I spent Victoria Day (a.k.a. May Long Weekend) the best way possible: outdoors exploring a place I’d never been. La Manche Provincial Park has been on my list for quite a while. It’s only 45 minutes outside of St. John’s and has a lot to offer. There are swimming holes, a campground, and a hiking trail. And not just any hiking trail– one of the East Coast Trail paths runs right through the park. La Manche is the perfect day trip for anyone who just needs a little break from the city.
La Manche Village Path runs from the suspension bridge in La Manche Provincial Park to Bauline East. The website says it goes all the way to Tors Cove, which I guess is correct but the sign marks the trailhead in Bauline East so we didn’t bother with the Tors Cove arm.
If entering the trail at the suspension bridge, you can park in the provincial park for a fee, or at the end of La Manche Road for free, which is about a kilometre past the entrance to the park. Drive down La Manche Road until the end, where there is a small parking area and a sign (pictured below) which marks the entrance to the trail. After about a kilometre and a half of easy walking, you’ll reach La Manche Village and the suspension bridge. This was honestly the best part of the whole hike. La Manche Village is a former settlement and you can still see many of the foundations of the homes that used to exist there years ago. It’s kind of an eerie feeling to stand in the very spot where someone once cooked, slept, laughed, and loved. The suspension bridge replaced the original bridge which was destroyed by waves (hard to imagine on a gorgeous day like the one we experienced) and is quite unique in the province, especially so far off the grid. Plus, the views from this place are amazing. It’s worth checking out, even if just for a perfect picnic location!
Once you’re finished soaking up the gorgeous views, waterfalls, and historic abandoned village, head across the suspension bridge and onward on the trail. Doctor’s Cove is only a short hike from the bridge. There are a few flights of stairs as well as some solid inclines, so you’re in for a bit of a workout but nothing brutal. Doctor’s Cove is a steep downhill to a rocky beach area which is so peaceful and secluded. Another great spot for a picnic. Totally worth the climb back up to the trail. We even got a small little glimpse of an iceberg that was peeking out from behind a cliff.
Honestly, once you hike up out of Doctor’s Cove, don’t bother heading all the way to Bauline East unless you’re truly just out for the fresh air because there isn’t much to see on the rest of the trail. It’s basically a backroad ATV trail. We didn’t go all the way to Tors Cove because we were bored with the trail. But please, let me know if we missed something amazing because we will go back again! From my experience, La Manche Village Path is an amazing afternoon hike if that’s all the time you have. Take your time, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the scenery.
Have you hiked La Manche Village Path? What’s your favourite path on the East Coast Trail? Let us know in the comments or on social media (@twowildtides), we love hearing from our readers! And please, check out our other posts about the East Coast Trail hikes that we’ve done: