If you do not like heights, then this trail is not for you. If you like walking up to the tops of cliffs overlooking ocean waters, looking down over flying birds, then this top 5 trail in Canada is a real treat.
The Skerwink Trailhead is located in an historic area and one of the first places where people settled in Newfoundland. We drive down a road that passes through a neighborhood of homes where we find a wide spot in the road. We park here and look about for a sign showing the way. We find two signs and read that we want to take the one that goes to the right. It is a circular route that leads you back to the parking spot and if you do not like heights, taking the reverse route will take you on a nice walk to the base of the cliffs. The Skerwink Trail loop takes you along the north and south coasts of Skerwink Head, a rocky peninsula that separates Trinity harbor from Port Rexton harbor and is a 5.3 km hike.
The hike starts out flat but gradually begins an upward climb and we hit many sets of stairs along the route. And I LOVE stairs. Not. As you get higher you are closer to the edge, giving you a great view of the area. The cliffs do drop off close to the path and there are warning signs along the trail.
One of the first things we noticed were these tall columns jutting out of the water. They call them sea stacks and these stacks appeared after the last ice age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. Over time, water seeped into the cracks in the sedimentary rock which expanded when frozen, causing further cracks and eventually breaking down the solid rock, separating the tall rock columns from the shore. They added some visual interest that would be fun to check out on a boat.
The forest-like atmosphere around us was made up of short, thickly matted spruce or fir trees that grow in exposed coastal areas. Though they are really short and somewhat stubby in stature, they may be several decades old. They were pretty cool.
As we walked along the ridge we could see how the path led us towards a larger, flat outcropping. It looked like it had the best views so we forged onward.
The walk up to the cliff along the boardwalk and the steps was fun. The winds were wicked and you felt like you were going to be blown down!
Once we arrived, we sat in the grass, not too close to the edge, and watched the birds float by. There were dozens of seagulls and some gannets and you felt as if you were flying with them. But the wind appeared to be picking up so on we walked.
As we slowly walked downward, we could see a beach in the distance. I hoped we were going to end up there as it looked a bit interesting as it was black and had something white sticking up in the middle. In the distance, we see some of the colorful homes that dot the area.
We had a nice walk down some more steps and a narrow path when suddenly we were on the beach. The black color was due to the black, smooth rocks that make up the beach. The bleached-out logs that we saw from the hill look like they have been stacked for a bonfire.
The path then winds down past a small lake, and a dirt road, and delivers you back to your car.
According to skerwinktrail.com, a skerwink “is a local name for this pelagic seabird species, which lives offshore (they’re also known as hagdowns in Newfoundland). It is highly unlikely that you will see a shearwater when you hike the trail. Many shearwaters do breed on the island of Newfoundland but only in a few places, and they return to their nests only at night. A shearwater-a long-winged seabird related to the petrels, often flying low over the surface of the water far from land.”
Moose sightings: 0