by the winds and tides over millions of years!
The constant movement of water over the mud flats mixes the silt with the water. This creates the “Chocolate River” effect, known around the world.
Survey markers were placed on the rocks several years ago to calculate the erosion over a period of time. At that time, it was thought that this would provide scientists with knowledge to predict rock falls and movement. This project, however, was unsuccessful. The targets remain but are no longer used.
There is no ferry service adjacent to the Hopewell Rocks. There is a ferry between Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick. This service is provided by Bay Ferries http://www.nfl-bay.com/.
The facility is open from May to October. In the spring and fall, hours of operation are based upon daylight hours, as the site does not have night time lighting. Check our Timing Your Visit page for exact times.
Yes, in various areas of the park there are picnic tables. Some are located under picnic shelters, some are in the open and some are in the wooded areas.
Yes, we offer a wheelchair accessible facility. Our Interpretive Centre has wide automatic doors, with ramps for access to parking, restaurant and trails. Our courtesy vehicles are available to assist with transportation to and from the observation deck.
However, while every effort has been made to make the Hopewell Rocks accessible to all, we regret that due to its composition, the ocean floor is not wheelchair accessible.
- No wheelchair on site to rent/loan. We have emergency services in place, as well as shuttle services and special parking privileges to those who require closer access. Please ask our staff at admissions, upon your arrival, for more details about our special access to parking or shuttle passes.
The Tidal Bore is best viewed from Riverview or Moncton, New Brunswick. Riverfront Park is located on Coverdale Road, Riverview, NB. Bore Park is located on Main Street in downtown Moncton. These sites offer an observation deck at which you can watch the arrival of the tidal bore on a daily basis. Arrival times can be obtained by calling 1-800-561-0123.
For more information on the Tidal Bore, visit the City of Moncton’s Attractions Website
New Brunswick is centrally located on the east coast of Canada. The park’s location on the Bay of Fundy is only an hour from the nearest airport at Moncton, New Brunswick. For map, directions and traveling times, visit our How to Get Here Page.
We are pleased to be able to permit pets on leash within The Hopewell Rocks Park, however we request that owners read and abide by our Hopewell Rocks Pet Policy
Yes, The Hopewell Rocks is a self-directed park; however interpretive staff are located at key areas to answer any questions you may have. In addition to the opportunity to walk on the ocean’s floor, we have two sandy beach areas at either end of the park and a number of well-marked walking trails.
As our walking trails are sloping and the rocks on the beach are very
slippery, wearing suitable footwear will make your visit more enjoyable. (i.e. good ankle support, non-slippery and easy to clean.)
The beach sweep is what we call the process of making sure that everyone leaves the ocean floor before the tide closes the coves, so that no one gets caught by the rising tide. It starts at the far end of the ocean floor by the ledges and proceeds one cove at a time making its way towards the stair case that access the ocean floor. Our staff will gently remind you of the “cut off” times and ask that you move to the next cove to ensure your safety.
We appreciate your cooperation during this process
21. Can I stay and visit after the park closes at night?
We would always prefer to be able to offer you all of our services offered during hours of operations, but we do understand that sometimes the tides, that you wish to see, may be after hours. If you do decide that you want to stay after hours, since our staff will not be here to ensure your safety, we ask that you
- read and follow all the signs posted to ensure your safety.
- stay out of the areas marked by “danger” signs, on the ocean floor, those areas have been identified as extremely unstable, and a rock fall could happen at any time.
- Visit with a friend and carry a cell phone for safety.
We will also ask you to park your vehicle outside of the parking lot gates so that we can secure the site for the night.
For several reasons we do not allow drones (UAV) to fly within the park limits; the first being that we have nesting Peregrine falcons on site, a species on the endangered list, and we also have the yearly migrations of thousands of Semipalmated sand-pipers that use the park as their feeding grounds, and we are charged with protecting these and other animal and bird life on site.
And for security reasons, with the amount of guests visiting the site on a daily basis, an out of control drone could cause someone some harm.
For those reasons we ask that, if you want to fly a drone on site, that you make arrangements, in advance, with us in order to see if you qualify for a special permit to fly your drone (UAV).