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17 Best Hikes Near St. John’s Newfoundland

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Looking for the best hikes near St. John’s, Newfoundland? I got you! I grew up in St. John’s and love hiking, so I’ve explored most of the St. John’s hikes. I’ve even hiked the entire East Coast Trail!

One of the best parts about living in or visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland, is that you’re never far from a walking or hiking trail. There are easy walking trails in St. John’s as well as beautiful coastal hikes nearby you can do as day trips.

Many of these St. John’s hikes are part of the East Coast Trail, a 336 km trail that runs along the eastern edge of the Avalon Peninsula.

Since I’ve already written extensively about hiking the East Coast Trail (ECT), I’ll focus on other hiking trails in St. John’s for this post, with a few of my favorite ECT trails thrown in.

Hitting the trails is one of the best ways to soak in the beautiful landscapes of Newfoundland, so add a few of these St. John’s hiking trails to your itinerary!

lora hiking in newfoundland

BEST NEWFOUNDLAND HIKING APP

If you’re going hiking in St. John’s, be sure to download the trail map on AllTrails before heading out.

There isn’t service on most hiking trails in Newfoundland, but you can download the maps beforehand on AllTrails, which will work regardless of service. It’s saved me more than once!

Hiking St. John’s Newfoundland

1. Quidi Vidi Lake Trail

boats docked at habrour next to cliff in quidi vidi village

🥾 Distance: 3.8 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Easy | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

The Quidi Vidi Lake trail is an easy 3.8 km loop around Quidi Vidi Lake. It’s a fairly popular trail and is often crowded on a nice day.

While hiking along the trail, it’s worth adding a stop to Quidi Vidi village, one of the most picturesque spots in St. John’s. There is also a brewery there!

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike near Quidi Vidi, you can take Sugarloaf Path from Quidi Vidi Village to Logy Bay. It’s a challenging but rewarding 9km hike that takes about 4-5 hours. Stretching along rugged cliffs, the trail offers an exquisite panorama of the city and the vast Atlantic.

2. North Head Trail, Signal Hill

view of st johns at sunset over st johns narrows from the top of signal hill hiking trails
View from the top of Signal Hill

🥾 Distance: 1.7 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Signal Hill National Historic Site is one of the top attractions in St. John’s, offering stunning hiking trails.

No visit to St. John’s would be complete without experiencing the Signal Hill Trail. This 5 km network of trails is steeped in history and offers panoramic views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Cabot Tower, standing tall at the trail’s end, is a must-see. At the top, you’ll get sweeping views of the St. John’s Narrows and Fort Amherst across the way.

Located at the base of Signal Hill, the North Head Trail takes you around the head of St. John’s harbor.

This 1.7 km trail, though short, is steep and challenging yet incredibly rewarding. It takes you down 500 steps along the coastline and ends in the battery, one of the city’s most photographed places. You’ll love all the colorful houses!

You can also do this hike in reverse, starting from the battery, but it’s much more challenging.

north head hiking trail in st. john's newfoundland
North Head Trail, Signal Hill

You can also combine the Quidi Vidi Lake Loop and Signal Hill North Head Trail into one hike, which is 9km. It took me about three hours to do both.

3. Fort Amherst to Blackhead (Deadman’s Path)

old military guns at fort amherst st. john's newfoundland
Fort Amherst, St. John’s

🥾 Distance: 20 km out and back | 🎒 Difficulty: Challenging | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Fort Amherst National Historic Site is another fascinating historical site across the harbor from Signal Hill. There you can see the remains of a WWII battery complex comprising many rooms, stairways, and old artillery guns. It’s a fun place for photos!

While you can drive to Fort Amherst, you can also turn it into a hike if you can take Dead Mans Path (part of the East Coast Trail) from Fort Amherst to Blackhead. It’s a 10km hike one-way that’s quite steep. If you do it round-trip, expect this hike to take 4-7 hours, and come prepared.

4. Blackhead Path

lora looking out at the atlantic ocean on the blackhead path hiking trails
Blackhead Path, St. John’s, Newfoundland

🥾 Distance: 7.4 km out and back | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

The East Coast Trail Association combined Blackhead Path with the Cape Spear Path (a 15km total hike), but you can still do the shorter 3.7km hike from Blackhead to Cape Spear, which is a great option if you’re limited on time.

This path offers a moderate hike that will take you through various landscapes, including lush forests, open barrens, and rugged coastlines.

The trail is also well-known for its stunning coastal views, especially during sunrise and sunset. There’s no feeling like standing at the edge of North America, watching the sunrise! I love this hike, and it only takes about an hour one way.

5. Freshwater Bay Pond Loop

🥾 Distance: 5 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Easy | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Following the same road to Cape Spear, about halfway, there is a parking lot to the left where you can park and take the trail down to Freshwater Bay.

It’s an easy 5km out-and-back walk through verdant forests, cross babbling brooks, and emerge onto breathtaking, rocky cliff tops that provide great views of the Atlantic Ocean.

