Fog horns, craggy cliffs and colourful jellybean row houses fill the city of St. John’s. This historic settlement is a quiet capital city, perched on the ocean, close to nature and a perfect starting point for exploring the stunning Maritime province. But if you don’t want to travel too far out of the city, you can spend your days hiking the trails around St. John’s.

1. North Head Trail

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 1.7 km one-way
Time:
1 hour

After climbing to the top of Cabot Tower, trek into the views you admired from above. Follow wooden staircases and test your balance on smooth rock. But be careful—some sections feature steep drop-offs that tumble down to the Atlantic Ocean. Although this trail is short, it’s steep, so don’t underestimate it. The trail ends over a resident’s patio.

How do I get to the North Head trailhead? You’ll find a map and trailhead on the left side of the parking lot at the top of Signal Hill.

2. Ladies Lookout Trail

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 0.7 km one-way
Time:
30 minutes

It may only be 700 metres, but this trail offers views galore. You can even see all the way to Cape Spear. Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles’ nests and blueberries along the trail.

How do I get to the Ladies Lookout trailhead? You’ll find a map and trailhead on the left side of the parking lot at the top of Signal Hill.

3. Burma Road Trail

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 1.4 km
Time:
1 hour

This flat, gravel road offers an easy alternative for groups with small children or hikers with a fear of heights. Jump onto this trail from Ladies Lookout Trail and continue to the lookout over Cuckolds Cove, the historic Battery and onto Quidi Vidi.

How do I get to the Burman Road trailhead? This trail begins across the street from the Visitor Centre, past George’s Pond.

4. Quidi Vidi Lake Trail

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 3.8 km
Time: 1 - 2 hours

This flat trail loops around Quidi Vidi Lake. Watch rowers, waterfowl and seabirds enjoying the calm water. You’ll likely pass dog-walkers and joggers along this communal trail.

How do I get to the Quidi Vidi Lake trailhead? Hop onto this trail from the Lake-to-Lookout Walk near the Boathouse.

5. Blackhead Village to Cape Spear

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 4.7 km one-way
Time: 2 hours

This stunning trail starts in the forest before emerging onto exposed cliffs overlooking the ocean. The well-trodden path climbs Blackhead peak, which offers a view of Cape Spear. Watch for whales in waves below. Smears of purple along the white rock mean blueberries are ripe for picking.

How do I get to the trailhead? Drive to Blackhead Village Road and park in the gravel lot near the East Coast Trail sign.

6. Deadman’s Bay

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 1.8 km 
Time: 
1 hour

Just because this trail is short doesn't mean it's easy! Take head from the name and avoid climbing too close to the cliffs, and don't even think about swimming here.

How do I get to the Deadman's Bay trailhead? Drive to Blackhead Village Road and park in the gravel lot near the East Coast Trail sign.

7. Freshwater Bay

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 5.3 km
Time: 2 - 3 hours

This trail leads to a beautiful bay. The Atlantic Ocean is separated from the body of water by a rock wall. The boulder-strewn bay is a perfect place for a picnic.

How do I get to the Freshwater Bay trailhead? Drive to Blackhead Village Road and park in the gravel lot near the East Coast Trail sign.

8. Fort Amherst

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Length: 10.6 km
Time: 5 - 7 hours

This moderately difficult path leads from Blackhead Village to Fort Amherst. The lighthouse is perched on the opposite side of the narrows, looking towards the Cabot Tower and Signal Hill.

How do I get to the Fort Amherst trailhead? Drive to Blackhead Village Road and park in the gravel lot near the East Coast Trail sign.

9. Picco’s Ridge

Length: 14.5 km
Time: 6 - 8 hours

On this trail, expect calm ponds, difficult climbs and stunning viewpoints. Rope-assists are put in place to help hikers summit Black Cliff. You'll want your sturdy high-top hiking boots for this one!

How do I get to Picco's Ridge trailhead? Access the trail from Portugal Cove or Bauline.

10. Spout Path

Length: 12.7 km
Time: 6 - 8 hours

Head to Bay Bulls for whale and puffin watching tours, and then embark on a hike! The first 3.5 km of the Spout Path will take you to the lighthouse. Continue on for waterfalls, a natural geyser and more breathtaking ocean views.

How do I get to the Spout Path trailhead? The south trailhead is located in Bay Bulls.

Have you hiked these trails around St. John's?

Which is your favourite?

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