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Monday, October 3, 2016

East Coast Trail planning and background

Located on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, the East Coast Trail is a 300+ km hiking trail from Cappahayden to Portugal Cove. The trail includes 26 different paths and connects over 30 communities. The East Coast Trail website states that the trail "takes you past towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, deep fjords, and a natural wave-driven geyser called the Spout. It provides access to abandoned settlements, lighthouses, ecological reserves, seabird colonies, whales, icebergs, world's southern most caribou herd, historic sites, a 50-metre suspension bridge, two active archaeological dig sites, and many more attractions."

The website also reports undeveloped sections, but there is very limited information even when I emailed the association.  At this time a thru-hike of the ECT includes completing the hike from Cappahayden to Portugal Cove including the road walks. The road walks are a little more than 20% of the hike at a little less then 70 km.

Even with the road walks the ECT provides an excellent thru-hiking opportunity.  Planning is straight forward and logistics easy.  One of the greatest and only resources for thru-hiking the trail is available at, provided by thru-hiker Randy Best.  Randy has done a fantastic job creating an excellent spreadsheet with everything a thru-hiker needs to know including trail and road walk distances, camping, water sources, resupply info, and more.  Randy has also filmed a youtube playlist for all the paths on the trail. Many thanks to Randy for all his hard work! 

One of main things that needed careful planning during the day was where to camp.  Many times there are few suitable places to set up camp on the trail (camping technically allowed nearly everywhere) and getting stuck on a road walk in the dark wouldn't be ideal.  Randy's info was really helpful to avoid this. Otherwise water sources were frequent with a few exceptions and resupply was easy.

The trail is extremely well marked with one exception being the road walks.  A few times the road walks were confusing and they are rarely marked. I used a gps track from Randy's thru-hike and didn't have any issues.  I also carried the maps from the ECTA for use on trail.

The East Coast Trail is a great trail for someone looking to get into thru-hiking as it is very scenic, but has many bail out points. Hikers have the option to stay at the many bed and breakfasts along the trail. There is also taxi service available along almost the entire trail.

Continue to Day 1


  1. HI Eric, many thanks for your super informative trip report.
    I noticed that you carried an ursack- did you store your food outside, or did you keep it in your tent? Coming from black bear country, I am apprehensive about keeping food in a tent, but many sources say that most hikers do that on the ECT. Of course that doesn't mean that it's a wise move.
    Again, many thanks, Judy Hirschman

    1. Hi Judy,
      The Ursack has become something I regularly store food in. Maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to worry about taking time to hang (which sometimes I was too tired to do even without the Ursack). I've slept with my food before, but now I just tie the Ursack tight and throw it away from my tent or sometimes I tie it to a tree on a low branch or even a rock.

      I don't think bears are much of an issue on the ECT and based on my experience an Ursack probably isn't necessary. For me, it is probably more just for the comfort of knowing my food is safe and as a habit.


About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!