The Stiles Cove Path is actually one of the longer sections on the East Coast Trail at 15.1 km. From the north to south route, hikers park at the church across from the Canada Post office in Pouch Cove. The trail starts crossing fields behind private property, before following the coast away from town and into fields and wooded areas before reaching Hollow Cove, a wide cove so-named because it is undercut (use caution around the edges of any cliffs!).
The trail follows the cliffside through open areas which provide spectacular views before heading back inland and downhill on the approach to Shoe Cove. A number of switchbacks and downhill sections lead hikers to scenic Shoe Cove, a popular destination for families and folks out for a short hike. A bridge crosses the river above Shoe Cove, and the trail continues uphill from this point.
A steep climb leads to open fields and the trail continues uphill until Shoe Cove Island becomes visible, a grassy rock over which waves were crashing the day we hiked to it. The trail winds around the edges of a couple of gulches before it reaches Black Head Cove, an incredible view of which is available from the height of the trail. The trail meets with an ATV trail, which it follows for a short distance, before heading into the woods again. About half a kilometer beyond this is Cammy’s Point, a viewpoint at the 6 km point.
The trail continues around a few gulches including the oddly-named Murdering Gulch before reaching the trail’s namesake at Stiles Cove. A spectacular waterfall is visible at this point, dumping water into the cove.
Red Head Cove at the 12 km point is a huge, high-cliffed cove. The trail is at a high elevation at this point as well, and views of Red Head Cove are spectacular from all sides. From Red Head Cove, the trail passes through some cliffside woods before breaking out of them and passing over barren fields, damaged in spots by ATV traffic. The trail climbs to Red Head, where we watched a pair of Snowy Owls fly back and forth. The trail descends past Red Head, and looking back at Red Head as the trail breaks out of the woods makes for a great view. The trail opens up, providing a beautiful view of Flatrock, before a steep descent, at the bottom of which a side trail leads down over steps to a section of flat rock along the shore. The trail finishes from this point by crossing Big River, passing steps carved into the bedrock, and winding around private property to the end of Hickey’s Lane.
Check out the gallery below for a variety of pics from our various trips over Stiles Cove Path!