Explore New Brunswick's Appalachian Mountains

~Mountain Biking~
-Neena Gunpat-

New Brunswick is home to a beautiful mountain region, which provides you with a wealth of exciting outdoor adventures and family-friendly activities.  Live a unique Mountain biking experience in the Appalachians with many great marked mountain biking trails!


Generally temperate and humid, the climate of the Appalachians is manageable.  Having an average latitude, results in calm weather, suitable for bikers.  The ocean currents cause warm water from tropical areas, to be brought to higher altitudes, where warm air is blown towards the mountains.  These warm climates, make for an enjoyable and satisfactory biking experience.  

However, due to the mountainous region, there is a decent amount of precipitation.  

Many factors contribute to climate in the Appalachians:

  • Near water: Situated near to the Atlantic ocean, the Appalachians receive a great amount of precipitation
  • Relief: Mountains act like barriers forcing onshore winds up and water vapour to fall as precipitation.  Which causes windward side to have high amounts of precipitation and leeward side to be very dry due to air warming, which is going down the side of the mountain
  • Elevation: High mountains cause temperature to drop at highest point of mountain.  High elevation of mountains, means the air is thinner, causing water vapour to condense, forming precipitation
  • Precipitation: The types of precipitation that exist in the Appalachians include relief which occurs in mountains. Since mountains act as barrier for wind, it forces air up, as the air rises, it cools and water vapour condenses forming precipitation. Windward side receives lots of precipitation.  Leeward side experiences a rain shadow (opposite of windward, very dry), with dessert like conditions. Cyclonic precipitation will occur as warm and cold fronts collide. In the summer months convectional precipitation is also possible.

Overall, the precipitation is often frustrating the mountain biking because this causes the ground to be moist and soggy, resulting in the bikes essentially sinking into the ground which make it harder to ride.

Maritime climate: More precipitation in the winter than the summer

  • Average temperature range is 10.3⁰ Celsius
  • There is 553.5 mm of precipitation per winter
  • There is 541.3 mm of precipitation in the summer

Impact of Natural Disasters

In New Brunswick, river valleys and flood plains can pose a risk because of ice jams, harsh weather and the floods of annual spring thaw. All of these can cause a threat of flooding. Hurricanes, tropical storms, erosion, or other harsh seasonal weather events may cause tidal and ice surges in coastal areas. Forest fires are also a risk in all regions of New Brunswick. (Government of Canada)

The Appalachian mountains can experience numerous natural disasters, such as:

  • Flooding: Floods can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of a thick snow pack and ice jams.  They can also be caused by hurricanes and violent storms.
  • Hurricanes: Hurricane season officially runs from June through November when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce a tropical cyclone.  After effects of hurricanes include, the storm surge which causes serious flooding (storm surge consists of very high waves and high water levels caused by wind and air pressure).
  • Wildfires: The plenty vegetation (trees) makes it easy for forest fires to occur. Forest fires or wildfires are common occurrences from May to September and can cause extensive damage and put lives in danger.
  • Blizzards:  Near to the coast of the mountains, heavy snow and blizzards occur near the ocean.  Ocean current help blizzards come in on a wave of cold Arctic air, bringing snow, bitter cold and high winds to the mountains.

Natural Landscape

The natural landscape of the mountains has been influenced by many factors,such as:

  • Plate Tectonics: The Appalachian Mountains were formed by convergent boundaries. These plates collide into each other, where the edge of the continental plate forms a mountain, necessary for mountain biking.
  • Glaciation: Alpine glaciers carved the land, creating the mountainous region. Lake plains was a glaciation feature created in the region, meaning that the Appalachians are composed of plains of lands, which were once at the bottom of an alpine glacier.
  • Erosion:  Appalachians are low due to erosion that has eroded their sharp peaks.

Overall, these factors created the mountainous appearance of the Appalachians, making it possible for mountain biking to occur.

Vegetation and Soil

Due to the great supply of precipitation nourishing, the region's vegetation and soil is abundant and healthy.

  • Soil:  The Appalachian soil is leaching due to the plentiful precipitation.  
  • Vegetation: Abundant vegetation

Although leaching causes nutrients to be washed into the bedrock of the soil, due to the plentiful vegetation, the amount of precipitation received is absorbed by both the plants and the soil.  This means that the vegetation and the soil are in balance with each other; the vegetation needs water (precipitation), and the soil does not fully lose nutrients.

A slight impact includes, that the soil effects of mountain biking include soil structure and composition, including increased erosion, compaction, and water run-off.

Usually mountain bike trails are generally designed and constructed involving vegetation removal and soil excavation.  However in the Appalachians, this is avoided, leaving the land with plentiful and lively vegetation and soil.

The Appalachian Mountains is rich in vegetation, at high elevation dominated by conifers, with an under story of feather moss, white spruce, balsam fir and black spruce also form a continuous cover except on the higher, more exposed peaks where there is rock barren.  Lower elevations, sugar maple, white pine and eastern hemlock form a rich mixed wood forest. Dry sites are characterized by red oak, red pine and white pine; wet sites by red maple, black ash and eastern white cedar.

Therefore despite the placement on the Appalachians, there is rich soil and vegetation, which does not interfere with the the mountain bikers.


The type of rock that is formed in the Appalachians, is sedimentary rock.

Sedimentary rock is formed under the pressurization of the deposition of material such as sediments and minerals.  Evidence that these rocks were formed during plate collision culminated in the construction of the super continent Pangaea with the Appalachians.

The sedimentary rock also creates a sturdy base for bikers.

Due to the amount of precipitation, and the elevation of the mountains, the rocks erode and fall downhill, creating barren areas.  This effects the environment as vegetation is lost, as well bikers will lose there base to ride on.

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