Newfoundland and Labrador is a beautiful province to hike on the tip of eastern Canada. It’s unique history and landscape comes to life, with stunning views from high peaks on the coastal tips, or gorgeous forestry and even inner-city hikes from down below. Whether in St. John’s, or atop a peak in Sunnyside, great hiking is to be found in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Birch Brook Trails, Goose Bay
Birch Brook is home to a winter ski resort, but when the snow isn’t there, the trails that are used for skiing are also open to hikers. The Birch Brook trail system is lined with birches and other boreal forestry, from pines to towering maples. Underfoot, the trail is well kept and mainly comprised of dirt and and well-tamped down earth. Along the trail, there are several lookout points the overlook Lake Melville and the Mealy Mountains. With a wide variety of trails to choose from, you’re never lost for hiking opportunities during the off-season of the Birch Brook Resort. Trail Map
2. Alexander Murray Hiking Trail, King’s Point
The Alexander Murray trail is perhaps one of the province’s most beautiful and sought-out hikes. It follows a series of staircases and dirt trails leading up to a viewing platform, climbing over 300m of elevation. Whilst only eight kilometres in length, the trail itself is strenuous due to the amount of climbing you’ll do — up — and down — all 2200 steps and various dirt tracks. Save for the stair-climbing, the terrain isn’t overly difficult.Trail Map
3. Humber Valley Trail, Humber Valley
The Humber Valley Trail is a 25km stretch of the International Appalachian Trail, developed by the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the International Appalachian Trail System. The trail itself is diverse, with terrain going from muddy open forest land to stream crossings, steep climbs up mountain passes (complete with spectacular views).
4. Indian Lookout Trail, Portland Creek
The Indian Lookout Trail is another section of Newfoundland’s part of the International Appalachian Trail. The trail is a long section — forty kilometres in length, but it can be broken down into smaller subsections, if you’re only looking for a day’s hike. However, for those seeking to go the distance, you’ll need about a week to complete the hike. The landscape surrounding the trail is gorgeous as it is nestled in between arctic fjords and Gros Morne National Park. If you’re lucky, you might spot some caribou on the trail, as they frequent the area. Other must-see sights include Partridge Pond Falls, a beautiful 1200-foot high waterfall that only adds further beauty to the stunning scenery. The hike covers a multitude of terrain, from woodland to high cliffs and broken rock, it’s challenging in places but easy in others – a truly wonderful Newfoundland hiking experience. Trail Map
5. Centre Hill Wilderness Trail, Sunnyside
Length: 5km (each way)
Centre Hill Wilderness Trail in Sunnyside, Newfoundland is one not to be missed. It’ll bring you high above the land and onto the highest peak overlooking the Avalon Peninsula. You’ll gain 345m of elevation along sometimes uneven and rocky terrain. It’s a tough hike up, but provides absolutely stunning views from the top, so be sure to bring your camera. This short hike can be done in a day and is a great way to ease yourself into hiking in Newfoundland. Trail Map
6. Little Catalina Hiking Trail, Little Catalina
This hiking trail from Little Catalina to Maberly runs right along the Bonavista Peninsula on Newfoundland’s east coast. The views from above are really what this trail is all about. The landscape is mostly brush, with many varieties of berries to be found — from blueberries and blackberries to partridgeberry and cloudberry. Some are edible, some are not, so be sure you know what you’re snacking on. In May and June, icebergs can be seen, as well as a colony of seabirds at the end of the trail — of an island near Maberly. For those taking two or more days to really enjoy the scenery, there is a camping platform located mid-way along the trail. Trail Map
7. Argentia Backland Trail, Placentia
The Argentia Backland Trail is a popular excursion for hikers awaiting the ferry back to the mainland from the island of Argentia. Did you miss your ferry and have a few hours to kill before the next one? Well, strap on your backpack and hit the trail! With over 10 kilometres of trail on offer, the Argentia Backlands cut through an old US Navy Base, offering wonderful views of the Bay of Placentia and surrounding areas. Other attractions include World War Two bunkers and other reminders of Newfoundland’s military past. It’s a short-ish trail at ten kilometres and would make for a great day-hike. Trail Map
8. Skerkwink Trail, Port Rexton
The Skerwink Trail skirts the north and south coast of Skerkwink Head, offering, at least according to it’s founder, “more scenery per linear-foot than any other trail in Newfoundland.” The trail begins in Port Rexton and winds it’s way around the coast, offering beautiful views. The trail’s terrain is diverse beginning in Port Rexton with flat, easy terrain before making it’s way out to the coast where the terrain becomes rocky and sometimes difficult. There’s always a rock face for you to admire, however. The trail is particularly busy in Spring and Summer, though the changing colours in autumn also attract many people. At five kilometres, it’s hardly a backbreaker, but will keep you appropriately entertained and challenged for at least a few hours. Trail Map
9. Fox Island Loop Trail, Champney’s West
10. East Coast Trail, St. John’s
By far the most challenging and longest hikes in the entire province is the East Coast Trail located in the capital city of St. John’s. This behemoth of a trail, at 270km is the crown jewel of Newfoundland hiking experiences. The East Coast trail skirts, well, the east coast of Newfoundland, offering spectacular coastal views every step of the way along a trail purpose-built for hikers with moderately difficult terrain in places, ranging from stairs to dirt track to rocky in some places, it’s a challenging but beautiful hike. The scenery in every direction, is of course, what makes the trail — to your left, you’ve the open sea and the Avalon Peninsula, to your right, the beauty of the in-land of Newfoundland’s east coast, from towns and cities to sprawling woodland below. The East Coast trail is a must-hike in Newfoundland, though, due to it’s length – if you do intend to thru-hike it, you should expect to complete in about 10 days, perhaps allot two weeks, to give yourself a buffer. Trail Map
11. North Head Trail, St. John’s
Length: 1.7km A short, but memorable hike in St. John’s is the North Head Trail — you guessed it — the trail that circumferences the northern tip of Newfoundland. Located off a dirt road down Cuckholds Cove Road, continuing around the northern tip of Newfoundland and finding road again at Outer Battery Road, near a historic military fort. The trail itself is a relatively easy hike, with mostly flat terrain, despite the elevation above sea level — and at less than 2km long, it makes for a perfect afternoon hike. The scenery is beautiful and the location is rich with military history, so you are free to make some excursions along the way to appreciate the plaques and other monuments which line the coast. Trail Map
12. Corner Brook Gorge Trail, Corner Brook
The Corner Brook Gorge Trail bypasses the Corner Brook Stream, which coincidentally has a trail of it’s own. Corner Brook Gorge trail is a relatively short three kilometre hike around the Corner Brook Gorge to Crocker’s Road from Margaret Bowater Park. The trail cuts mainly through woodland, so scenery is at a minimum, but that shouldn’t detract from the beauty of the woods and the shadows along the trail during the height of summer, or the beauty of the leaves during the fall months. The Corner Brook Gorge is obviously one of the highlights of the trail, churning water barreling down a rocky face makes for some fantastic photos — the pine trees in clumps along the rock face on either side only add to the picturesque nature of one of Corner Brook’s most sought-after and beautiful hikes.
13. Corner Brook Stream Trail, Corner Brook
14. Goowiddy Path, Terra Nova National Park
Terra Nova National Park is home to over 80km worth of hiking trails, so you really are spoiled for choice! The Goowiddy Path is an eight kilometre loop trail which takes in some of the best of Terra Nova. It’s a relatively easy eight kilometre stroll through a balsam fir forest, which snakes the coastline of the Newman Sound. You’ll come to a junction — keep right until you discover a sandy beach — a perfect place for a lunchtime picnic mid-trail Once you’ve eaten, you’ll get back into the forest for another few kilometres before coming to the awesome Buckley’s Cove, where a beautiful open ocean and gorgeous seaside scenery await you. There’s also a back-country campground located here, for those wishing to stay the night. For those wishing to do more — there’s a trek to be made to Blue Hill Pond, where you’ll see yet more of the beauty of Terra Nova National Park — a boardwalk will take you back to the coastline to conclude the hike. The Goowiddy Path is a great way to spend a day in Terra Nova National Park.Trail Map
15. Ochre Hill Trail, Terra Nova National Park
The Ochre Hill trail is a two-part trail in Terra Nova National Park, located approximately two-thirds of the way up Ochre Hill Road, which runs from Highway 1 (part of the TCH) to the Ochre Hill Fire Tower. The first part of the trail is a loop which goes around a beautiful open body of water, high above the forest floor — offering serene views of the beauty of Terra Nova. That takes up 3.5km of the trail, the extra 1 kilometre is optional, but definitely worth it if you have the time and inclination. This trail follows the forest floor and is a branch off trail with a dead end, meaning you’ll have a return trip of 1 kilometre also. Ochre Hill trail is a beautiful trek up Ochre Hill on dirt forest tracks with a slow incline. A beautiful hike at any time of year. Trail Map
Newfoundland and Labrador is one of Canada’s most beautiful province and yet it is often overlooked — perhaps it is it’s separation from the mainland which is the cause — regardless, one should most definitely not overlook this gorgeous eastern province, with opportunities to experience nature, history and the glory of Canada’s animal kingdom all in one place. If you’re going anywhere near the east coast, why not go all the way east and hike in Newfoundland and Labrador.