East Coast Trail Experience

East Coast Trail Experience

Trip Highlights

  • Stunning coastal hiking
  • Opportunities to spot whales, icebergs, bald eagles, puffins and moose
  • Charming and colourful fishing villages
  • Historic Signal Hill in St. John's
  • Visit to the most easterly point of North America
  • Friendly Newfoundland Hospitality

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, 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, hike to dramatic sea arches, enjoy Cape Spear Path at the most easterly point of the continent, and test yourself on the rugged Flamber Head Path. Keep an eye on the sea for whales and icebergs (in season) and along the trail for nesting bald 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.

Suitability

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.

Itinerary

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 - If you are doing well for time, 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 the city centre. Around 3pm, you will be met by your friendly driver and transferred to the Southern Avalon for your first home-cooked meal and overnight at a charming B&B which will be your home for the next 3 nights.

Meals:  B,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

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 challenging and rugged sections of East Coast Trail. This remote and often underrated trail 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 your B&B for one final home-cooked dinner.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, say farewell to your host as your driver takes you back onto your final section of 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! As a final service, you will be transferred from Petty Harbour back to your central accommodations 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

  • 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 5 nights in B&B's/inns with private or semi-private facilities
  • Luggage transfers (1 piece per person)
  • Detailed route notes and maps (1 package per 2 hikers)
  • Airport pickup on arrival day
  • Transfers to/from trailheads as indicated in itinerary
  • $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
  • Transfer to airport upon completion of tour
  • Applicable taxes

Reviews

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


R. Moon, NSW, Australia, 13 Sep 2018


Both b&bs were excellent. Food was very good fresh especially dinners. Transportation was friendly and reliable. Trail to spurwink island was a bit challenging in wet conditions

S. Scott, Albuquerque, 26 Jul 2018


G. Marcotte, Gibsons, BC, 10 Oct 2017

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:6 Days
Province/Territory:Newfoundland and Labrador
Starting Point:St. John's
Activities:Hiking: Self Guided
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:ETX
Prices From:USD$1125
Child Discount (12-17yrs with 2 full paying adults):USD$-350 
SIngle Supplement:USD$180 
Solo Traveller:USD$610 
* All prices subject to applicable taxes