In the northwestern region of New Brunswick is a snow belt that the locals refer to as the ‘Republic of Madawaska’. It is anchored by the City of Edmundston. The snowmobile trails in this region of northwestern New Brunswick link at multiple points into five (5) snowmobile trails into Quebec.
Directly to the north – less than 15 minutes away from Edmundston – is the Province of Quebec’s Bas St. Laurent region. Trails east of Edmundston connect directly to the Gaspésie region. Finally, the trails to the west link into Quebec’s trails which are an easy ride from the Chaudière Appalaches region.
In Edmundston, we speak 3 Languages
Edmundston itself is a small city, with a population of barely over 16,500 residents. It has a strong vibrant First Nations Maliseet – Wolastoqiyik community that has created a business presence that caters to snowmobilers. The region was also settled by primarily Acadian descendants. Visit any coffee shop and you are just as likely to find multiple conversations in French, some English, and the Wolastoqiyik people.
A three-day weekend is Better
The three snowmobile clubs in this corner of N. B. groom approximately 550 kilometres of trails so basing oneself in the centre of the city sets you up for an awesome three-day weekend of riding.
Chances of seeing a Moose are Real
Day one should be a ride into the ‘Moose Valley trails that boast wide forest roads, early and deep snowfalls and exceptional trail grooming by the snowmobile club based in the forest. The entire network is anchored by one of the nicest lodges-kitchens anywhere in N.B. And yes, your chances of seeing a Moose are real.
Day two can take you south where for your first hour of riding you may very well be looking at Canada or the United States into the distance. These trails follow the (Saint John) Wolastaq River valley that forms the international border with Maine, USA. As trails follow the valley you enter into farmland known for growing potatoes before returning to Edmundston.
Can you find the Three Corners?
The ride on day three takes you to the west into some of the least-ridden trails in all of N.B. They follow a panhandle sandwiched between Maine and Quebec so often get forgotten. However, these are some of the best trails offering plenty of elevation changes, deep snow and frozen lakes linked by fields and seasonal roads. Sled over the hills all the way west to Glazier Lake. When you stop your sled at the lake’s edge, the mountain on the other side is Maine. Look north up the river feeding the lake and Quebec is very close.
Edmundston Season, special because it lasts longer
What makes this entire region so special is that while it has all the amenities, culture and services that snowmobilers need and seek, it also almost always has the earliest and the latest riding of any region in Atlantic Canada. Four consistent months of trail riding here means N.B. has snow for one-third of every year.
Only a few places east of Midwest North America can claim a snowmobile season that long. Trail grooming is officially from December 15th to April 15th.