Hiking the East Coast Trail

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Are you planning a visit to Newfoundland’s famous East Coast Trail? Wondering what to expect when hiking the East Coast of Newfoundland or what types of animals you may encounter along the way? This Newfoundland East Coast Trail list of Frequently Asked Questions will help you prepare for your next East Coast Trail hike and ensure you have a world-class Newfoundland East Coast Trail hiking adventure.

For more details on the East Coast Trail visit our first East Coast Trail FAQ

Are there bears on the East Coast Trail?

Although many people will tell you bears are not found on the East Coast Trail and the Avalon Peninsula, this is not true. Hikers, berry pickers, and outdoor enthusiasts have been reporting unconfirmed sightings of black bears in and around the East Coast Trail for years. In the fall of 2019, Jason Wells took a video of a black bear while he was berry picking on the East Coast Trail and posted it online for everyone to see. Still don’t believe black bears can be found on the East Coast Trail? Just take a look at this video of a bear eating berries on the East Coast Trail.
Video Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/black-bear-avalon-1.5315902

Can I camp on the East Coast Trail?

Wilderness camping is permitted anywhere on crown land in Newfoundland, which is pretty much everywhere that’s not privately owned, including along the East Coast Trail. If you’re looking for great backcountry camping spots in and around the East Coast Trail, you don’t have to look very far. Some of the best places to camp near the East Coast Trail are on the numerous beaches with sheltered enclaves like Doctor’s Cove beach near the famous suspension bridge close to the historic community of La Manche.

Can I bring my dog on the East Coast Trail?

Yes, you can bring your dog with you on the East Coast Trail but, just like in all public places, your dog should be on a leash. When out having a great time with your dog on the East Coast Trail, be sure to practice leave no trace by bringing something to pick up dog poop with and packing out whatever you pack in.

Do I have to pay a fee to hike on the East Coast Trail?

There are no fees to hike on the East Coast Trail, it’s free for everyone to enjoy. The East Coast Trail is managed by the East Coast Trail Association, a non-profit organization run mainly by volunteers who work hard to help people enjoy this great trail network in Eastern Newfoundland. If you love the East Coast Trail and want to give back, you can always make a donation to the East Coast Trail Association. They do great work.

Can I park overnight on the East Coast Trail Trailhead?

Yes, you can park for free overnight on most East Coast Trail trailheads. Be sure to observe parking signs and respect local community rules for parking since most East Coast Trail hikes start and end near people’s homes. If you are hiking or snowshoeing on the East Coast Trail during the winter, be sure to be mindful of winter parking bans in some areas,

Am I permitted to berry pick on the East Coast Trail?

Berry picking is a favourite pastime for anyone visiting Newfoundland’s backcountry, including the East Coast Trail. Newfoundland berries here are prolific throughout the summer and fall, and the East Coast Trail is a great place to berry pick. There are no restrictions on berry picking on the East Coast Trail so snack away.

Can I pick mushrooms on the East Coast Trail?

If you are an experienced forager, you will be pleased to know that the East Coast Trail is a great place to collect may forest favourites, including chanterelle mushrooms which are found all over the East Coast Trail in forest nooks and crannies, usually from late spring until early fall. If you’re new to mushroom picking be sure to learn how to identify mushrooms properly and discover more about foraging in Newfoundland before eating what you pick since poisonous mushrooms are also found in Newfoundland. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between species, especially to the untrained eye, so get a book, go with an experienced friend, or sign up for an afternoon lesson with a professional. Chanterelle mushrooms are very aromatic, meaty, and pair great with chicken and pork.

How hard are East Coast Trail Hikes?

The East Coast Trail offers everything from easy evening strolls to multi-day wilderness backpacking adventures. Newfoundland’s East Coast Trail has something for everyone, and with a little planning, it’s easy to choose an East Coast Trail Adventure that’s perfect for you.
Find out more about the best East Coast Trail hikes on our blog or give us a call for some custom trail hiking ideas. We want you to have a great time and make the most of your time on the East Coast Trail. 

What should I bring with me on an East Coast Trail hike?

The answer to this greatly depends on which East Coast Trail hike you plan on doing. Will you be doing the causal evening stroll on the first part of the Tinker’s Point Path near Fork Restaurant and Whale House Guest House? If so, you can go in your sneakers with a glass of wine in your hand. Alternatively, if you’re planning on tackling the spout hike multi-day adventure, you will need sleeping bags, headlamps, a tent, sturdy boots, and a dozen other things. If you’re new to hiking, start with a day hike or an evening stroll to get warmed up. The Tinker’s Point to Tor’s Cove trail and Bauline to Doctor’s Cove East Coast Trail hikes are classic day hikes and great first time trails for anyone looking to experience East Coast Newfoundland hiking for the first time. Other options include short coastal walk sections like the first sections of Tinkers Point Path and Beaches Path in the middle of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Mobile. 

Are there Hot Tubs or Hot Springs near the East Coast Trail?

If you’re looking to hike in the day and enjoy luxury at night, consider a visit to Whale House Guest House when exploring in and around the Tinker’s Point and Beaches Path Trail. Located directly on the East Coast Trail right in the middle of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Whale House offers boutique-style private suites with oceanside hot tubs ideal for soothing your muscles after a day of hiking on the trails. This area is known for humpback whales and the hot tubs overlook humpback whale feeding grounds.Blue Whale Private Hot Tub Deck

Can I mountain bike on the East Coast Trail?

Because the East Coast Trail is designed for walking, hiking, and trekking, riding bicycles on the trail is not permitted. Most East Coast Trail hiking paths aren’t conducive to biking, and riding a bike on the trail can damage it making it harder for hikers to enjoy the paths. The East Coast Trail isn’t a great place for biking, but there are plenty of other places on the Avalon Peninsula that are great for mountain biking. If you’re looking for some easy cross-country mountain biking, check out the backcountry trail networks around Mobile First Pond and the Avalon Wilderness Reserve just inland from Mobile Bay in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.

Am I permitted to ocean fish anywhere along the East Coast Trail?

Catch and release ocean fishing is open year-round in Newfoundland, with catch and retain fisheries open for different species at different times of the year. The Newfoundland Cod Food Fishery is also open on certain days throughout the summer and fall. This means if you’re out adventuring on a calm day and want to put a hook in the ocean, you’re welcome to do so, and you don’t even need to have a fishing license. It’s also possible to Trout Fish and Salmon Fish in certain areas in and around the East Coast Trail (fishing license required). For more information on fishing rules and regulations in Newfoundland, visit the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website.

Can I drive my snowmobile or ATV on the East Coast Trail?

If you plan on listening to music when hiking the East Coast Trail, it’s best to use a pair of earphones instead of playing the music on an external speaker since playing loud music can negatively impact wildlife and take away from the experience of others enjoying the trail. It’s surprising just how far sound can carry in a quiet area like the trails along Newfoundland’s East Coast.

Do I still have to worry about hypothermia if I’m not hiking in winter?

In Newfoundland, you can experience all four seasons in a single afternoon. It’s possible for it to snow in July or be as hot as a summer day in the middle of January. Because the jet stream and gulf stream run straight through and beside Newfoundland, the weather on the East Coast Trail can change drastically in a short amount of time, leaving many hikers unprepared and surprised at how fast conditions can change. Hypothermia is a real consideration all year for anyone adventuring in the Newfoundland backcountry.

Do I have to stick to the trail when exploring the East Coast Trail?

Regardless of the type of explorer you are or the amount of experience you have, it’s important to always know where you are, be able to navigate, and have the skills to figure out where you are in case you do get disoriented. Sticking to the trail is the best way to say on track and keep your bearings since venturing off the beaten path can quickly make a person disoriented, Saying this, if you’re looking to go further and explore more, and have the skills and tools to navigate in the wilderness, venturing off the beaten path can take you to places very few people get a chance to see and explore. The backcountry is open to everyone, and there is no rule prohibiting you from venturing off the trail. Just remember, there is a lot of wilderness surrounding the East Coast Trail, and getting lost can have life-threatening consequences. Be prepared before you go, and have a great time exploring the great Newfoundland wilderness. 

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About Us

Whale House Guest House offers luxury boutique private suites with outdoor hot tubs overlooking humpback whale feeding grounds. Located next to the east coast trail in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just 30 min from downtown St. John’s.

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