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Duration
10 days
Activities
  • 8 days self guided hiking
Accommodation
  • 9 nights B&B's/guesthouses
Meals
  • 5 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 9 Breakfasts

Price

$1890USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Trip Code: SOG6493

Overview

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

The East Coast Trail is a series of 26 wilderness paths totalling over 300 km along the Avalon Peninsula; ranked the world's top coastal destination in 2016 by National Geographic. Enjoy ocean splendours 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!

Activities:
Grading:
5

Moderate

More info about grading system


Itinerary

Welcome to the windy, colourful and boisterous capital of Newfoundland. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your charming B&B in the centre of town (details are provided with your final documents). Spend the rest of the day exploring one of the oldest cities in North America, discovering its bright-painted heritage houses and buildings, restaurants, galleries and antique shops. Your accommodation is also close to the legendary nightlife and live music on George Street.

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

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

After a hearty breakfast, you take on two of the easier sections of the East Coast Trail, commencing at the famous brightly-painted saltbox houses in the community of Tors Cove. With its epic views of blue ocean, rocks, field and forest, “the Cribbies” is the most photographed meadow in Newfoundland. It has one of the best views of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, and fairy-tale magic about the place. The trail hugs the shoreline with lovely shore and coastal views all the way to the reserve, which is a sanctuary for puffins and migrating seabirds. The area is also a popular feeding ground for humpback whales, so keep an eye out for tails and breaches. You’ll be picked up at Witless Bay for the half-hour transfer to Petty Harbour, our base for the next three nights.

Meals:  B,L,D

You’ve walked hard and deserve a day of rest, and what a beautiful place to have it. Apart from merely resting and enjoying the fetching views around Petty Harbour, additional options are available (at extra cost) that include more hiking (visiting Mickeleens or Motion Path), kayaking (weather permitting/subject to availability) and whale or puffin boat tours. Alternatively, take it easy as you explore Petty Harbour’s shops, harbour and museum, and chatting with some of the local characters.

Meals:  B,L

Your friendly local driver-guide will shepherd you this morning to the southernmost end of the ECT, where you’ll explore the fishing villages and abandoned settlements of Renews-Cappahayden. From here, you’ll head up to Ferryland, one of the oldest communities on the island, where you’ll be able to perform your own dig at the Colony of Avalon Archaeology Site or attend summer dinner theatre at the Arts Centre. Provided with a blanket, find your spot on the natural ocean-side terrace and order a delicious lunch a-la picnic basket*. From Ferryland, walk north on the trail to Calvert, where you will be picked up and transferred to your charming guesthouse for a tasty home-cooked dinner. *Picnics operate from late May to early October, subject to availability at time of booking

Meals:  B,L,D

If there’s a single photo of your trip that will stop people in their tracks, it will be the massive sea arch at Berry Head located on the Spurwink Island Path section of the trail. Chunks of the stratified archway continue to fall to the ground below, while the reflecting ocean window is sublime on a summer day. 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 archway from your accommodation. Both options result in similar hiking distances, but the latter (out and back) route avoids the north section, which is a rugged hike through dense forest with few coastal views.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, sparkling turquoise waters and cliffside boardwalk await you at La Manche Provincial Park. The 50-metre/164-foot long swaying La Manche suspension bridge is another highlight of the East Coast Trail, crossing a tranquil cove that once serviced a long-abandoned fishing village. You’ll continue south along the Flamber Head Path, one of the more remote, underrated sections of the ECT. The trail rolls over wooded hills, headlands and cliff-faces with sweeping coastal views, concluding at your pick-up point in the charming little harbour community of Brigus South. A home-cooked meal awaits back in Port Kirwan.

Meals:  B,L,D

Your return path into the city begins in Blackhead, located just north of Cape Spear, and continues to Fort Amherst at the entrance to The Narrows of St John’s Harbour. Hilly, with a few steep climbs, the coastal path traces a long ridge along swimming holes, a former settlement, a unique barachois (stone crossing) and relics of the SS Thetis shipwreck. A placard at Fort Amherst, which still houses the remains of WWII gun emplacements and signs of the 17th century Ford Frederick, signals the end of the East Coast Trail. Your driver will greet you here to shuttle you to your final night’s accommodation in St John’s. Having ticked off some of the most magnificent hikes in Newfoundland, celebrate with some screech in the boisterous pubs on George Street.

Meals:  B,L

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

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 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)
  • Use of Garmin emergency communications device (1 per group)
  • $50 donation to the East Coast Trail Association

  • 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

Suitability

Moderate

5

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.


Departure dates

Monday to Friday from June through October

Notes

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Base Price
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Total Priceper person from

$1890USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Options & Supplements*
  • USD$520
* Prices listed are per person. All prices subject to applicable taxes.

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Hiking Newfoundland's East Coast Trail with Great Canadian Trails