By Lora Pope

 

While this year has changed many of our travel plans, it’s also provided an opportunity to discover the amazing nature in our own backyard. I returned to my hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland after years of living away and decided it was the perfect opportunity to hike the East Coast Trail (ECT). It’s a 336-kilometre wilderness trail that stretches along the coast of the Avalon Peninsula. While the entire trail can be done as a thru-hike, I’ve been tackling the 25 paths individually as day hikes. Here are my 10 favourite trails on the ECT.

 

Stiles Cove Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 15 km one-way

Time: 5-7 hours

If you’re looking for a great all-day hike, this path has it all: rivers, waterfalls, bridges, coves and cliffs. Stiles Cove has beautiful turquoise coloured water. The river and waterfalls at Flatrock offer hikers a chance to cool off afterwards.

  

Silver Head Mine Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 3.8 km one-way

Time: 1-2 hours

Silver Head Mine is the shortest path on the ECT, making it a great option for solo hikers. It can be easily done in-and-out without having to worry about parking a car on each end. The path takes you from Torbay to Middle Cove Beach, which is a perfect place to have a bonfire in the summer.

 

Cobblers Path 

photoLora Pope

Length: 4.7 km one-way

Time:  1-2 hours

If you're looking for a shorter hike with amazing views that’s not far from the city, then look no further then Cobblers Path. Although it’s got two strenuous climbs, the dramatic coastal views make it worth it. 

 

Sugarloaf Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 8.8 km one-way

Time: 3-5 hours

The Sugarloaf Path takes you all the way from Logy Bay to the charming fishing village of Quidi Vidi. It’s a fairly difficult hike, with two major elevation changes.  At the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Quidi Vidi and St. John’s.

 

Cape Spear Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 15.4 km one-way

Time: 1-2 hours

This path takes you from the small community of Blackhead to Maddox Cove. What makes it so special is that it passes by Cape Spear Lighthouse, which is the most easterly point in all of North America! This is a great place to spot whales in the summertime and icebergs in the spring. 

  

Bay Bulls Lighthouse

photoLora Pope

Length: 3.5 km one-way

Time: 1-2 hours

This is part of the Spout Path, which is usually done as an overnight hike due to its length. However, part of the trail can be done easily as an in-and-out. It’s a beautiful coastal trail that passes by many interesting sea stacks. After 3.5 kilometres you’ll reach Bay Bulls Lighthouse, one of many historic lighthouses in Newfoundland.

  

Mickeleens Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 7.2 km one-way

Time: 2-4 hours

Mickeleens Path from Bay Bulls to Witless Bay is a perfect afternoon hike. It features stunning red stone cliffs as well as great views of Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Island, which is one of the best places for whale watching in Newfoundland.

 

Tinkers Cove Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 5 km one-way

Time: 1-2 hours

This path from Mobile to Tors Cove is an easy hike that can be done as an in-and-out or combined with the seven-kilometre Beaches Path right before it for a longer hike. Stretches of the path take you through the woods, with occasional access points to small rocky beaches.

 

La Manche Village Path

photoLora Pope

Length:  6.4 km

Time: 2-3 hours

This trail leads hikers to La Manche Village, an abandoned village that was destroyed by a storm in 1966. Most of the hike is in the woods, but signposts indicate several points of interest off the main trail. The highlight of this trail is the impressive 50-metre suspension bridge.

  

Brigus Head Path

photoLora Pope

Length: 6.4 km one-way

Time: 2-3 hours

This path takes you between two picturesque communities on the Irish Loop, Brigus South and Admirals’ Cove. It’s a moderate hike that goes mostly through the woods with several optional lookout points to the ocean. Hares Ears Point is one not to miss.

  

break

 

 

P.S. Want to be inspired to #LivetheAdventure?

Adventurers like you join the Adventure Challenge Club for new adventure ideas, a community of like-minded adventurers and awesome gear prizes! Last month, we gave away four tents, VSSL Mini Cache and countless smaller gear prizes!

photoAndrea Le

Click here to join