Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Accommodations and Services
- What kinds of accommodations are available?
- Are there campsites available along the trail?
- Will there be RV parking available?
- Where can I acquire food and beverages?
- Where can I acquire fuel?
- What medical and police services are available?
- What can I use for transportation?
- Will I be able to use my cell phone?
- Where can I find more info on accommodations and things to see?
- Are there campsites available along the trail?
- Where can I find water along the trail?
- How do I move my baggage from one location to the next?
- Will I find washrooms along the trail?
Wildlife and Nature
- Will I encounter bears on the trail?
- Will I encounter bees on the trail?
- Will I encounter mosquitos and black flies?
- Are pets allowed on the trail?
- What is the best time to see whales
- What is the best time to see icebergs?
- What will the weather be like?
Hiking trails and information
- Are there any fees involved in hiking the trail?
- How do I obtain a membership?
- Is there any geocaching on the East Coast Trail?
- What guidebooks are available?
- What is the difference between the guidebooks and the map?
- Are there any guided hiking tours?
- What do I gain from buying a map?
- Where can I buy a map?
- What is the best trail?
- Where can I find details about the trail?
- Where are the trail heads located?
- Do any of the trails loop?
- Can I take my ATV on the trail?
Accommodations and Services
There are many types of accommodations available along the trail. Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) are most prevalent. Among the B&Bs located along the trail are Best View Efficiency Units and the Sapphire Pub in Bay Bulls; Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland; Points East, The Cottage by the Sea, and Trail Connections in Pouch Cove; Kay's Chalet Bed and Breakfast located on the Southern Shore; the Bonne Esperance House Heritage Inn in St. John's; and Bear's Cove Inn in Witless Bay.
It is recommended for Bed & Breakfasts to be booked as early as possible, as some operations are small and may not be available at short notice. Most B&B operators will transport you to your next destination on the trail. Trail Connections will book B&Bs in advance for hikers as well as transport luggage from place to place.
We have just listed a few that advertise on the East Coast Trail Association website.
Please refer to our Accommodations and Services page.
La Manche Provincial Park campsite is located 53 km south of St. John's. In addition, there are five designated campsites along the trail: the Miner Point campsite along Motion Path; the Little Bald Head campsite along the Spout Path; the Roaring Cove campsite on the Flamber Head Path; the Long Will campsite on the Cape Broyle Head Path; and the Gallows Cove campsite along the Mudder Wet Path. These campsites are very basic with no services. If you are unable to camp at a designated campsite, it is permissible to camp on the trail as long as it is away from the treadway and you leave no trace.back to top
RV parking is available in La Manche Provincial Park and the Celtic Rendezvous Cottages in Bauline East, as well as privately operated locations with dumping stations.back to top
There will be plenty of places to find food and beverage in the communities along the trail, from restaurants and supermarkets to smaller convenience stores. All tap water is drinkable unless otherwise noted. Many accommodations will pack picnic lunches for the hikers staying at their establishment.back to top
There are gas stations all along the highway that is adjacent to the East Coast Trail. Some provide diesel, while others provide propane refilling and camp fuel. Four rural hardware stores also offer a selection of camp fuels. Bigger hardware chains can be found only thirty minutes away from the trail by highway if your camp fuel needs are more specific. Large and small bags of barbeque charcoal are available at most stores.back to top
911 emergency services are nowThe area is served by a number of medical clinics and pharmacies. Most local stores will carry over the counter medicines. Ambulance transportation to major hospital facilities in St. John's is available 24/7. There are RCMP depots in Trepassey ( 438-2700) and Ferryland ( 432-2440), and there is a sub-station in Bay Bulls that patrols the entire region.back to top
