Whale Point Trail, Wild Bight is an easy 8 km walking trail (return) from the base of the parking area. I’ve enjoyed the walk by Cailloux and Cape Norman Bay as you will typically see marine life that include whales, sea birds, icebergs and active fishers coasting along the water.
To get here you will have to travel the Viking Trail (Route 430) several hundred kilometres from Deer Lake and take Route 435 to Cook’s Harbour, which is more than 20 KM before you enter the town. Wild Bight is just two kilometres by gravel road on the left heading toward North Boat Harbour. You will pass through the community of Wild Bight and the trailhead, picnic table and parking area will be visible as you take the turn to go up the hill. If you reach the road to the Cape Norman Lighthouse, you have gone to far. A visit to the lighthouse is an absolute must and for those who appreciate rare plants and flowers you will want to spend some time viewing the limestone barrens in the area. I will certainly share my experience in a future article.
In last July, I made this visit and was not disappointed by the beautiful surroundings as I made my way to Whale Point and Christine Cove. I ended up extending my trail adventure by walking to Cape Norman lighthouse and spending some time soaking in the pure beauty of this place before I returned to my car on such a hot summer’s day.
Growing up on the Great Northern Peninsula, I truly took for granted the fact that I could see the water of the sea every morning. It wasn’t until I moved to Edmonton, Alberta for a year where I realized that being surrounded by water in some form was really important to me. As I walked along the shoreline, I could see the remains of sea urchin shells, beach glass, and incredible and truly unique rock formations. They were in abundance. Also, the sounds of boat engines as fishers were going back and forth the bay, the gentle waves would splash along the rocks, while an osprey or some other large bird flew overhead.
I strongly encourage you to keep walking and exploring Cape Norman and carefully following the rules to ensure the protection of the unique ecology that surrounds the flora around the limestone barrens. Make the trek of 5 more kilometres to North Boat Harbour. You can walk the Highlands picnic area, view the colour sheds and capture some beautiful scenery in this tiny fishing village. When back in Cook’s Harbour you can visit Garge Coates’ Point, a popular area for locals to enjoy an outdoor fire. The community has an incredible playground for youth and also equipment for adults to enjoy. You can pick up a lunch at Decker’s Store or if you are lucky the take-out at the Firehall.
Find yourself exploring the Whale Point Trail and see something wild and unique in Wild Bight on the Great Northern Peninsula!
Live Rural 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 –
French Shore Historical Society
Have you ever been to Album Rock? This is another one of our best kept secrets on the Great Northern Peninsula!
A remote landmark named for a photograph taken by an 1850s photographer Paul-Émile Miot and his crew of graffiti artists. Just imagine the unique history here in Sacred Bay?
When you’re next in Ship Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula you must check this out! Take Treena’s Trail and at the beach turn right to find it for yourself!
First travel the Great Northern Peninsula on Route 430, known as the Viking Trail. You will have to take Route 436 which is the road to L’anse aux Meadows and turn to Raleigh on Route 437 just a few kilometres along the way. The road to Raleigh is 13 KM and Ship Cove another 9 KM. There is a parking lot and signage that marks Trina’s Trail but there is very little reference or any to this unique piece of history!
The stairway down to the bay leads you to the mussel grounds. It was wonderful to see people collecting wild mussels at low tide. It’s something I did as a child at home. Ship Cove and Raleigh are known to produce good wild mussels. You continue along the beach to trek to Album Rock and Franche Point. There is certainly a lot of beauty along the way.
The Album Rock has interpretation and a gazebo where you can enjoy a meal or rest. Album Rock: Looking back through the lens of Paul-Émile Miot, which has been published by Boulder Publications is a book you may want to pick up if you are interested in a further story by Michael Hollett.
Local legend, Iris Decker, was a pillar of the community and she was so very proud of the little museum she worked hard to establish at the Ship Cove community hall. It promoted the work of Miot, and more of the community. I do hope others on the community will continue her work and see the value of further sharing the story, maintaining these unique trails and tourism assets for both locals and visitors to enjoy. There is opportunity in Ship Cove and for all neighbouring communities. I will certainly be scribing some further articles about Trina’s Trail, the former Tickle Inn of Cape Onion and so much more in the area.
