Fight some of the steepest hills on the Avalon Peninsula for iconic views of the east coast. Soak your bicycle tires in the Atlantic at the easternmost point of North America.

Whether you're an east-coast local, a cycle tourist starting out on a journey westward or a veteran cyclist finishing a trans-Canada ride, Cape Spear is a must. Who wouldn't want to say they've bicycled the eastern edge of the continent? It's a great physical push, a simple day trip and easily one of the most rewarding rides you can take on.

If you're cycle touring, you have the option of stripping off your panniers and heading to Cape Spear unloaded. If you're a masochist, or looking to overcome a physical challenge before taking on the rest of Canada (like I was), leave the bags on. You'll make it either way.

If you're starting downtown, take Water Street until the intersection with Blackhead Road, which you'll follow under an overpass and up the first steep hill. Right after the overpass and up into Shea Heights is perhaps the steepest section—you're leaving the harbour and climbing into the highlands. Before long you'll see the city stretched out beneath you, then you'll leave it behind, headed for the coast. Between you and Cape Spear are three major points of land. One is just a few kilometres after leaving the city. The next is a few kilometres before the small town of Blackhead. The last is a steep headland between Blackhead and the coast. Gear down for each of them and push to the top, and soak in all the glory of the descents.

When you reach Cape Spear, stop to stretch, take in the coastline, visit the national historic site or watch the sunrise (which I highly recommend). Eat some protein. I recommend heading back before it gets too hot or an offshore wind gets too strong.

Be warned that the hills in downtown St. John's actually have some of the most difficult grades on the entire route, so your last few hundred metres might be your most challenging. Then you can revel in having made it back home. Perhaps with a nap or lunch at YellowBelly Brewery

Pack List

  • Bicycle
  • Panniers
  • Cycle shorts and jersey
  • Rain gear
  • Water
  • Camera
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RT Distance 21.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 682.4 Feet
Activities Cycling, Photography
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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