6. Cape Spear Hike

aerial photo of cape spear path hiking near st. john's newfoundland
Cape Spear Path

🥾 Distance: 10 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, offers some of the best hiking near St. John’s Newfoundland.

You can drive there and walk around the lighthouse or turn it into a longer hike by taking the East Coast Trail Cape Spear Path to Maddox Cove.

It’s a moderately challenging hike, but the views and experiences make it worth every step.

As you traverse the trail, you’re rewarded with magnificent views of steep cliffs, dramatic headlands, and, if you’re lucky, icebergs and whales in the distance.

And there’s more than just nature to this trail. You also get a taste of history, with WWII fortifications dotting the path. It’s a poignant reminder of the area’s historical significance.

7. Three Pond Barrens in Pippy Park

🥾 Distance: Various | 🎒 Difficulty: Easy | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Located in Pippy Park, Three Pond Barrens is a great place to go hiking with dogs because they can be off-leash. There’s a big network of trails here, and most are relatively flat.

Located within the city limits of St. John’s, this trail covers approximately 10 km, making it an ideal escape into nature that doesn’t require a long drive.

The path is relatively flat and suitable for hikers of all skill levels, but it still offers a beautiful and diverse range of landscapes. The trail is also used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter, making it a year-round destination.

8. Manuel River Trails

lora and a beagle at manuels riverin conception bay south newfoundland
Manuels River Trail

🥾 Distance: Various | 🎒 Difficulty: Easy | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Located in Conception Bay South is the Manuels River Trails. This gorgeous network of trails goes along the Manuels River, one of the most ancient rivers in North America.

The river is known for its diverse fossils, some of which date back 500 million years!

Don’t forget to drop by the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre at the trailhead. Here you can learn about the geology, flora, fauna, and the fascinating prehistoric past of the area.

It’s a lovely place to cool off in the summer as you can swim there!

9. Cobblers Path

atlantic ocean and sea cliffs in cobblers path hiking trails st. john's nl

🥾 Distance: 1.7 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

This is one of my favorite hikes on the East Coast Trail. It goes from Red Cliff to Outer Cove and only takes 1-2 hours to complete each way. You can park a car at either end or do it as a return trip.

The trail offers a stunning coastline, towering cliffs, and an opportunity to see whales breaching in the distance during migration season.

I’ve done this hike several times and never tire of it; it’s one of my favorite hikes in St. John’s! There is an extra lookout at the end of Logy Bay which is so gorgeous – don’t miss this!

10. Topsail Beach Bluff Trail

lora overlooking the atlantic ocean filled with ice at the top of topsail beach bluff

🥾 Distance: 1.9 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Located near Topsail Beach, the Topsail Beach Bluff Trail is a short but steep climb to the top of the bluff, where you can get views overlooking the ocean.

I went here when a bunch of pack ice had come in, and it was a great spot to view the expansive ice fields.

Best hikes near St. John’s Newfoundland

11. Gregory Normore Coastal Trail, Bell Island

🥾 Distance: 29.1 km total | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

If you’re looking for a fun day trip from St. John’s, take the ferry to Bell Island from Portugal Cove. You can walk around the island on the Gregory Normore Coastal Walking Trail!

Besides offering incredible views of the surrounding ocean, these trails also showcase Bell Island’s rich history. You can explore old mine entrances and learn about the island’s WWII history.

The trails are well-marked and relatively flat, making them suitable for all ages and fitness levels. I found it to be an amazing blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

12. The Tolt in Witless Bay

landscape photo of the town of witless bay with the ecological reserve in the distance
View from the Tolt in Witless Bay

The Irish Loop is a beautiful drive with some of the best hiking trails just outside St. John’s. It makes up a large part of the East Coast Trail, and you can do over a dozen hiking trails here.

The Tolt is a quick 10-minute hike to a gorgeous 360-viewpoint of Witless Bay.

On one side, you can see the ocean with the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve (a great place to see puffins In Newfoundland). On the other, you can see a beautiful sunset over the forest.

The trailhead is on Google Maps – you park next to the cemetery.

13. Ferryland Lighthouse Trail

boat in ferryland newfoundland

🥾 Distance: 1.9 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Easy | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Another great hike on the Irish Loop is the Ferryland Lighthouse Trail.

Leaving from the Colony of Avalon, this 25-minute walking trail leads you to the historic lighthouse. This is also where the Ferryland lighthouse picnics take place, which is a great activity to do on a summer day.

The local Lighthouse Picnics company can provide a delightful picnic basket to enjoy while taking in the sweeping vistas of the Atlantic. I’ll never forget the peacefulness of sitting at the edge of the continent, savoring my meal, and watching the icebergs drift by. Book early because they fill up fast!

