Captain Cook's Trail (47 km)

Yes, it's the Captain James Cook. Before he became a famous South Seas explorer, Cook refined his surveying and cartographic skills along the coast of Newfoundland in the 1760s. His charts of the Bay of Islands are, remarkably, still accurate enough to be used today. A plaque in his honour overlooks the bay from Corner Brook and copies of some of his charts of the area are on display here.

Begin in Corner Brook

Corner Brook is located at the mouth of the Humber River, one of the province's most beautiful scenic areas. The city has a population of 20,000 and is a bustling industrial centre with a huge pulp and paper mill built in the 1920s.

The city of Corner Brook has many facilities for the traveller – hotel and motel accommodations, restaurants and nightspots as well as historic sites and an Arts and Culture Centre. It's also known for some of the best salmon fishing anywhere on the Humber River, and hosts the Corner Brook Triathlon each year.

Experienced rock climbers will find plenty of challenges, and the city has many natural scenic attractions including Margaret Bowater Park, a picnic and recreational facility situated in a wooded river valley that runs to Humber Arm near the city's pulp and paper mill. Corner Brook is a good base from which to explore the surrounding countryside, whether you're driving or bicycling.

The Corner Brook Winter Carnival is the high point in a winter-long skiing adventure centered on Marble Mountain, just a 10-minute drive east of the city. Marble Mountain has some of the best and most reliable skiing in eastern North America. Downhill and cross-country enthusiasts and snowboarders have discovered the great hills, trails and powder. Anyone who appreciates winter will want to visit Marble Mountain when it's in its glory.

Captain James Cook found Corner Brook an excellent base when he charted this part of the coast in 1767. Cook was marine surveyor of Newfoundland from 1763 to 1767. His detailed charts made life safer for mariners, and his work was so good that many of his charts can still be used today. Cook's maps were published in winter between his voyages, and were the first to use accurate triangulation. Cook also discovered that feeding his men citrus fruits prevented scurvy. He went on to explore much of the Pacific and was killed in Hawaii in 1779.

On Crow Hill in the Curling area you will find the Captain James Cook National Historic Site plaque and copies of the maps he drew. This lookout provides a panoramic view of Corner Brook and the Bay of Islands area.

Another attraction is Prince Edward Park, a pleasant municipal facility situated near the mouth of the Humber River.

Head along Route 450, the southern shore of Humber Arm

This stretch of road is a twisting highway that, in many places, had to be blasted through solid rock when it was constructed back in the 1960s. The Corner Brook-Bay of Islands area is blessed with a series of fine hiking trails of various lengths and degrees of difficulty. As you drive along this sheltered arm, you can look to the left to see weather-worn ridges that extend inland to form a low mountain plateau and watershed.

On the far horizon, the Lewis Hills, peaking at 815 metres, is where you'll find the highest point of land on the Island of Newfoundland. The Serpentine River and Lewis Hills area has no highway access but, with an experienced guide, the serious naturalist can enjoy a two-to-three-day wilderness hike through these spectacular mountains.

Drive further west to Halfway Point and Frenchman's Cove

Further west are the small communities from Halfway Point to Frenchman's Cove. A few kilometres more brings you to the mouth of the Bay of Islands and an opportunity to view and photograph Guernsey, Tweed and Pearl islands, which rise high out of the surrounding sea to give the area its name. Near Lark Harbour – named by Captain Cook for one of his ships – you may want to visit Blow Me Down Provincial Park, a small campground with a nature trail and picnic/recreation facilities.