Sampling hiking trails in central Newfoundland

Published on July 22, 2014
Icebergs photographed from the Cobbler’s Island Trail in Brighton.
Submitted photo

Most of our hiking suggestions in Destinations deal with trails in western Newfoundland, but we also take trips to central Newfoundland to explore that part of the province as well.

We recently returned from the Triton-Brighton area, which is only about 230 kilometres from Corner Brook. The idea was to check out some new hiking trails, see some icebergs and also visit Long Island which we had never been to before.

We happened to hit some extremely warm weather so we didn’t end up hiking as much as we had planned, but the icebergs were amazing and that in itself is worth a visit.

We arrived in Brighton (at the end of Highway 380) just in time for lunch, but we had a hard time eating since there was an iceberg right in the harbour that had just had a large chunk of it break off.

“That happened just before you arrived” a fisherman told us.

“Come down on my wharf to get a better view.”

Before long two more cars had stopped and soon he had a wharf full of tourists chatting and taking pictures.

Then while we were all watching another big piece broke off. Apparently, there were other larger bergs in view from the short hiking trail on the other side of town so off we went to check those out.

The Cobbler’s Island trail (21 0598697 E 5489434 N) is short but gives a great view of the rugged coastline and we counted 15 icebergs from there. The trail has many stairs but it is only 150 metres to the main lookout platform. Also there was a gazebo part near the beginning  which was great for getting out of the sun since by then temperatures were unseasonably warm at 32-33 C.

We also discovered the Sea Cliff Trail (trail head at 21 0598430 E 5489564 N), which provided great views of icebergs as well. This trail is also short (135 m, one way ) and has a couple of lookout platforms.

The next day we took the short 10 minute ferry ride to Long Island from Pilley’s Island and we were in luck because a large iceberg had parked itself along the ferry route which we got to see up close.

Long Island is composed of three communities and they are connected by nine kilometres of paved road (there were lots of side gravel roads that we didn’t venture on).

We drove directly to Wards Harbour at the far end of the island and there were many large icebergs in the distance.

We saw signs for another hiking trail — The Beothuk Trail — but the temperatures were still in the 30s and simply too hot to hike any distance.

We dropped into the Long Island Heritage Centre and Tea Room on our way back to the ferry and we were told the hike is about 1.5 hours long and passes by some fine coastal scenery. We thought it would be a perfect hike for cooler weather.

The local heritage community has done a great job with a display of Long Island historical information and the tea room has lots of good inexpensive food on the menu.

Where else can you get a mooseburger for $3 and a piece of partridge berry pie for $2?

We ended up taking the 1 p.m. ferry back to Pilley’s Island and then headed back to Corner Brook ending another great adventure in central Newfoundland.

No matter where you travel in the province, be sure to get off the main roads and explore the numerous islands, coves and bays that exist at the end of the road.