nb-fundy-footpath

The Fundy Footpath is a 50-kilometre trail that winds through a rare expanse of New Brunswick coastal forest and beaches. (Neville Crabbe/CBC)

A wilderness destination nestled between Fundy National Park and St. Martin's is getting record numbers of hikers, according to the volunteer group that first scratched it out of the woods more than 20 years ago.

Alonzo Legere and his brother marked the 50-kilometre coastal trail along cliffs and marshes, known as the Fundy Footpath, in 1992.

He said 500 people used the footpath running through the Acadian Forest last year — the most ever.

"Hiking has an ebb and flow and I think we're on the upswing again," said Legere.

'Trails open us up to some of these great pristine areas we don't often think about.'—Jane Murphy, Trans Canada Trail

"Young people are out there, but you wouldn't know it because it's such an immense territory."

He said there are always people on the trail and that makes it easier for people coming behind them.

"You can basically follow the trail by the tread way because it's well used," he said.

"It really is a jewel for the province here."

Legere predicts 2013 will set another record for hikers

Footpath designated part of Trans Canada Trail

In 2012 the footpath became part of the Trans Canada trail network, a network of paths across the country that are supposed to be linked together by 2017.

Jane Murphy, the group's national director of trails, said that distinction effectively connected more than 150 kilometres of trail from the Fundy Trail parkway to Riverview.

"Trails open us up to some of these great pristine areas we don't often think about." Murphy said.

"Words can't describe what's here. … It really provides an opportunity to protect this from motorized use and those type of things."

Four days must be set aside to cover the well-worn path of rugged, steep switchbacks and grueling descents the width of a hiker's two feet, that winds through a rare expanse of old growth forest, beaches and streams.

It's best hiked between the Victoria Day weekend and Thanksgiving.