Church Cove, East Coast Trail


If you walk along the East Coast Trail between Flatrock and Torbay, you will come intersections at both the Torbay and Flatrock ends at which you are given two choices: “East Coast Trail difficult” and “East Coast Trail via the Father Troy Path.”

A Large Day
Looking from Church Cove toward Torbay and (ultimately) St. John's. Cabot Tower is there on the horizon (although it's tricky to see).

Should you opt to follow in the good father’s footsteps, you will wend your way through lovely forests and mature-growth stands of spruce and fir. It is a peaceful walk and easy on the soles.

If, however, you opt to take the difficult route, you will experience a rather dramatic adventure of the mind and feet, which, while not easy on the soles, certainly rejuvenates the soul (in the manner of all good near-death experiences).

Cliff Face
Cliff Face at the top of Church Cove, before descending the astonishing and somewhat scary stone steps.

The talented trail crew of the East Coast Trail Association has engineered the most remarkable set of stairs by rearranging the existing rocks into incredibly stable and beautifully camouflaged trail that starts at the top of Church Cove and drops you down, down, down, down over boulders and staircases and more boulders and path and then more stairs.

Gull Play
The reward for perseverance and climbing about a million steps.

If it weren’t for the markers, you’d never know there was a route through the boulders just by looking. Going down is a little heart-stopping in spots, particularly on the wooden, log-hewn, stairs which run at about a 70-degree angle at times.

Stone Stairs
Trail marker amid the stones.

My hat is off to these folks. I’m not sure how they envisioned a trail running almost vertically down a near-cliff, but somehow they managed not only the vision, but the reality and a fairly safe version of it at that.

A Long Way Down
Katherine and John pause for a look at the view.

And at the bottom of the stairs, nestled in a little valley, a waterfall….

An oasis of mossy green and spring abundance

Like all good challenges, this one has its rewards….

Spring Stream
The rocks running parallel across the middle are the stone pathway across the brook. I crouched downstream for this exposure.

If you haven’t yet gone out there, do! You can access the trail from either end, as well as from a dirt path that connects straight to Church Cove, starting just off Wind Gap road, as Windgap starts to drop into Flatrock. If you need more trail info, I strongly recommend that you pick up a set of the East Coast Trail maps, which contain all sorts of useful info about access points, places along the trail worth seeing, and many other noteworthy gems of knowledge.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh Vicky – this is GORGEOUS! THANK YOU for the AWESOME photos & tour….

    1. VickyTH says:

      Glad you enjoyed them! It’s a stunning walk. Makes you feel like you’re stepping off the edge of the world….

  2. Giaskyler says:

    Great photos! I hope one day I will go there. Breathtaking views.

  3. Cassie says:

    Wow – this is beautiful. I love the one with the cliff and the birds below. Breath-taking.

  4. hannifrieda says:

    Oh wow! The walk looks amazing and the photos are beautiful 😉 ITS so steep though :S

    1. VickyTH says:

      Very. No matter how often I go down, I never quite get used to it.

  5. Paws To Talk says:

    Bella and DiDi

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