Best Adventure Destinations for 2012: Hike Newfoundland, Canada

16 Feb 2012

 By National Geographic

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The easternmost hiking trail in North America, Newfoundland's East Coast Trail delivers hikers to a world of sea stacks, oceanside headlands, icebergs, and deep fjords. The trail opened in 2001 with 135 miles of pathways from Fort Amherst to Petty Harbour Maddox Cove. Each year, the East Coast Trail Association’s expansion plans have grown increasingly ambitious. Crews have been busy building bridges and cutting trail between the 32 historic communities along the island’s eastern edge. By the close of the 2011 season, more than 100 miles of new pathways were completed—which means a bounty for hikers in 2012. The very newest section, a 4.5-mile path from Pouch Cove to St. Francis, edges along cliffs and past a waterfall—with views of offshore islands as it snakes toward the lighthouse at St. Francis. 

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The trail is prime for day hikes, but it’s also possible to hike from town to town, staying at inns or camping along the way. The Outfitters, an outdoors store in capital city St. John’s, arranges daylong and overnight hiking packages on the trail—providing logistical information, equipment rentals (trekking poles and the like), trail maps, and beta (www.theoutfitters.nf.ca, 800 966 9658, from $20 for day-hike support and from $100 for overnights).