The western region of Newfoundland is a beautiful and geologically unique place to visit and is great for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. There are hiking trails, adventure tours, and parks that are internationally recognized as well as some that are less well known, but equally as incredible.
I recommend experiencing the West Coast of NL in the summertime via road trip over a long weekend. Find a great playlist for the road, toss the tent in the trunk, and roll down the windows. It’s a great ride.
Your first stop should be the Alexander Murray Trail in scenic Green Bay. The trail is located in King’s Point (accessed via the TCH-Springdale exit). The hike takes you to three gorges and two breathtaking waterfalls that are worth the 2200 stairs that are spread along the trail, which takes about 2-3 hours (return).
Spend your first night in Blow-Me-Down Provincial Park (yeah- you read that right). The campground is located on a rocky beach with crystal clear water and a stunning view of Blow-Me-Down Mountain. Just off of the beach, you will find the Governor’s Stairway, a short hiking trail (about 15 minutes each way) that brings you to an observation deck overlooking the Bay of Islands and Lark Harbour. The best part about this trail is the stairway itself- it’s built right into a cliff!
If you have some extra time to spare, drive through Lark Harbour and into Bottle Cove. There is a boardwalk that brings you on a short walk to a headland with a great view of a sea cave. You have to, however, make time for Copper Mine Falls. The waterfall is only a two-minute walk through the woods, but if you are up for more of a challenge, hike the trail that leaves from the parking lot. It is quite difficult but offers some incredible views.
I cannot write this article and not mention Cache Rapids Stable. Located in Reidville, just off of the Viking Trail, you’ll find an equestrian ranch. If you enjoy horseback riding or are up for trying something new, stop by and take a trail ride, stroll around the barn, and have a chat with the owners, Ruth and Kevin. They are lovely people who run a fantastic business!
Head up the Viking Trail toward Gros Morne National Park and take the Trout River exit at Wiltondale. Grab supper that evening at the Old Loft Restaurant in the Woody Point downtown historic district. The dining room in this restaurant is so quaint and cozy, and they have the best onion rings!
Lomond Campground is an excellent pick for the second night of your western NL road trip. It is a small, quiet campground with a rocky beach and a breathtaking view of Killdevil Mountain. There are 3 tent sites located right on the water, try to snag one of those if you can!
While in the area, I strongly recommend taking a guided tour of the Tablelands. Located between Woody Point and Trout River, this mountain range is hard to miss. With a landscape resembling that of Mars, it is one of only two places in the world where the Earth’s mantle is exposed. Incredible!
Spend a night in Trout River at the Trout River Campground; and if by now you’re tired of the tent, rent an oTENTik! While in the area, be sure to drop by Trout River Pond for a dip and to get a fantastic view of the back-side of the Tablelands.
Lastly, any hiking enthusiast would be awestruck by the Green Gardens trail. This approximately 15-kilometre loop takes you across the barren landscape of the Tablelands, down through the thick boreal forest, and out to the coastline where there are endless grassy fields, and views that words cannot describe. When I hiked this trail, I could hardly believe that I was actually in Newfoundland. Follow the stairs down to the beach, where if the tide is low, you can walk around the headland and into a massive sea cave with vaulted ceilings. I was not lucky enough to arrive during low tide, so if you get into the sea cave be sure to share some pictures! Walk to the end of the beach and explore around a little, you may find the secret spot- good luck!
A tip for the road: the best pit-stop on the west coast is the Irving in Deer Lake. Super clean washrooms, a restaurant with homemade food and lovely staff, wifi, and plug-ins under each booth to charge up a phone or camera.
What is your favourite thing to do on the west coast of Newfoundland?
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