Rental cars are available from the airport and in St. John's area. Buses and taxis are frequent and regular in St. John's, but do not extend far into rural areas. It is best to inquire at the time of booking if airport and city hotel pick-up/drop-off service is available or can be arranged from your desired rural accommodation. There are taxi services that provide transportation from St. John's to Cape St. Francis, such as East End Taxi, and from St. John's south Cappahayden, such as Molloys Taxi Service, A+ Taxi and Tours, and Southern Shore Taxi. Make sure to book and confirm your rate in advance.back to top
Due to the trail's location along the coastline, there will be blank spots in cell and mobile phone coverage, but cell phone coverage will still be available. There will be land line telephones at accommodations, and most have high speed or wireless internet service. GPS coverage is consistent all along the East Coast Trail. The main service providers are Rogers, Aliant, and Telus.back to top
More information on accommodations and places to go can be found at the Irish Loop Tourism Association and Destination St. John's, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador's official tourism website.back to top
La Manche Provincial Park campsite is located 53 km south of St. John's. In addition, there are five designated campsites along the trail: the Miner Point campsite along Motion Path; the Little Bald Head campsite along the Spout Path; the Roaring Cove campsite on the Flamber Head Path; the Long Will campsite on the Cape Broyle Head Path; and the Gallows Cove campsite on Spurwink Island Path. These five sites have primitive toilets and are otherwise basic, wooden platforms and no other services. If you are unable to camp at a designated campsite, it is permissible to camp on the trail as long as it is away from the treadway and you leave no trace. No campfires are allowed anywhere on the trail.back to top
You can purchase water in communities along the trail, or at local restaurants. We do not recommend drinking the water in streams along the trail without a water purification filter or tablets.back to top
Most local accommodation providers will often assist you in getting your baggage moved from one location to the next. There are some local taxi providers as well. There are also tour operator groups who can make arrangements for such services.back to top
There are public washrooms to be found in most communities along the trail in visitor centres, restaurants, some hardware stores, etc. Where known we have published this information on our path detail pages. You may find this kind of information on Community Websites (see our links page).
Along the trail there are a few primitive outdoor washrooms in the campsites identified (refer to campsite question). Otherwise practice LEAVE NO TRACE standards for waste disposal.back to top
What you wear will naturally depend on the weather. Be sure to bring along layers of clothing which helps to "wick" moisture, and keep you and your feet dry. Quick-dry fabrics and different types of wool are great choices.back to top
You should wear only hiking boots or trail -type hoes designed for hiking. Sneakers, street running shoes, sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for the trail and are strongly discouraged, because they lack ankle support or a sufficiently hardy sole to protect from bruising and blistering.back to top
Wildlife & Nature
There are no bears on the Avalon Peninsula, where the East Coast Trail is located. It is advised, however, not to feed any stray dogs you may run across while hiking through a community, unless you want to gain an inconvenient friend for life. Coyote and fox tracks have been seen on the trail.back to top
You may see bees and wasps along the trail, but they are harmless as long as they are not provoked. Wasps' grey ball-shaped nests can be found both overhead and at ground level. If you see six or more flying around you, you are likely in the vicinity of their nest and should move forward vigorously. Be sure to carry a first aid kit.back to top
The mosquitoes or flies come out around June or when the weather warms up. Over the counter spray or cream can be used as a preventative method against most. Mosquitoes are not as prevalent near the seacoast. Black flies also come out around June or when the weather warms up.
