It was a sunny weekend, the first really nice, warm, back to back sunny days yet this spring and it seemed like everyone was outdoors and on the go! A group of us headed out to Blow Me Down Provincial Park to hike the Tortoise Mountain Trail. This is a trail I had not hiked before and boy, was I missing out!
At just under an hour from Corner Brook, the Lark Harbour-York Harbour area has some of the best hiking trails on the west coast. This is proven by the number of hikers who hiked in this area yesterday alone! There were couples, families, groups and even the Humber Valley Hikers hiking group was out there this weekend.
Blow Me Down Provincial Park opens June 3 this year, so for now you have to park at the gate and walk about 15 minutes to get to the trailhead. There are some serious stairs right off the bat but they allow you to gain elevation very quickly and you are immediately rewarded with views.
There is a lookout tower at about 250m/750ft where you can see down into Lark Harbour, out to the Bay of Islands and back into York Harbour. I love this view!
Past the tower was all new trail for me and it's so exciting to hike a new trail! We wandered along though spruce woods with moss carpet, birch stands and climbed our way onto Tortoise Mountain (a.k.a. Lark Harbour Head). There was only one small patch of snow remaining and a few small muddy/boggy sections with some broken boardwalks but otherwise the trail was in great shape.
Coming out onto the summit of Tortoise Mountain was so incredible! I love the Bay of Islands (perhaps more than Bonne Bay) because of the islands and variety of mountains you can see. From this point, we could see the North Arm hills (almost to Trout River!), the Blow Me Down Mountains, the Lewis Hills as well as the Murray Mountains. Bring your binoculars for sure on this hike!
After a snack and a few pictures, we made our way back, this time descending down the Governor's Staircase to the beach. By the time we were back at the car, we had spend three hours in Blow Me Down Provincial Park and enjoyed every moment!
Thanks to Alex, Alice and Keri for the company:)
Local Resources and Tips
- Get your copy of Hikes of Western Newfoundland for full trail details (also available locally at Marlaine's Tidewatcher Cafe and The Roost Craft Shop)
- Book a campsite at Blow Me Down Provincial Park
- Don't miss the crab sandwiches at Marlaine's Tidewatcher Cafe
- Best sunset watching spot is from Bottle Cove up by the Captain Cook monument.