East Coast Trail

East Coast Trail

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy stunning coastal hiking
  • Keep an eye out for whales, icebergs, puffins, bald eagles, and moose
  • Be charmed by colourful coastal fishing villages
  • Visit Historic Signal Hill in St. John's
  • Step foot on the most easterly point of North America
  • Experience first-hand friendly Newfoundland hospitality
  • Lunch with a view on a Ferryland Lighthouse Picnic

Trip Summary

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, coves, and deep fjords. Along the way, enjoy picturesque bay-side communities, abandoned settlements, ecological reserves, and a special lighthouse picnic. The package includes popular ECT day hikes such as Beaches Path, Deadman's Bay Path to Fort Amherst, and the most easterly point of North America along the Cape Spear Path. We also take you to more remote sections farther south such as beautiful Flamber Head Path and to the impressive sea arch at Berry Head. Take in the history and culture of small fishing towns, including picturesque Quidi Vidi, charming Petty Harbour and Renews; one of the very first harbours in North America to be frequented by Europeans. There is a real possibility of whale, puffins, moose, or iceberg sightings while on the trail; but encounters with genuine, story-telling local hosts are guaranteed!


Daily walks are between 8km and 16km on well marked trails over diverse and often rugged terrain – from relatively flat to short, steep sections. Most of the walk is on trail with some boarded surfaces, exposed tree roots, and likely 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. This is not a trip for breaking in new hiking boots! Be sure you have tried and tested your boots in wet conditions and over uneven terrain. 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.

Self guided walking requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!) Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of if as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide local contact information in the event of any problems. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self guided trips, however with a methodical approach potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.


Welcome to St. John's, Newfoundland! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your charming B&B in the centre of town (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.

Meals:  Nil

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.

Meals:  B

This morning, you will be transferred by your driver guide to the southernmost end of the East Coast Trail for a quick visit to the fishing villages and abandoned settlements of Renews-Cappahayden and then up to Ferryland; one of the most historic communities in Newfoundland where you can visit the Colony of Avalon Archaeology Site (and perform your own 'dig') or attend summer dinner theatre at the Arts Centre. Here, you will enjoy the very unique 'Lighthouse Picnic' experience as you are provided with a blanket to lay out where you like on the natural ocean-side terrace and then served a delicious lunch a-la picnic basket*. From Ferryland, take the trail north to Calvert where you will be picked up and taken to your charming guesthouse and treated to a tasty home-cooked dinner. *Picnics operate from late May early October, subject to availability at time of booking

Meals:  B,L,D

The section of the ECT called Spurwink Island Path is most well-known for its massive sea arch at Berry Head - The real highlight of the trail. Today, you have the option of hiking the full distance from your accommodation north to Aquaforte, or to do an out-and-back hike to the arch from your accommodation. Both options result in similar hiking distances, but the latter (out and back) route avoids the north section which is rugged slog mostly through woods and with few coastal views.

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, you will be dropped off at La Manche Provincial Park, where you can explore an interesting former settlement 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 back to Port Kirwan for a much-deserved home-made meal.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today's hike consists of two 'easy' sections of the ECT; from the community of Tors Cove up to Mobile, and onto Witless Bay. Starting from the iconic, brightly-painted saltbox houses called 'The Cribbies', the majority of the peaceful route is close to shoreline, with attractive beach-side and wooded paths and lovely shore and island views, including the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve noted for its migratory, seabird and puffin nesting habitat. From Witless Bay, you will be transferred to the very charming village of Petty Harbour where you will be hosted for the next 3 nights.

Meals:  B,L,D

Day at leisure in Petty Harbour. No transfers or activities are included today, but may be organized locally at an extra cost. Apart from simply resting and enjoying the quaint harbour, today's options include more hiking (Mickeleens, Motion Path, etc.), kayaking (weather permitting/subject to availability), whale/puffin boat tours, exploring Petty Harbour's shops and museum, a harbour walk, or perhaps 'learn to row a boat'!

Meals:  B,L

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!

Meals:  B,L,D

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!

Meals:  B,L

Services end after breakfast. We hope you enjoyed your stay on 'the Rock'!

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
  • 9 nights in B&B's/guesthouses
  • Luggage transfers (1 piece per person)
  • Airport arrival transfer
  • Transfers to/from trailheads as indicated in itinerary
  • Detailed route notes and maps (1 package per 2 hikers)
  • $50 donation to the East Coast Trail Association

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from St. John's
  • Items of a personal nature including alcoholic beverages
  • Meals and transfers where not indicated in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Entrance fees and optional activities
  • Airport departure transfer
  • Applicable taxes


Just wanted to say that we had a great East Coast Trail walking trip. Despite the shakey start of our flight being cancelled, the rest went very smoothly with good organisation and clear instructions to follow. Our driver James was helpful and reliable. All the accommodations were comfortable with each host being welcoming and making the stays individually memorable. From James and Janet and their wonderful home bake extras at breakfast. The luxury of the hot tub at Belle Maison and Sharon''s amazing 3 course dinners that were better than restaurant standard. So thank you for a excellent, well organised experience - we loved the variety of walks, the lighthouse picnic and even the mad changeable weather of Newfoundland.

G. Sellars, United Kingdom, 19 Jun 2018

Best part of the trip? Experiencing Newfoundland.

M. Sicher, Maryland, USA, 30 Jul 2018

I very much enjoyed my holidays; the only thing that should be improved is the trail conditions and also signs- some were missing and some were located very scarcely. The hikes were more challenging than I expected; I have done moderate hikes in Ireland, which was in regards to the length of the hike; the hikes in NL were shorter but far more challenging due to the trail conditions. The selected B&B were amazing including the hosts; all worked out as indicated in the agenda- I had nothing to worry about!

F. Kurz, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 29 Jul 2018

One of the things that really made the trip for me was the appropriateness of the accommodations.

A. Nagel, New York, NY, 13 Sep 2018

This was our first time using GCT, and we were very happy with them! The walking trails were challenging, yet there were parts that let you enjoy the scenery too. All of the people who were at the B&Bs were very friendly and helpful.There were never any issues except for one day of rain but we still managed to walk in the afternoon! Overall this walk id spectacular scenery and well worth the time, we would do it again!

Allan & Joan Barnett, Media, PA, USA, 04 Oct 2018

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

Upcoming Travel Dates


Duration:10 Days
Province/Territory:Newfoundland and Labrador
Starting Point:St. John's
Activities:Hiking: Self Guided
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:ETR
Prices From:USD$1835
Child Discount (12-17yrs with 2 full paying adults):USD$-389 
SIngle Supplement:USD$360 
Solo Traveller:USD$790 
* All prices subject to applicable taxes