Frequently Asked Questions
Hike the Trail
How long is the entire East Coast Trail? Is it fully developed?
The East Coast Trail is comprised of 270 kilometres of coastal hiking paths and 66 kilometres of community walks from Topsail Beach to Cappahayden. Our vision is to one day develop the remainder of the trail from Cappahayden to Trepassey, which will total approximately 600 km along the Avalon Peninsula.
What is a “community walk?”
A community walk is where a path ends on one side of the community, and the next path begins on the other side of the community. In some sections, the community walk is as simple as walking through the community from one side of the harbour to the other, and in other areas, there is a longer stretch of walking through the community. For example, Flamber Head Path ends on the North side of Brigus South Harbour and Brigus Head Path starts on the South side of Brigus South Harbour, the community walk here brings you around the Brigus South Harbour to connect the two paths.
There will be occasions when hikers will walk along the roads to get to the next path. These community walks allow hikers to experience the Communities Along the Trail and learn about the culture of Newfoundland without having to stray far from the paths.
Some paths connect directly to one another, so you will not need to walk through a community to connect. This applies for the 6.3km access trail for Motion/Spout Path and the 1.4km access trail for La Manche Village/Flamber Head Path as these are access trails to/from the coastline back to a road/parking lot.
What are the current path conditions and status?
To read the most up-to-date path advisories, click here. Note: no path clearing or condition updates take place during winter months (November – April).
How can I support the trail?
As a non-profit organization largely comprised of volunteers, we greatly appreciate all support. There are many ways you can support the ECT, such as by becoming a member, donating, and volunteering.
- Memberships are available for individuals and organizations/communities and can be annual or lifetime. For more information on becoming a member, please visit our Membership page.
- Donations can be made to the East Coast Trail Association in any amount and can be completed through our website as a one-time donation or a recurring (monthly or quarterly) donation. Note: Canadian tax receipts are available for any donation of $20 or more. For more information on how to donate, please visit our Ways to Give page.
- There are numerous areas in which you can volunteer – either on the trail or by joining one of our committees. Some examples include the Guided Hike program, for which you can volunteer as a Guided Hike Leader, and the volunteer Trail Maintenance Outings. For information on all committee positions, please visit our Volunteer page.
Another way to support the trail is to follow us on social media (@eastcoasttrail on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and help us spread important messages by engaging with our posts. You will also see up-to-date information regarding events, announcements, path conditions and more.
How do the paths link together? Are they continuous?
The East Coast Trail is a continuous linear hiking trail; the paths do not loop. All the paths are connected, mostly via a “community walk.”
How do I get to the trailheads (the start or end of a trail)?
Trailheads are accessible by vehicles, and two trailheads are also accessible by Metrobus routes. Hikers can drive to the trailheads and park in designated parking areas as outlined on the East Coast Trail maps and the specific path pages. Hikers may also use local taxi services. If hiking the trail in one direction only, you can either park a car at each end of the path, or arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the end and bring you back to the start. It is good practice to call the taxi company ahead to ensure service is available to that area. For more information, please visit our Transportation to Trails page.
If I drive my car to the trailhead, how do I get back after I finish my hike?
When available, hikers often use two vehicles and park one at either end of a path. If you do not have access to two vehicles, hikers can park at one of the trailheads and use a taxi service to return to their vehicle. It is good practice to call the taxi company ahead to ensure service is available to that area. Taxi numbers can be found in our taxi directory. Hikers also have the option of hiking the trail in both directions if time allows, or hiking halfway and turning around or hiking back to the starting trailhead via the road.
Which trail would you recommend for me to hike?
Prior to hiking, we recommend all hikers research the path descriptions on our website to familiarize themselves with the path options. We always recommend hikers choose a path based on their hiking ability and experience relative to the path length, terrain and difficulty, and their preferences relative to views, features and amenities. You can use our Advanced Search options to filter by specific features such as waterfalls, beaches, lighthouses, and more. For an explanation of our path difficulty ratings, please visit our Preparing to Hike page.
What accommodation options are there along the trail?
Our website has a directory with a number of B&Bs, cottages, and other accommodation providers in the communities along the trail. Many of these are located relatively close to trailheads and are accustomed to hikers and their needs. To inquire about services that B&B operators may offer, such as transportation to trails or luggage forwarding, please contact the accommodations service provider directly. You can also check out the Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism website for more options. For more information, please visit our Accommodations and Camping page.
Can I camp on the trail, and are there designated campsites?
There are six designated, non-serviced campsites on the East Coast Trail, located on the longer paths; White Horse Path, Motion Path, Spout Path, Flamber Head Path, Cape Broyle Head Path and Spurwink Island Path. These campsites are first-come, first-serve. Each campsite has a primitive outdoor toilet. If hikers are unable to use the designated campsites, we recommend hikers camp in or near trailhead communities if possible or find alternative safe grounds (away from cliffs) and seek permission from landowners before camping trailside on private property. Please respect the privacy of landowners. For more information, please visit our Accommodations and Camping page.
Am I allowed to have bonfires/open fires on the trail?
No open fires are permitted on the trail. Instead, use a liquid or gas-fueled camping stove with care. Do not cut wood to burn or build fire pits. For more information, please visit our Hiking Etiquette page. We appreciate everyone’s efforts in keeping the trail safe for all hikers and wildlife.
Where can I buy East Coast Trail maps and other merchandise?
All of our merchandise can be purchased online at our Trail Shop and we ship worldwide. If you are in the St. John’s area, you can buy our merchandise at our office, 50 Pippy Place, Unit 9 (located around the right hand side of the building), between 9:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday, or at various retailers such as The Outfitters, Arthur James Clothing Co., The Travel Bug, Alpine Country Lodge, and the Colony of Avalon Gift Shop. Before visiting retailers, we suggest calling ahead to make sure the item you are looking for is in stock.
Do I need a permit to hike the East Coast Trail?
he East Coast Trail is free for hikers to use and permits are not required. As a non-profit organization, we encourage hikers to become members of the East Coast Trail or make a donation to the Association.