As part of our preparation for the Camino, we hiked several parts of the East Coast Trail. Our first venture was the Deadman’s Bay Path, which runs from Fort Amherst on the south side of St. John’s to Blackhead, which is a small community close to Cape Spear (the most easterly point in North America). The trail is rated difficult and is 10.6km long – estimated 4 to 7 hours of walking (it took us 5 hours at a fairly easy pace with one short stop for a snack).
We had hiked this trail ten years before and so were familiar with both its steep inclines and its breathtaking views (the reward for all those hills!) But it was a first for our 8-year old, and we thought it would be a good way to see how he handled a longish and fairly strenuous hike (spoiler alert: he finished the trail, got home, and immediately went out for a bike ride! So no worries there.)
The trail begins on the south side at the mouth of St. John’s Harbour with picturesque views of the Battery.
From there, it’s a bit of a scramble up the incline at Fort Amherst to the top. But the paths are well-marked, easy to navigate, are mostly wooded and feel secluded (even though the road is never that far away) and you are given unobstructed views of the spectacular landscape throughout the hike.
The trail has a lot of ups and downs, taking you through the hills, along a lovely pebble beach, and into the tiny coastal community of Blackhead. From there, it is a short drive or another 3.7km (rated moderate) to hike further to Cape Spear.
Here we are along the trail with Signal Hill in the background.
How this trail and the others we have completed compare to the Camino Primitivo, we don’t yet know! But preparing for the Camino has been a great excuse to get to know the amazing trails that can be found both in the city of St. John’s (known as the Grand Concourse) and along the east coast of NL.