The East Coast Trail is a series of 24 wilderness paths totaling 265 km along the Avalon Peninsula; ranked the world's top coastal destination in 2016 by National Geographic. Enjoy ocean splendors from the shore while traversing towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, and coves. Along the way, enjoy picturesque bay-side communities, historic sites, and ecological reserves. The package allows for a taste of the trail, sampling some of our favourite sections in less than a week. Visit picturesque Quidi Vidi and Signal Hill, walk popular Deadman's Bay Path and Cape Spear Path at the most easterly point of the continent, and enjoy a remote hike on beautiful Flamber Head Path. Keep an eye on the sea for whales and icebergs (in season) and along the trail for nesting eagles and wandering moose! Take in the history and culture of small fishing towns, including some of the very first harbours in North America to be frequented by Europeans.
Daily walks are between 10km and 20km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to short, steep sections. Most of the walk is on trail with some boarded surfaces, exposed tree roots, and possibly mud and/or rocks to scramble over. You should pay particular attention to your footwear to ensure that it is suitable to avoid blisters and rolling ankles. Route finding will be reasonably straightforward (refer to information regarding self guided adventures) but days are long and weather conditions will be variable. The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities, and along rocky shores. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the views, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.
Welcome to St. John's, Newfoundland! You will need to make your own way to your charming B&B (Details will be provided with your final documents). The rest of the day is free to enjoy this lively city - Your accommodation is just a short walk away from the Harbour, most restaurants, art galleries, craft and antique shops, George Street night life, live theatre (LSPU Hall), Signal Hill Rd, and The Rooms.
Today's hike isn't technically on the East Coast Trail, but that's really just a technicality. The route takes you along a lakeshore north of the city to picturesque Quidi Vidi ('Kiddy Viddy'), an old fishing village which is now considered part of St. John's and is home to the provinces largest microbrewery, as well as a trendy restaurant housed in one of the oldest wooden buildings in North America (lunch reservations required). QV is at the southern end of the ECT's Sugarloaf Path - We recommend a hike up to the top of Bowdens Highland and back for a fantastic view over the village and across to St. John's. The walk from Quidi Vidi to St. John's is a spectacular coastal route via historic Signal Hill and The Battery of St. John's Harbour which leads right back to your B&B.
This morning, you will be picked up from your B&B and dropped off at La Manche Provincial Park where you can explore an interesting resettled former village and its iconic, relocated suspension bridge. Your walk today is south along the 'Flamber Head Path', one of the more remote and underrated sections of the ECT that takes you up and down wooded hills with lovely coastal viewpoints and high cliffs, including the dominant headlands of Cape Neddick and Flamber Head. Your hike ends at the lovely little harbour community of Brigus South, where you will be picked up and transferred to the very charming village of Petty Harbour to enjoy a home-cooked dinner and be hosted for the next two nights.
After breakfast, it's back on the trail. Today, your hike begins at the most easterly point of North America: Cape Spear. Perched on a rugged cliff lies Cape Spear Lighthouse – the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province and an iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador's mariner history. Constructed in 1836, the Cape Spear Lighthouse consists of a stone light tower surrounded by the lightkeeper's residence. In 1955 a new lighthouse tower was built on the site using the active light from the original lighthouse. A morning arrival allows us to enjoy this popular attraction with few others... and few others are likely to be leaving the site by foot! The walk back to Petty Harbour is a beautiful outing with a variety of terrain, hills, long views, boardwalked bog crossings, and two river crossings. Pack your windbreaker and be mindful of your footing - The continent's edge is a windy one!
Once again, your feet will take you back to St. John's. This time, beginning from Blackhead, just north of Cape Spear and hiking north to Fort Amherst at the entrance of St. John's Harbour ('The Narrows'). This coastal path has some steep climbs, a long ridge hike, swimming holes on the Southside Hills, a former settlement, and a unique barachois (stone crossing) with rusty pieces of the SS Thetis shipwreck. At Fort Amherst, you will come up to a lighthouse and placard, indicating the end of your East Coast Trail adventure. Further exploration will reveal the remains of gun emplacements built during World War II to defend against German U-boats and signs of 17th century Fort Frederick (Frederick's Battery). Your friendly driver will take you back to your central accommodations for your final night in St. John's. If you haven't already, tonight may be the night to get 'Screeched In' on George Street and become an honorary Newfoundlander!
Services end after breakfast. We hope you enjoyed your stay on 'the Rock'!
We had a wonderful holiday thanks to the excellent people on the ground in Newfoundland! Our B&B hosts were warm & welcoming and the transfer drivers were full of local knowledge & stories. Thanks for organizing our trip with such a great team!
J. Burris, Grand Prairie, Alberta, 18 Oct 2017
G. Marcotte, Gibsons, BC, 10 Oct 2017
Per Person, Twin Share