skip to Main Content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Hiking The Skerwink Trail Near Trinity, Newfoundland

Hiking the Skerwink Trail near Trinity, Newfoundland

The founder of the Skerwink Trail, John Vivian, tells me over dinner in Trinity that the Skerwink Trail offers more scenery per linear foot than any other trail in Newfoundland. He’s not the only one singing its praises. In 2003 the trail was ranked as one of the top 35 trails in North America and Europe by Travel & Leisure Magazine.

I’ve now hiked the full 5.3 kilometre length of the Skerwink Trail and agree that the scenery to effort and distance ratio is incredibly high. But you are going to have to decide for yourself if it deserves the accolades it has received.

Updated April 2020. This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

The hike is super easy to begin - flat and straight
The hike is super easy to begin – flat and straight

Where is the Skerwink Trail?

The Skerwink Trail follows the north and south coasts of Skerwink Head, a beautiful peninsula separating Port Rexton from Trinity Harbour.

The trailhead is close to the town of Trinity on the Bonavista Peninsula, roughly three hours by car from St. John’s. 

Excellent signage along the Skerwink Trail
Excellent signage along the Skerwink Trail

What it’s like to hike the Skerwink Trail

Hike the trail in a clockwise direction so you can take advantage of the views of Trinity Harbour as you hike south from Skerwink Head.

The trail starts off flat and arrow straight on an old railbed. At the one kilometre mark, the coast comes into view and remains in sight for the next three kilometres.

Hiking through the coastal section is exceptional. But if you’re afraid of heights or you prefer trees to coast, then there is the option to hike an inland portion of trail between kilometre one and two.

Lady slippers in abundance early on in the hike
Lady slippers in abundance early on in the hike

Take your time

Don’t expect to hike quickly once you reach the coast. It seems like at every step, there’s a sea stack, a beach or a rugged cliff face vying for your attention.

If you’re a photographer you could easily spend the day through here. In season – once the capelin (a fish like a smelt) is running, whales might be sighted and in some years you can see icebergs.

The trail is thoughtfully designed. Trees have been trimmed so you can get a view without stepping into the void. Steep sections are accessed with stairs; boardwalks abound and lookouts come with benches.

But always exercise caution, especially if you are hiking with children. The drop-offs are severe and any fall will likely be your last.

Wonderful rock formations along the coast everywhere you look
Wonderful rock formations along the coast everywhere you look
Sea stacks are clearly visible early on the hike
Sea stacks are clearly visible early on the hike
Looking out through the rock to a stand-alone sea stack
Looking out through the rock to a stand-alone sea stack
"Beautiful se stacks along the Skerwink Trail"
Looking out through the rock to a stand-alone sea stack
Hiking the Skerwink Trail near Trinity, Newfoundland
Sublime hiking along the coast of Newfoundland
Dry Cove Beach - a famous capelin beach
Dry Cove Beach – a famous capelin beach
Thoughtfully placed benches to take advantage of the view
Thoughtfully placed benches to take advantage of the view
The impeccably designed trail is in excellent shape
The impeccably designed trail is in excellent shape
The Skerwink Trail offers kilometres of cliff-top hiking
The Skerwink Trail offers kilometres of cliff-top hiking

One of the highlights for me, apart from the superb scenery, was watching a couple of fox cubs playing. Their mom was nowhere in sight and the two of them looked like trouble.

There were a couple of fox cubs playing near the high point of the hike
There were a couple of fox cubs playing near the high point of the hike
The Skerwink trail construction is first rate
Another example of the first-rate trail construction
Climbing stairs away from the cliff section
Climbing stairs away from the cliff section
The trail through an old forest
The trail through an old forest
A view to Trinity from the Skerwink Trail
A view to Trinity from the Skerwink Trail
The Trinity side of the Skerwink Trail
The Trinity side of the Skerwink Trail
A rocky beach near the end of the hike
A rocky beach near the end of the hike

I think the Skerwink Trail is an exceptional hike – and highly recommend doing it.

Useful information about the Skerwink Trail

The trail is accessed via a side road off of Highway 230. Look out for Skerwink Trail signage near the bright yellow Foodex building and head south. It’s about 11 kilometres from Trinity.

It’s free to hike but there is a donation box to help with trail maintenance.

An outhouse is located within five minutes of the start of the trail.

Allow 1.5 – 2.5 hours to hike the trail but if you’re into photography or you’re hiking it with children, allow for some beach time at the end.

Dogs must be on a leash. Some children too – not really, but at the edge watch them like a hawk.

I’d rate the trail as easy to moderate.

After the hike head to Two Whales Coffee Shop in Port Rexton. The food and coffee is excellent.

For more information about hiking the Skerwink Trail visit the Newfoundland Tourism website.

Where to stay near the Skerwink Trail

I have stayed in Trinity for a couple of nights on two separate occasions. There are lots of great choices to recommend here including the Artisan Inn and Eriksen Premises.

In Port Rexton check out the Skerwink Backpackers Hostel.

More reading if you’re planning a trip to Newfoundland

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A hike on the fabulous Skerwink Trail near Trinity, Newfoundland

***Thank you to Legendary Coasts for arranging an incredible dinner at the Twine Loft and a meeting with John Vivian. ***

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 16 Comments
  1. Absolutely fabulous! Newfoundland sounded always interesting but thanks to your adventure and fabulous pictures it is quite clear to me I should visit this place asap. Thanks for sharing! Foxes are totally awesome!!! Love it!

  2. Really enjoyed this piece. Thanks for posting. I’ve hiked in Gros Morne before and loved. Hope to go back and see more.

  3. This looks like a perfect trail — I like all the diversity of scenery and the terrain. I’d also like to visit Trinity — looks like such a charming-looking town from the trail. You are braver than me when it comes to being anywhere near those fox cubs…. I’d be afraid that mama was keeping a close eye on them — and me.

    1. @Cathy Trinity is a fantastic spot loaded with history, beautiful houses, great inns & B&B’s, excellent food and then there is so much to do as well. Boat tours, icebergs, birding, whale watching – the list goes on. Don’t miss the place if you ever make it to Newfoundland.

  4. Beautiful photos, Leigh! We spent a couple of hours around Trinity on a day trip from Terra Nova Park but didn’t have enough time for hiking. I would love to return and explore this area more.

  5. I agree with John Vivian, Leigh. This trail looks absolutely breathtaking. There’s so much variety. I bet you must have been stopping at every turn to take photos. Those fox cubs are adorable!

  6. Whoohoo! A stunning trail that even I can do! Seriously, this looks both gorgeous and do-able – I’ve not heard of it before, but I’m putting it on my travel list. Thanks for making me aware of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close search
Cart

Pin It on Pinterest