Explore the sandy beaches, marshes and tidal estuaries of Southwest Newfoundland.
Just a 15-minute drive north of Channel-Port aux Basques on Route 1 you’ll find Grand Bay West and J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park – two nesting sites of the endangered piping plover, a native shore bird. Please pay close attention to the exclusion signs that mark their territory. Southwest Newfoundland is an excellent birding location. Not only is it on the flyway of many migrating species, but the area’s sandy beaches, marshes, and tidal estuaries – the Codroy Valley International Wetlands, accessible via Routes 406 and 407 – provide excellent refuge and food. See the resident breeders in summer, and the migratory birds in spring and fall. But before heading to the Wetlands, make a stop at the Cape Ray Lightkeepers House, showcasing the lighthouse’s history and its connections to the surrounding area.
This area has some of the island’s best farmland, settled generations ago by Scots who brought with them such famous names as St. Andrew’s, and further north off Routes 404 and 405, Highlands and Lock Leven. There’s even a neighbourhood called Loch Lomond. The idyllic Cape Anguille Lighthouse is worth a visit while you’re in the area, especially for some of the best sunsets on the island.
Visit the idyllic Cape Anguille Lighthouse for some of the best sunsets on the island.
The Anguille Mountains just north of the Codroy Valley and west of Route 1 are famed for their winds. When the trains ran through here, the railway employed Lauchie McDougall to warn of high winds from Table Mountain. Those 160-kilometre-per-hour gusts could blow a train from the narrow gauge tracks. Today, both Lauchie and the railway are gone, and truckers rely on CB radios and cellphones to find out when the wind is up.
There are several world-class hiking trails on this road trip, including the moderate to difficult 5.1-kilometre Starlite Trail to the top of the Long Range Mountains overlooking Little Codroy River. The trailhead is on the Trans-Canada Highway near Route 407. For a coastal trail with a mountainous backdrop, trek the moderate 5.5-kilometre Coastangs Trail with trailheads starting in both Searston and St. Andrew’s.
Road Trip Tips:
Please check exact directions and road conditions before you start each road trip. Visit www.511nl.ca for current road conditions.
Distances are estimates and for guidance only. Routes can be taken as is, or in reverse order.