For the final article in our #offthebeatentrack series we wanted to talk about one of our favourite tracks: the Railroad Track.
As many of you will know, Newfoundland was once home to a railway system that stretched both across the province as well as having smaller lines up the individual peninsulas.
When this network was disassembled and the tracks removed, the railway bed became a network of walking and cycling trails, also used by quads and snowmobiles. These paths provide a direct route through the peninsulas, allowing easy access into some of the most remote regions in our province.
The principal line of the rail that ran across the island from St John’s to Port aux Basques has been formally registered as Canada’s largest linear Provincial Park: the Newfoundland TRailway Trail.
This 900km track can be explored year-round on foot, bike, horseback, cross-country skis, or on a snowmobile, and provides a wonderful opportunity for wildlife sightings, discovering remote landscapes, and exploring both old and new neighbourhoods.
In our region the old rail-bed is often used to get around, and provides a network of beautiful walking routes. Even the famous Skerwink Trail begins on the rail-bed, with the first kilometer of the walk located on the route.
One of our favourite spots to visit on the old trail is a local waterfall.
Located about 2kms from the hostel this beautiful spot is an ideal location for a refreshing dip on a warm day. The water is deep, and the current can be very strong, so swimming here is only advisable to strong swimmers (you’ve been warned!).
The walk along the track winds through picturesque Trinity East, offering gorgeous views of both the bay and surrounding communities.
If exploring the railway in other regions be sure to check with locals about the condition of the track. Certain sections of the old bed have been destroyed over time by large storms. Hurricane Igor was particularly damaging in 2010, when rivers across the peninsula swelled, taking out bridges.
Time: 1-2h depending on the weather. If it’s a warm day you may find yourself splashing around for more than two hours!
Equipment: Comfortable walking shoes, a packed lunch, a camera, some swimmers and a towel!
To Get Here:
From the hostel walk right out of our driveway, toward the Skerwink Trail.
Continue past the trail-head into Trinity East along the paved road for one km, or roughly 15 minutes.
Here is where it can get a bit tricky because there are no signposts to guide walkers, and all the roads look the same.
At the large red house with white trim, you will see the main road veer to the right. You need to continue straight ahead along a small track:
From here simply follow the track until you reach a broken bridge, about another one km.
At the bridge look to your right you will see a large waterfall, at the base of which is the swimming-hole.
Access to the falls is easier at low-tide, and nearly impossible at high-tide (unless you’re in a kayak). So be sure to plan ahead to time your arrival correctly to get the most out of your visit.