If a good workout doesn’t draw you to this magnificent hike, then the countless breathtaking views will! This hike is a portion of the East Coast Trail that brings you from the town of Flatrock to the smaller community of Pouch Cove; arguably, two of the best places to see jaw dropping scenery. From waterfalls to secluded beaches and sea stacks, this trek has no shortage of unique features waiting to be seen and enjoyed! 

Starting Points

There are two main starting points to choose from. If you choose to start on the Pouch Cove side, you can find the trailhead on the dirt road across from the St. Agnes’ church, behind the post office. If you start in Flatrock, you can walk down Hickey’s Lane to find the trailhead—this is the direction taken in this article!

This trail is 15.1km and should take 5 to 7 hours depending on your fitness level, how often you stop for photos and, of course, the length of time it takes you to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch!

So That's Why They Call It Flatrock?

The beginning of the trail gives hikers a first hand view as to how Flatrock got its name. Walking along the massive, flat rock slabs, you can experience some of the natural unique geology of the area and, looking directly across from the trail, you can see the infamous “Beamer”, which is also part of the East Coast Trail.

No Shortage of Waterfalls

The first few major waterfalls on this trail are less than a kilometer in and they are very impressive. These are just two of many to be seen on the hike—you’ll just have to head out on the trail to check them out for yourself!

Lookouts Galore!

Along the entirety of the hike, you can see breaks in the forested trail that let you see out over the ocean. You can see Red Head cliff, the town of Flatrock, and even some sea caves if you look close enough!

Beach Please

Another highlight of this trail is the multiple beaches! Unfortunately, almost every beach on this trail is inaccessible by foot because they are surrounded by steep cliffs on all sides. So, if you want the chance to walk on the virtually untouched rocks, you’ll have to find a boat! The upside to having no one on them is that the beaches are very clean, which compliments the gorgeous blue-green shallow water perfectly! Also, if you’re lucky, you might even see a bald eagle flying by or whales off the coast.

Geological Variety

This trail is rated moderate-difficult, but it is completely worth it even just to see all the unique rock formations!

One of the major highlights is the photo below, the view from Blackhead Cove viewpoint overlooking Shoe Cove Island.

Finishing Strong

Some people choose to end their journey at Shoe Cove beach. You can choose to either walk up the ATV trail to the road or push through the last few kilometers to finish the entire hike. Here you will be greeted with more beautiful coastal views, an old boat launch, and a fantastic view of the entire town of Pouch Cove.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen, especially if it’s a warm sunny day.
  2. Bring a lunch or snacks with you and stop at any of the major lookouts to have a picnic with a view!
  3. Some portions of the hike do include stairs and boardwalks that have rotted away. There are also plenty of very rocky sections of the hike. A good set of hiking boots with ankle support would be helpful.
  4. Keep your phone or camera easily accessible because seeing wildlife such as whales, seals, and eagles is not uncommon!

Lauren O’Dell is an outdoor enthusiast from Torbay, Newfoundland. She is a full-time student at Marine Institute, but in her free time she loves getting out into nature and exploring. Although she enjoys trying new trails, her favourite is the Stiles Cove trail in scenic Pouch Cove. When she isn’t hiking or taking photos she spends time doing art, driving around with friends, or researching new travel and hiking destinations! Check out Lauren’s spectacular posts on Instagram.

Published: June 25, 2021