Spout Path is one of the most beloved trails on the East Coast Trail, and by the end of this story I’m sure you’ll understand why. This difficult but beautiful trail runs from Shoal Bay to Bay Bulls, past some of the most memorable coastal scenery in all of Newfoundland.
Two years ago today, I hiked Spout Path from Bay Bulls to the Spout and back: a popular ~25 km return-hike that’s recommended to anyone who has a free day coming up and wants to make the most of it. Better yet, if you’ve got a weekend to spare you can split this hike in two by camping at the Little Bald Head campsite.
Starting as early as possible means you’ll have plenty of time to hike to the Spout and back, and enjoy frequent rest stops along the way.
Here’s one of the first scenic stops of the day, at Useless Bay:
Approaching the Bull Head Light I got my first good look at today’s beautiful fall colours:
The waterfall slide at Freshwater looked as inviting as ever:
Looking back to the Bull Head Light for a minute:
The Turn of Bald Head marks a change in hiking conditions as the trail gets rockier in places and decidedly less comfortable for your ankles. Since I’ve hiked this trail a couple dozen times it doesn’t really faze me anymore but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re less familiar with the trail.
The Green Hill section of Spout Path runs mostly through a lush deciduous forest, …
… until you finally reach the viewpoint above Drop Cove:
Drop Cove is your cue that things are about to get good. Sure, the scenery is great up to this point too but it’s quickly going to get even better!
Here you go, this is Sea Stack Cove, or ‘OMG’ as some call it when they see it for the first time:
Spectacular as the scenery is here, it’s also a great place to see wildlife. Sea Stack Cove is home to a pair of bald eagles that nest on the rocks just left of the big sea stack.
Because the eagles weren’t home at this time, I continued north towards the Spout. Near the Little Bald Head campsite I saw a familiar shape emerging from the water:
These amazing topdown views of marine wildlife are a real treat and one of the unique highlights of the East Coast Trail.
Next stop, the Spout:
These two hikers were the first and last people I saw on the trail today. They left before they even saw me so after this I had the trail to myself again.
I always enjoy capturing rainbows in blowholes and waterfalls. Of course this is not an actual rainbow but rather a spraybow, or a spoutbow in this case. 😉
Having reached the Spout, I took in the scenery for as long as I could before I had to turn back. There are several good places to pick blackberries in this area so I picked some as a trailside snack:
With the long return-hike now in front of me, I tucked away my camera and set out south. Two hours later, I stopped to take in the view above Sculpin Island Cove again; O’Brien’s sailed by and as I took a picture a minke whale surfaced in the background, what a coincidence:
Do you see it? I know, it’s a bit hard to make out in this picture.
I was very excited by this September whale so I waited a while longer to see it again. Just when I thought I wouldn’t see it anymore it jumped clear from the water, a breaching minke whale!! I was so delighted and stunned I forgot to take a picture… but wow what a spectacle!
Continuing towards Bay Bulls the sun was getting ready to set, lighting up the bright yellow ferns:
On the other side of Useless Bay I looked back and saw the full moon rising over the bay, just above the blue Belt of Venus:
At the very end of my hike I took one last picture, the sunset over Bay Bulls was absolutely gorgeous:
Looks pretty dark doesn’t it? I bring a couple of flashlights with me on every hike, they are part of my ‘just in case’ kit and they’ve come in handy on many occasions, including on this beautiful hike which took me almost 12 hours, including the many reststops that allowed me to take in the beauty of the trail.
In the end I think you’ll agree this hike was a great success, and I was able to use many of today’s photos in the East Coast Trail Guide.