French Carvings Found on Epine Cadoret Trail, Croque, NL

The Great Northern Peninsula is full of unique places to visit and explore. We have over 5,000 years of inhabitation from our first indigenous people to the Norse a millennia ago to more recent Europeans coming since the 1400’s.

The Epine Cadoret Trail is found leading to the mouth of Croque Harbour and exhibits carvings from French sailors made in mid-1800’s. Very similar to French photograph Miot in Sacred Bay who graffitied the word Album on what is now known as “Album Rock”, these sailors have forever left an inscription in stone that has indeed stood the test of time.

There are a couple of ways to find yourself at the Epine Cadoret trail which is 2.4 KM return on the road to St Julien’s or Grandois. Head north on the Viking Trail (Route 430), you can exit at Grenfell Drive (Route 432) at Plum Point to head toward Roddickton and then take a left to Main Brook and 6 KM prior to Main Brook you would take 438 to Croque which is nearly a 20 KM gravel road. You turn left toward St Julien’s road and will find a gazebo, sign and parking area. Alternatively, you can drive Route 430 (Viking Trail) to St Anthony airport and turn right on Grenfell Drive, Route 432 it is a loop road) for about 30 KM past Main Brook to Croque road which is Route 438. I will issue a warning though that the trail is in very poor condition in places and use at your own risk.

My first attempt to traverse this trail was during the Grandois Come Home Year in 2015. The first time I walked to the end of the board walk, not realizing these carvings ever existed. I was telling some locals I had done the walking trail. They had advised me I had not gone far enough, so the next day I did the walk again but made it nearly to wear the carvings were but came across fresh bear dung that was quite large. Given I was in the forest, without cellular coverage and alone, I opted to leave the trail and return to my car. At the time I would say I was an very inexperienced hiker.

It is hard to believe five years would pass before I would reach the carvings. The trail obviously has fallen into further disrepair since 2015, however, you can still navigate the trail along the pathways or shoreline, just watch for broken or rotted wood on the boardwalk. Use the trail at your own risk and discretion.

Along your journey you will see a waterfall, natural views of the sea, coastline, flowers and Croque from a distance in addition to the French carvings. It’s a very relaxing walk. One where you truly feel alone with nature.

Croque was once the headquarters for the French Navy and played a critical role along the French Shore. Today, it is home to a tiny population. The French cemetery remains and so do many red fishing rooms along the harbour. There are many stories left to be told of this place and shared with the world.

I always loved visiting Croque and St. Julien’s (Grandois) and The Epine Cadoret Croque Harbour Walking Trail is another reason for anyone who hasn’t been to get out and explore. The 2.4 KM return trail takes you to more than 150 year old rock carvings from French Sailors. Get out and explore the Great Northern Peninsula and another part of the French Shore!

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

French Shore Historical Society

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