I hope you will add the Album Rock to your list of rural adventures this summer. Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.
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The Daredevil Trail on Fishing Point Municipal Park in St. Anthony, NL on the Great Northern Peninsula is a daunting 476 steps up and another 476 down. The views at the top will give you perfect panoramic views of the community, St. Anthony Bight, the coastline, whales, icebergs, birds, fishing boats and so much more.
St. Anthony is the largest community on the Great Northern Peninsula and was home to Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell and Lady Anne Grenfell. They were transformative to the people of this community and the entire Great Northern Peninsula and Labrador in their quest to improve both the economic and social needs for those they served. The Grenfell Historic Properties is one of the important tourism draws to the community, in addition there are boat tours, restaurants, accommodations, souvenir shops, dinner theatre, music, a craft brewery and an abundance of outdoor recreation.
At the very end of the Viking Trail (Route 430) you will find yourself in St. Anthony and will take West Street to Fishing Point Municipal Park. It is home to the famous Lightkeeper’s Seafood Restaurant, Great Viking Feast Dinner Theatre, Fishing Point Emporium, a place cherished by locals and it too has many walking and hiking trails:
- Dare Devil Trail
- Cartier’s Trail
- Whale Watcher’s Trail
- Santana Trail
- Iceberg Alley Trail
There is a dedicated parking lot for Santana Trail and also you can’t miss the 476 stairs going up the side of the cliff. Park here and take a short walk to the base of Daredevil Trail. I know the stairs look daunting but truly it isn’t so as there are rest areas and you take your time on this moderate to difficult trail.
At the very top is much like a Signal Hill with the views of the city, the ocean and directional signage of where places in the world can be found, while there is no Cabot Tower, there is a cellular tower and the former American Base is off in the distance.
You can easily spend hours at the top, enjoying a picnic, the sunrise or sunset, the activity below will always give you something to enjoy. At the very top is just incredibly peaceful and truly will leave you in awe. Fishing Point is truly a special place. The locals know the treasure they have and they truly cherish it. When in St. Anthony be a daredevil and climb to the very top!
Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.
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The Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula are completely picturesque and there is no wonder more than 30,000 visits during the summer season. This place is steeped in history from the Aboriginals, Vikings, French, English and other settlers given the presence of the mysterious markings at St. Brendan’s rock.
The presence of traditional saltbox, biscuit box or two-story homes can be viewed along winding roads with ocean views and craggy coastlines. There are many unique pieces of vernacular architecture you will not want to miss on your visit.
There will be root vegetable gardens near roadside and flakes of salt cod drying in the sizzling summer sun. A host of accommodations are available from motels, cottages, cabins, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and hotels to meet any travellers needs.
There are unique attractions, a network of walking trails, eco-museums, craft and carving shops, boat tours, festivals and an array of activities in the surrounding areas from the Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh Historical Fishing Village, Grenfell Historic Properties, Radio Quirpon, Coffee Shops, Kitchen Parties at the Legion and Screech-ins at Skipper Hots with traditional music by the Skipper Hots band.
People come and are wowed by the icebergs of the Great Northern Peninsula. They are much larger as they snuggle into our harbours and coves. Watch small boat fishers as they bring in their daily catch or have a yarn at the small wharves. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is truly about interaction with out people. The Great Northern Peninsula offers a truly unique and authentic experience.
The culinary experiences are exceptional, with two of the restaurants ranking in the top 10 for the best fish n’ chips in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Daily Catch, Snow’s Take-out and Dark Tickle Cafe are in St. Lunaire-Griquet, with Northern Delight in Gunner’s Cove. L’Anse aux Meadows is home to the Norseman Restaurant, Coffee in the Cove at Hay Cove and Burnt Cape Cafe in Raleigh.
The tip of the Great Northern Peninsula is the perfect get-a-way to be one with nature. Moreover, it has the distinction of being the one place in the world where humanity came full circle – an event more than 100,000 years in the making!
Now that you know there are lots of places to stay, eat and experience – pack your camera and begin planning that trek up the Great Northern Peninsula and start snapping images of the picturesque communities of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on Newfoundland’s tip.
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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)