The East Coast Trail has built a wilderness hiking trail system which links through 32 communities. The segments between each community are known as paths. A path begins and ends at entry or exit points called trail head locations at the north and south end of each community. Paths within the same community will be linked by community roads.
When choosing a hike you must consider the length of the path, the average time listed to complete and the path difficulty rating. Length of path stated are all distance for one way.
- EASY: These paths are generally 2-7km in length, will typically have elevation changes less than 25 m. Hikers will experience good trail conditions. Structures along the path may include bridges, stepping stones, boardwalks, steps and retaining walls. The Easy paths are very popular with hikers and are usually found to have many more structures to preserve the original footpath.
- MODERATE: These paths will range from 4 to 11 km in length. Elevation changes of less than 75 m will occur and may occur on a more frequent basis. Hikers will experience structures such as bridges, stepping stones, boardwalks. Boardwalks may not cover all wet areas, steeper climbs may occur.
- DIFFICULT: These paths are 9-17km in length, will typically have elevation changes up to 150m. Hikers may experience more rugged trail conditions but will definitely enjoy a true wilderness experience. Some structures may be present over large streams, wet areas, etc.
- STRENUOUS: These paths will be longer in length, have major elevation changes over 150 m. These paths may have some structures and bridges. One of our Signature Paths - The Spout falls in this category.
Note: Conditions on each path may vary, due to the uniqueness of each path, please refer to the path detail pages for each specific path. Current Path conditions due to a storm or other unexpected situations may occur, these will be updated as known on these path detail pages under Current Path Status.
The use of an East Coast Trail map is recommended when hiking a path. Each map gives an overall difficulty rating but also notes changes in the hike terrain along the route.
Hiking time for paths and estimated hours needed
For safe hiking, consider your speed of hiking and your physical condition, understand the elevation changes (the number of climbs and descents on the path), be aware of the obstacles that may be on the path as large streams to be waded, steep inclines and trees down on the trail, and please add in time for all the stops you will make at the attractions along the trail.