Hike the Blackhead Bay Trail

Rate this Adventure Canada Blackhead Bay East Coast Trail

Added by Raïssa Graham

The hike to Deadman's Bay is a steep climb with a combination of coastal views and forest paths. While walking through thick bush and rocky long top ridges, the view of the ocean and fresh salty air is always with you. This trail is great for a day hike, performed either in a loop or point to point.

Being a part of the historic East Coast Trail, Deadman's Bay is a main pit stop for thousands of backpackers every year. The trail includes many treasures such as swimming holes in summer, views of WWII Battery, breathtaking coastal views, a baracois crossing with rusty remains of the SS Thetis shipwreck, berry picking, perfect places to pop a campsite for the night, wildlife, and sea bird colonies.

Immediately, the trail heads upwards towards a high ridge. Some of the trail sections are on wooden log stairs, boardwalks, and rocky creeks, others are spot by eye. The path is always marked by guiding signs every few hundreds meters. A tall, rectangular concrete pillar is visible at the beginning of the hike. Within a few minutes (0.6 miles) you will see a large square concrete structure. The two worked together once by providing water to troops through a wooden duct or metal pipe.

When you reach the top of the ridge, beautiful Freshwater Bay lies beneath you. As the view opens up, the ocean stretches as far as you can see, Deadman's Bay lies to the South. The baracois has moved around from the many windy storms Newfoundland hosts. Marked with black and white, there is a path that leads through the baracois - expect a little rock jumping through an open channel. Past this point there are multiple places to take a pit stop for a snack, with amazing views of the sea. In summer, Freshwater Bay is prime for blueberry picking.

The end of the trail leads you along forested area, winding between trees. It ends at Blackhead, a quaint fishing town right on the edge of the sea. Long, open rocks allow you to go closer to the ocean, but be careful of the waves, as mist makes the rocks very slippery.

The East Coast Trail continues on to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada, approximately 1.5 hours away. Used as a guiding light in 1836 for convoy routes in WWII and still today, the lighthouse is an amazing tidbit of history. You can walk underground within the long tunnels soldiers once used. Cape Spear is an excellent place to see seabirds, whales, icebergs, and ships.

Getting there: Go to the south side of St. John's Harbour on Southside Road. Follow past a small boat basin at the end. The hill will get steeper, and there is parking close to the top (460 m). This will bring you towards the National Historic Fort Amherst Lighthouse. This is the trailhead. Signs for the East Coast Trail are visible and clearly marked. You're on your way!

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Hiking poles
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Hat
  • Camping gear if overnight expedition
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Fitness, Hiking, Running

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



9.1 Miles


Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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