Canada’s Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are well known for their stunning coastal scenery, beautiful beaches and fisheries. Additionally, the Maritimes are also home to some amazing riding with great mountains and hills to climb on your bike. The best part is for many of the climbs, you’ll also be able to enjoy some of the best coastal views in all of Canada. Here are 10 of the top climbs in Atlantic Canada.
French Mountain – Pleasant Bay, N.S. – 5.5 km – 7 per cent
In the Cape Breton Highlands, the road up French Mountain offers stunning views of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and nearby Skyline hiking trail. The climb features some very tough gradients as it hugs the side of the mountain before easing off towards the top when you reach a plateau. Watch out for moose towards the top of this stunning climb.
North Mountain – Pleasant Bay, N.S. – 4.3 km – 9 per cent
Not too far from French Mountain, the Cabot Trail climbs North Mountain. While the climb on the north side features some equally as steep gradients it climbs nearly the same elevation in an extra kilometre making the 4.3 km climb with a 9 per cent gradient on the south side a bit tougher. The views from the climb into the Cape Breton Highlands are worth enjoying on the way up.
Caledonia Mountain – Riverside Albert, N.B. – 6.7 km – 5 per cent
Caledonia Mountain to the east of Fundy National Park will take you up from the lowlands next to the bay up to the hills that make up much of New Brunswick. The climb is steady and fairly straight forward though it does kick up towards the middle to 14 per cent but most of the ascent is around 5 per cent.
Montée Rte275 – Addington, N.B. – 2 km – 8 per cent
A sweeping fairly steady climb in northern New Brunswick near Campbellton, Montée Rte275 averages 8 per cent for 2 km with a maximum gradient of 13 per cent. With 168 m of elevation, this is no easy climb.
Smokey Mountain – Ingonish Beach, N.S. – 2.2 km – 9 . 4 per cent
On the eastern side of the Cape Breton Highlands near Ingonish is the outrageously beautiful Cape Smokey. A provincial park at the top attracts hikers while the climb is a bucket list ascent in Canada. Over just 2.2 km, the climb goes from nearly sea level to over 200 m with breathtaking views all the way to the top. A hairpin turn at the bottom slows all possibly momentum into the climb and the gradients bite almost immediately. A tourist at the top is sure to be stunned in disbelief when you make it to the top.
Shredded Wheat – Gaspereau, N.S. – 2.1 km – 9 per cent
Atlantic Canada is a home to a surprising number of steep little climbs. The ascent up to Gaspereau near Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley near Wolfville is a real challenge with 175 m of elevation gain.
Burtts Corner 617 Full Climb – Burtts Corner, N.B. – 5.3 km – 4 per cent
A long climb in central N.B. not too far from Fredericton, the Burtts Corner climb is gradual but unrelenting at 5.3 km. The climbs maximum gradient is 11 per cent but most of the climb is around 5 per cent or shallower.
Shea Heights Climb – St John’s, N.L. – 3.4 km – 5 per cent
With harsh weather, Newfoundland is not the most popular cycling destination but if you chance on a nice day and head out for a ride from St. John’s to the climb up Shea Heights. The climb is very inconsistent with steep 19 per cent sections but also a few descents and easier parts.
Glenburnie Climb – Birchy Head, N.L. – 3.7 km – 7 per cent
Up on the other side of Newfoundland south of Gros Morne National Park you can find the climb of Glenburnie on 431. Enjoy the fantastic Newfoundland views on a ride on this stunning stretch of road to begins on one of the incredible fjords.
New Brunswick 114 Climb – Alma, NB – 3.6 km – 7 per cent
New Brunswick is full of rolling hills and the land off the north side of the Bay of Fundy rises. This is where you’ll find the climb out of Alma. Enjoy the views over the Bay and make sure you plan your visit to also enjoy the dramatic tidal changes.