Black flies also bite instead of sting, so clothing that covers skin is the best preventative method. The itching of potential bites can be stopped by After Bite. There have been no reports of insects carrying lyme or similar diseases in Newfoundland.back to top
Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are under the control of the owner and are properly cleaned up after. For more information please read Responsible Dog Owners, Wildlife and Traps issued by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The best time to see whales is June-July, although there can never be guarantees of sightings. Boat tour operators have additional information.back to top
The best time to see icebergs is May and June, though there can never be guarantees on sightings.back to top
Given that the weather in Newfoundland is always subject to change, it's a good idea to regularly check the forecast. You can do so at the Newfoundland section of Environment Canada.back to top
Hiking Trails & Information
The trails can be hiked free of charge. We do, however, encourage hikers to take out a membership ($25 for an individual/family membership; $100 for a community/organization) membership or donate to the East Coast Trail Association. The East Coast Trail Association is a registered charity. Tax receipts are issued for all donations over $10.00 and in full for all memberships.back to top
You can join online using a major credit card, or forward a cheque to the East Coast Trail Association office once you have completed the information requested online. You may also call (709) 738-4453 and we can process your membership via phone using a major credit card. Individual/family memberships cost $25 and community/organization memberships cost $100 and life memberships are $500. The cost of membership entitles you to a charitable tax receipt. Our office address is:East Coast Trail Association
50 Pippy Place, Suite 9
P.O. Box 8034
St. John's, NL A1B 3M7 back to top
There is geocaching on the East Coast Trail – further information can be found at the Brown Rabbit Cabins website www.brownrabbit.nl.ca.back to top
The East Coast Trail Association has published two guidebooks for the first developed sections of the trail, and is now working to make guidebook-type content available digitally for the whole developed trail. Guidebook #1 covers Fort Amherst to Petty Harbour – Maddox Cove. Guidebook #2 covers Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove to Bay Bulls. Both books contain historical background information on the community and trail. For more information check out our Trail Shopback to top
The maps contain hands-on information on the trail details needed for hiking; the guidebooks contain historical and background information on the trail, the community, flora and fauna. The maps cover the entire developed trail, whereas the current guidebooks only cover sections. Maps should be used for planning your hike; guidebooks should be used for additional information. Please visit our Trail Shop.back to top
Our public hiking schedule can be found under Scheduled Hikes. The East Coast Trail Association's public hiking program relies on volunteer hike leaders. Public hikes are scheduled each weekend during the hiking season. Hikes are free and open to the public. If you have enjoyed your guided hike, please consider joining the East Coast Trail Association as a member, or making a donation online, to help offset the cost of maintaining and enhancing the trail.back to top
Using a map ensures that there is less likelihood of getting lost on the trail, and helps to locate the trail-heads of each trail path. The map set contains outlines of each of the trails. Despite the trail signage, without a map there is always going to be a greater chance of getting lost on the trail. Our maps identify the trail rating, mileage along the trail, landmarks, roads, cultural features such as parking and campsites, and natural features such as ponds and wetlands.back to top
Maps can be ordered online from the East Coast Trail website and paid for with a major credit cards. Or, purchase in person from the East Coast Trail office at 50 Pippy Place, St. John's, with a major credit card, cash or cheques. Office hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm Newfoundland Standard Time. Maps can also be purchased at various Eastern Avalon businesses. Please see the Trail Shop for on-line purchasing and store locations.back to top
This depends on what you are looking for in terms of length, difficulty, and the time you are allotting for hiking and any other attractions that may be offered along the way. The ECTA does not make specific hiking recommendations, as each hiker is as unique.back to top
Details about the trail can be found on our website or by calling our office (709-738-4453) or through obtaining the literature offered by the association. The most detail is on the trail maps, including access points, ground conditions, and the length and difficulty. Some sections of the trail can be done as half-day hikes, others full day and some may be best done as overnights. Two or more shorter sections can be done consecutively in the same day. Difficulty takes into account both ground conditions (ground covered and ascent) and length. The trail ratings used by the ECTA are Easy, Moderate, Difficult, and Strenuous. Easy trails have good trail conditions, minor elevation changes (less than 25 m), and are usually less than 7 km in length. Moderate trails have average trail conditions, moderate elevation changes (less than 75 m), and are usually less than 12 km in length. Difficult trails have rugged trail conditions, significant elevation changes (up to 150 m), and are usually less than 12 km in length. Strenuous trails have poor trail conditions, major elevation changes (over 150 m) and usually cover a very long distance.back to top
East Coast Trail maps are the best method of clearly locating trail heads. Typically, trail heads are located at the north and southern ends of a trail community, in proximity to a main road passing through that community. There are signs at each trail head, and to indicate hiker parking. The trail heads are located meters before the start of the trail path.back to top back to top
No. The East Coast Trail is a single-track, wilderness pedestrian hiking trail which closely follows the natural features and geography of the coastline. The trail is only safely suitable for hiking on foot.back to top