Motion Path is a challenging and rewarding path right in the center of the East Coast Trail. Coming out of Petty Harbour from the north, the trail is slightly over 13 km, terminating at the trailhead for the Spout Path, another key trail in the system. Given that access to the southern trailhead is via a 6.5 km woods road to the Goulds, I decided, like many hikers, to combine the Motion Path and Spout Path into one long hiking adventure. Check out the Spout Path page for more!
The trail starts in the beautiful community of Petty Harbour, tucked into a bay, surrounded by high hills. The first 750 m or so of the trail is a climb up over one of those hills: starting aside a cabin at the edge of town, the trail climbs the steep, rocky hill, aptly named Big Hill, at the crest of which a beautiful view of Maddox Cove and the rest of Motion Bay. Climbing down the other side of Big Hill, the trail passes mainly over shrub-covered barrens, much like the first half of the Cape Spear Path. These barrens are dotted with erratics and small ponds: in places, the erratics are massive, such as the again aptly named Big Rocks.
After passing cliffs at Siles Cove, the trail stays low, following the coastline, toward Motion Head, which, as the map indicates, is easy to miss. In The Bight, near Big Rocks, there is a large amount of wood: not sure if it’s driftwood or the remains of a shack, as a resident is referred to on the ECTA map. Watch for an eroded section of trail just past The Bight. I took a break at scenic Alexander Pond, had a snack on its grassy shores, and then headed on. Rounding Motion Head (the missing sign didn’t make it harder to miss), the trail continues past massive erratics before climbing slightly to pass over Kettle Cove near Lower Cove Head. Another climb brings hikers to the top of Burkes Head and then to Hartes Point Ridge where spectacular views both north and south are available.
Past Hartes Point, the trail follows a ridgeline back and forth as it descends, climbing down to Hartes Point Cove and around the Tolt to Pipeline Road, the location of a sewage outfall from the Goulds. the trail is clearly indicated where this ATV path meets it. The trail follows the rocky coastline from here to the Miner Point campsite, where I overnighted. Hikers should be aware that beavers have taken up residence in the river at the back of the site (May 2014); the two rivers close to the site should be considered contaminated based on this and should not be used for drinking water!
From Miner Point, the trail continues along the rocky shore, passing a cabin at Nippers Cove and heading inland along an ATV path. A sharp left turn takes hikers off the ATV path which would take hikers out to Shoal Bay Road. Rounding a gulch, the trail opens up and passes along the shelf-like rocks of the coast, before heading around Raymond Gulch, where twin waterfalls roar.
Shortly before the Shoal Cove Road trailhead, the trail opens up at the site of at least two structures, now overtaken by grass and wildlife, a few hundred metres ahead, the trail ends at Shoal Cove Road, and the Spout Path begins.
Check out some pictures of the Path below!