Trails of Bonavista
Spend five days exploring the coastline and rich heritage of this top hiking destination. The award-winning Skerwink trail is a highlight of the area, and there are many other trails for every skill level. The Bonavista Peninsula is a vibrant part of the province, where you'll never be short of things to do or be far from a delicious meal.
Day 1 - Trails & Tales in Trinity
Begin in Trinity, home of many wonderful B&Bs. A good way to see this quaint town is the Trinity Pageant - a walking tour featuring comedic skits based on historic events and personalities.
For a short hike, pick up the Gun Hill Trail behind the Rising Tide Theatre building. There are two loops - upper and lower. The lower takes about 30 minutes and goes to Tavernor's Point. The top of the upper loop provides a panoramic view of the whole area, and can be walked in an hour.
In the evening, take in a performance at the Seasons in the Bight theatre festival.
Day 2 - Skerwink Trail & A Film Set
After breakfast, drive to nearby Trinity East to trek the Skerwink Trail, named one of the top 35 walks in Europe and North America in Travel & Leisure. It's a moderate-to-difficult 5.3-kilometre walk along the coast. You'll find sea stacks, caves, arches - keep an eye out for bald eagles - and possibly whales and icebergs.
In the afternoon, continue to New Bonaventure to walk the trail at the Random Passage film set. The set was built in 2002 for the television miniseries, which is based on a novel about early 19th-century pioneers in Newfoundland. After visiting, take a leisurely stroll to Kerley's Harbour via an easy-to-moderate 1-kilometre stroll along a centuries-old cart track. The foundations of long-abandoned buildings show earlier settlements. Keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife along the trail.
After supper take a sunset boat tour around Trinity Bight.
Day 3 - Port Union
Along Route 230 is Port Union, and the Murphy's Cove-Lodge's Pond Trail. A 7.7-kilometre coastal loop, rated moderate, features several headlands with magnificent ocean views. At the halfway point is Green Island Lighthouse, built in 1857 and one of the few staffed lighthouses in the province. The trail continues around the headland and through Murphy's Cove, abandoned in the 1960s. Keep an eye out for fishing boats, whales, and seabirds.
Stroll through the community of Port Union - a National Historic District and visit The Bungalow, home of Sir William Ford Coaker.
Day 4 - Hikes Through Elliston & Bonavista
In the northern part of Elliston you'll find the trailhead for the Klondike Trail. This 5-kilometre cross-country and coastal hike between Elliston and Spillar's Cove follows a route forged in the 1840s. The walk is rated easy to medium. It takes you to the forest, across heathlands and wetlands, to the coast. Keep watch for puffins, whales, icebergs, and sea stacks.
Travel to the town of Bonavista, for lunch along the waterfront. Near the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse you'll find the start of the Cape Shore Trail, a 7-kilometre return, easy-to-moderate coastal trail. It runs parallel to the main road and offers great views over Bonavista Bay. There's a puffin colony behind the lighthouse and a statue of John Cabot along the trail.
In the evening, take in a show at the historic Garrick Theatre.
Day 5 - Lighthouse Trail
Lighthouse Trail is on the north side of the Bonavista peninsula at King's Cove off Route 235. It has two loops to the lighthouse. The easy 1.7-kilometre route along the coast takes about 35 minutes. The outer loop is a moderate 3.5-kilometre, 60-minute walk further along the coast to several lookout points, and through the woods on a rough trail. The lighthouse dates from 1893, and was the first in the province with a revolving light.
Finish your trip by backtracking to Upper Amherst Cove for dinner at the Bonavista Social Club. A foodie favourite is the pizza from their wood-fired oven, topped with locally sourced ingredients.