© Keith Nicol
Heather Nicol looks for birdlife along the estuary portion of the Indian River Trail.
We often think in western Newfoundland that we have the best hiking trails in Atlantic Canada.
After all Gros Morne National Park attracts hikers from around the world and over the past few years the Outer Bay of Islands Enhancement Committee has marked and sign posted some of the best coastal/mountain trails in the province in the Bottle Cove–Little Port area. As well, the International Appalachian trail group has been working on many trails along the entire west coast. But there are some great trails in central Newfoundland as we found out when we headed to the King’s Point-Springdale area recently.
King’s Point is located on Highway 391 (take the Springdale turnoff from the Trans-Canada Highway) and is about a two-hour drive from Corner Brook. We hiked several trails that have a lot of variety and an interested hiker could easily spend a couple of days walking some of the trails that we explored.
Let’s start with the longest trail-the Alexander Murray Trail which is located virtually in the community of King’s Point. This trail is eight kilometres long and climbs to a summit of about 1,000 feet. Overall there are 2,200 stairs ... so you will get a good workout. The trail highlights include, views of three waterfalls and the summit lookout platforms offer a commanding view of the entire area. The trail is very well marked and you should allow a minimum of three hours to do the trip.
Nearby is the community of Rattling Brook and there is a short trail of about 600 metres — one way — to a scenic waterfall. It too has many stairs, but the shorter distance makes it a good one for a wide range of hikers. There is a great place to have a picnic lunch across the road from the base of the trail.
In Springdale, there is a relatively new 5.6-km walking trail along the scenic Indian River. It has several access points, but if you want to start at the estuary end of the trail watch for signs in the community or go to 49 29.433 N and 56 04.484 W where there is a large parking lot. There we enjoyed the extensive boardwalked trail and interpretative signage. Be sure to bring your binoculars to help with bird sitings. The other end of the trail starts at the George Huxter Memorial RV and Tent Park where there is a waterfall and salmon ladder on the Indian River.
Another interesting spot that we were told about by Tracey Penney, manager of the Riverwood Inn in Springdale, is Glassy Beach. “You can get to Glassy Beach by driving .8 km on the gravel road at the far end of Springdale. Here is my cellphone number if you have any questions,” she told us as we headed out for the day. We easily found the short 140-m trail from the road to the beach (look for a sign Bowers 136136 at the trailhead or go to 49 30.946 N and 56 00.810 W) and the small beach was covered in hundreds of smoothed, wave washed fragments of broken glass. Amazing!
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org