Negotiating much of the length of the Avalon Peninsula, the East Coast Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that passes through fishing communities, provincial parks, national historic sites and a couple of ecological reserves. The 265km stretch from Cape St Francis to Cappahayden has been completed, but there is a further 275km of undeveloped trails: to Topsail, on Conception Bay in the north, Trepassey in the south and across to Placentia in the west (from Ferryland). It’s an extraordinarily ambitious enterprise (the Topsail section will be developed first, depending on funding), and largely reliant on volunteer labour. The East Coast Trail Association (t 709 738 4453, w sells first-rate 1:25,000 waterproof topographical maps covering the whole trail ($37 per set of 24), and guidebooks covering different sections of it. Only the first two – from St John’s to Petty Harbour ($21.95), and from Petty Harbour to Bay Bulls ($28.95) – have been published.

The East Coast Trail is linear, which means that if you’re after a day’s hiking you really need two cars and at least two people, but there are places to stay along the trail and it is possible to arrange to be picked up (and/or taken out) by taxi. The Association is glad to help and advise, and also organizes free group hikes. The 3.7km hike from the former fishing village of Blackhead to Cape Spear is one of the easier and more accessible portions of the trail and it covers a handsomely rugged stretch of coastline; allow one and a half to two hours. The trailhead is clearly signed.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

Canada is famous for its stunning vistas, from the Arctic shores to the Rocky Mountains. But that's not all the country has to boast about. It also has engro…

30 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Simply put, Canada is stunning. The second largest country in the world, Canada is a land of crashing waterfalls, turquoise lakes and magnificent soaring mounta…

29 Jun 2017 • Olivia Rawes videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook