Welcome to Trail Connections!
The Trail Connections Hiking Program
The hiking tour we suggest along the East Coast Trail takes about 8-12 days to complete and offers you a great variety of scenery as well as some of the highlights of this amazing system of coastal paths. Shorter trips are possible. You can start your holiday at any time during the hiking season (May - October). For groups of more than 6 hikers we recommend early booking to ensure that we have enough space. Participating hosts tend to be small local B&Bs that sometimes work together to accommodate larger groups.
Cost for the 2016 Hiking Season
Our hiker-friendly service includes accommodation, 3 meals a day (breakfast, packed lunch, supper) and complementary transportation to and from the trail heads as well as in-between B&Bs. We will help to dry your clothes and boots if you should get wet, and your host will make sure that you come back from your day hike (thankfully, we have not had to organize a rescue mission yet since we started operating the program in 2001). However, you hike and use our transportation services at your own risk. We simply provide the support. Guides are available on request at an extra charge.
Distances between coastal villages tend to be far and the infrastructure is still sparse. Instead of simply hiking from B&B to B&B, as is possible in Europe, you will be staying 2-4 days with each host and hike from that central location. An advantage is that you get to know our friendly hosts and their communities, each one offering a different experience. You generally eat with the family. Please advise if you have any dietary requirements.
The hiking program is coordinated by Elke Dettmer of Points East, Pouch Cove, and normally your trip starts there at the northern tip of the East Coast Trail, leading from north to south. Elke is one of the volunteers who founded the trail in 1994 and she will provide you with orientation and maps for the area north of St. Johnís. This is where work to expand the trail (we are aiming for 540 km of mostly coastal hiking) is currently concentrated. For the 220 km from St. Johnís south to Cappahayden, which were officially opened in 2001, a set of maps as well as 2 volumes of an anticipated set of 5 hiking guides are available.
More maps are made available as the hiking paths north of St. John's are being completed.
From Points East, a renovated old fishermanís house at the edge of the ocean, you will experience your first hikes in the Cape St. Francis region to as far as Flatrock, Torbay, and St. John's.
The next few days you will be hiking between Fort Amherst, Cape Spear and Petty Harbour while staying in a B&B near Petty Harbour. From Petty Harbour you can hike the exciting, but strenuous ďSpoutĒ hike or choose to do easier hikes south of Bay Bulls. Here we recommend boat tours to the Witless Bay Bird Islands, an ecological reserve teeming with nesting seabirds, where early in the season icebergs and whales are often seen. Opportunities for sea kayaking can be arranged as well. Our next partners are located in Tors Cove. For intrepid hikers who want to cover all the currently accessible paths, Round Cove B&B in Cappahayden is our most southern partner. Your last host will help you get back to St. Johnís or to the airport.
For details on our partners, please follow the links to their websites. (Our Partners)
Please note: Because accommodations are small and easily filled, especially during high season from June-September, your itinerary may be altered by reversing the direction of your trip or by using additional hiker-friendly hosts.
$160/person/day based on sharing a room. Single hikers pay $190/day. *Please note that some of the partner hosts add 13% tax (HST) to the charge. This includes accommodation, 3 meals/day and complementary transportation to and from the hiking trails, as well as in-between B&Bs. For extras such as boat trips and sightseeing visits to the archaeological site at Ferryland your host may ask for additional fees. Please note that each partner gets paid separately, and not all accept debit (bank) cards.
To confirm your booking, we expect a deposit of $160/person (single hikers $190), preferably by cheque, to be made out and mailed to:
P.O. Box 286
Pouch Cove, NL A0A 3L0
This deposit will be returned if you have to cancel your trip for a valid reason, such as illness or accident. Please let us know asap if you run into any problems that prevent you from coming. Generally the deposit will be deducted from the invoice of our last host at the end of your hiking trip. By booking and making your deposit you agree to accept all liability for injury or loss sustained while on the hikes or being transported.
Besides hiking the East Coast Trail on your vacation, St. Johnís with its lively cultural scene is well worth visiting. Here you have access to a system of hiking trails in the city, the Grand Concourse. If you plan to spend another wonderful week or more in Newfoundland, our coordinator will be glad to make suggestions for further touring, sightseeing and hiking.