Thursday, 10 March 2016

Stephenville Area Trails

Stephenville is the gateway to the Port-au-Port Peninsula. If you like to hike, there are several great trails in the area ranging from easy to fairly challenging.

In this blog, links are orange. If you'd like more information about any of these trails, click the link which will take you to our Bob's Newfoundland page about that trail.

Erin Mountain Trail in Barachois Pond Provincial Park is quite challenging. The reward is a spectacular view of the park and Bay St. George. It is also very interesting to see the back country on the other side of the mountain.

The first section of the trail is very easy hiking with well maintained boardwalks and stairs. It takes you about 1/3 of the way up the mountain to a very nice lookout. The rest of the trail to the top of the mountain is fairly challenging. There are stairs, but there are also fairly steep climbs through a very rocky trail. In the Spring, you may be hampered by melting snow runoff, which tends to run down the trail.

When you reach the top of the mountain, take care to stay back from the edges. It can be very windy and weather conditions on the top of the mountain can vary a lot from the base. We went up on a very nice day and had lunch at the summit before our return hike. The total return time for us was about 4 hours.

The Blanche Brook Trail starts right in Stephenville and runs behind some businesses and homes. It's an easy trail that leads to remnants of a petrified forest. You don't have to be a geologist to easily identify the rocks in the stream bed that look like pieces of wood.

The Port-au-Port Peninsula is joined to Newfoundland by a narrow isthmus called The Gravels. It's natural, but looks like it's man-made. The parking lot for The Gravels Trail is on your right just across the isthmus.

The trail is easy hiking and is incredibly well maintained. It's quite lengthy with a couple of offshoot trails. You can decide to do part of it if you like, because it follows the shore of Port-au-Port Bay. It's spectacular scenery all the way.

Don't miss out on driving The French Ancestral Route around the Port-au-Port Peninsula. You will want to stop at the Hidden Falls in Sheaves Cove. It's well named, you could drive right through town and have no idea it was there. If you are not a hiker, you can see the falls from the parking lot. You'll be amazed to learn that all the trails were built and maintained by a local lobster fisherman and property owner. There are two trails. One takes you closer to the foot of the falls. The second trail goes along Bay St. George to a second waterfall that's right at the edge of the bay.

Boutte du Cap at Cape St. George is home to some of the most spectacular scenery on the peninsula. When you drive into the park, the first things you see are the Acadian Monument and a traditional bread oven. The Bread Crumb trail starts behind the bread oven. It's an easy trail that's not really long.

Drive to the end of the point and there are two trails that take you to kittiwake colonies. These trails are more challenging. There is a pretty good climb on the upper trail. The cliffs here are breath-taking, the photographs cannot due them justice.

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