Province/Territory: Newfoundland and Labrador

A coastal hiking experience that takes you to the outermost reaches of North America

  • 265 kilometres of maintained trail to hike
  • 02 archaeological digs to visit
  • 32 historic communities to explore

Amble through the wilderness paradise of boreal forest, fresh air and quiet solitude (except for the crashing waves and haunting bird cries that surround you). Hike through villages clinging precariously to ancient cliff faces. Walk along the rugged coastline atop towering cliffs and rugged fjords. Catch your breath as you watch ten thousand year old icebergs drift past and 36 tonne humpback whales breach the water. Picnic in the sweet surroundings of a sea-stack meadow or stop in a local pub and enjoy Jigg's Dinner and figgy duff as well as other traditional local fare.

Why you should visit
  • Explore developed and marked trails.
  • Walk on roads built in the 1600s as you tour the Colony of Avalon, a working archaeological site excavating Lord Baltimore's first New World colony.
  • Learn to distinguish between 'dry docks' and 'pinnacles', a couple of the classifications of the 500 or so icebergs that drift past Newfoundland every year.
  • Cross the suspension bridge at La Manche to visit the ruins of an old fishing village and stop for a dip in the cool waters of an adjoining pond.
  • Climb up to Cape Spear lighthouse perched on the most eastern point of North America.
  • See how many different kinds of whales you can recognise as you watch them cavort below you.

Weather

Visitor information
  • The developed trail is comprised of 26 individual marked trails that are free and accessible from many points.
  • The trail is open to foot traffic only - no motorized vehicles, bicycles or horses.
  • The trail has 5 wilderness campsites and there are some other campgrounds along the way.
  • There are no amenities on the trail itself, but communities along the way usually have stores and toilet facilities.
When to go
  • The entire trail system is accessible during the spring, summer and autumn months (April to November) but prepare for muddy conditions in the spring (April to June).
  • Some parts of the trail are accessible in the winter (December to March) with snowshoes or cross country skis.
  • There are several guided hikes over the course of the year.
  • The best time to see icebergs is May and June and the best time to see whales is June and July.
Need to know
  • The developed trail stretches along the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula from Cape St. Francis to Cappahayden and is marked.
  • The individual trails vary in level of difficulty from easy to strenuous.
  • Wear good hiking shoes or boots and be prepared for rain or chilly winds off the ocean.
  • Trail maps are available from the East Coast Trail Association and are extremely helpful.
  • The further 275 kilometres of undeveloped trail have no maps or signage and should only be attempted by experienced remote wilderness hikers and backpackers.
Getting Here
  • The city of St. John's is served by the St. John's International Airport (YYT).
  • The East Coast trail is situated on the Avalon Peninsula and runs north and south from St. John's along the coast with starting points any where from within the city to two hours outside of the city. A car makes the entire trail accessible, but there is taxi service to some of the towns along the trail.