14. Spurwink Island Path

lora looking out at berry head sea arch on spurwink island path, she is smiling thinking about how this is one of the best hikes near st john's newfoundland
Spurwink Island Path

🥾 Distance: 16 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Challenging | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

This is one of the most unique hikes on the East Coast Trail, but it’s about a two-hour drive to the trailhead from downtown St. John’s. Still, it’s worth the effort as it’s one of the best hikes near St. John’s Newfoundland.

You can do it as a one-way hike from Port Kirwan to Aquaforte, but if you’re by yourself, you can also do it as an in-and-out from Port Kirwan to the Berry Head Sea Arch, which is the most interesting part of the hike.

It’s not every day that you get to walk through such a unique geological formation! It’s a long and challenging trail, but the unforgettable coastal scenery makes it worth every step.

I did this hike by myself, which took about six hours (16 km round-trip).

15. Chance Cove Coastal Trail

coastal landscapes in chance cove newfoundland

🥾 Distance: 3.7 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Chance Cove has gotten much more popular over the last year, and with good reason. This place is gorgeous; parts made me feel like I had been transported back to Thailand!

It’s about a two hours drive from St. John’s, so this is definitely a day trip.

cliffs in chance cove newfoundland

The hike starts with a walk along the beach, and then you climb through the forest to the top, where the trail continues along the coast with several beautiful viewpoints.

As you follow along the trail, there are points you can climb down into various beaches and coves. It’s very steep, but there is a rope to help you get down. I highly recommend going down and exploring these areas, as it’s a completely different perspective and incredibly beautiful.

16. Sunnyside Centre Hill Trail

sunnyside centre hill trail

🥾 Distance: 10.1 km | 🎒 Difficulty: Challenging | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

Wanna hike to the highest point in Eastern Newfoundland? Go to the center hill in Sunnyside! It’s actually an ancient volcano.

The hike was recently upgraded, so the path is easy to follow there, although it does get challenging as you get closer to the top.

The views are incredible at the top but try to go on a clear day to make the most of this hike. It’s a 10km round-trip hike that took us about four houses, with a long break at the top for photos.

It’s a total of 384 meters, so this a challenging hike!

17. Stiles Cove Path

cliffs and turquoise water in Stiles Cove on the east coast trail
Stiles Cove

🥾 Distance: 15.1 km one-way | 🎒 Difficulty: Challenging | 🗺️ Find on AllTrails here

15.1 KM one-way | 5-7 hours | Moderate

Maybe I’m biased because Flatrock is my hometown, but this is one of the best hikes in Newfoundland. It’s got everything – rivers, waterfalls, bridges, coves, and cliffs!

This moderately difficult 15 km trail winds from Pouch Cove to Flatrock, with dramatic cliffside views. Stiles Cove, in particular, is a beautiful stop that features a nice waterfall and stunning shades of blue, turquoise water.

If you follow the route from Pouch Cove to Flatrock, you’ll end the trail at the Flatrock River, a wonderful place to swim in the summer (if the water is low). Do be very careful swimming here, as the currents are pretty strong.

What to bring hiking in Newfoundland

  • Navigation – ECT Maps, phone with offline maps, GPS, and or compass
  • Adequate hydration for the duration of the trek
  • Adequate Food (always bring more than you need)
  • Sun protection – sunscreen, sun hat, and sunglasses
  • First aid kit + insect repellant
  • Safety tools – lighter/Fire starter kit + whistle or safety alarm
  • Pocket Knife
  • Headlamp/flashlight + extra batteries
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Extra Layers (the weather can change quickly)!
  • A comfortable day pack to put all of this in

You will need a good pair of hiking boots for many hiking trails in St. John’s, especially around the ECT. Preferably something with ankle support that is waterproof/mudproof.

I wore my La Sportiva Hiking Boots while hiking this summer in St. John’s, and they have been amazing. I’ve stepped into giant puddles of muddy water, and they keep my feet nice and dry.

I also strongly recommend wearing a good pair of socks such as smart wool + an extra pair in case your feet get wet.

Check out my day hiking gear guide, which outlines everything you should bring on every hike.

Final thoughts: Hiking St. John’s Newfoundland

St. John’s and its surrounding regions in Newfoundland have some of Canada’s most breathtaking and rewarding hiking trails.

From the historical sites to the stunning coastlines, every trail offers its own unique and exciting adventures.

I’ve been fortunate enough to experience all of these trails firsthand, and I can tell you that each one offers a unique perspective of Newfoundland’s untamed beauty. Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenge or a novice looking for a scenic stroll, there’s a trail waiting for you.

Remember, while out on the trails, respect the nature around you. Leave no trace and keep our trails clean and preserved for generations to come.

Planning a trip to Newfoundland? Check out these posts!

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Author

  • Lora Pope

    Lora is a full-time digital nomad on a quest to visit every country in the world and pet as many dogs as she can along the way. Over the last 15 years, she has traveled to 70+ countries and six continents solo. She currently calls Puerto Vallarta, Mexico home and enjoys ending each day with sunset and tacos on the beach.

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