Hiking the Alexander Murray Trail near King’s Point, Newfoundland

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The Alexander Murray Trail, named for Sir Alexander Murray – the first person to ever produce a geological map of Newfoundland, is located in the small community of King’s Point, Newfoundland. It’s not a spot on the radar of many BUT if you’re driving the Trans-Canada Highway northeast of Deer Lake, then it’s worth making the three to four hour stop to hike this trail.

Here’s why.

The trail is a study in stair construction and design. There are 2,200 stairs in total – both going up and coming down that you’ll have to hike. Despite the fact that you may be winded doing this – you may even be cursing at times, the stairs make the hiking a whole lot easier.

"some of the 2,200 stairs on the Alexander Murray Trail"

The first of the 2,200 stairs occurs within 5 minutes of the start of the trail

"Looking down one of the steep sets of stairs"

Looking down one of the steep sets of stairs

The trail is incredibly well marked. At various locations there are signs indicating the distance and how long you can expect it to take to the next signed area. For those of you, who worry about getting lost, fear not.

"Heading for Corner Brook Gorge"

Heading for Corner Brook Gorge

There is the chance to see wildlife, though the best we could so was the grouse pictured below. You do hike through an area called Moose Barrens, where you’ll spot plenty of moose poop, but unfortunately for us not a single moose. Mind you, it was hot on the day we did it, so any moose in the area were probably taking a siesta.

"The only wildlife we saw on the trail"

The only wildlife we saw on the trail

"The trail through the Moose Barrens area"

The trail through the Moose Barrens area

The whole trail is eight kilometers long. It’s primarily a loop with minimal backtracking required. There’s a side trip well worth doing to Corner Brook Gorge and Corner Brook Falls. It requires a descent of over 200 stairs – which is easy enough – but then you have to ascend those stairs to the main trail and continue on to the summit.

Do it, especially on a hot day as it’s cool at the bottom. And the pool at the base of the falls certainly looks inviting too.

"Corner Brook Falls in Corner Brook Gorge"

Corner Brook Falls in Corner Brook Gorge

"The pool at the bottom of the falls looks very inviting on a hot summer day"

The pool at the bottom of the falls looks very inviting on a hot summer day

Once you’re back to the main trail, these are the stairs you can look forward to climbing.

"The section of stairs once you're out of the gorge"

The section of stairs once you’re out of the gorge

"The final push to the summit"

The final push to the summit

"Lookouts on the summit"

Lookouts on the summit

The summit, called HayPook offers 360 degree views. Look down the Southwest Arm of Green Bay, where you can spot icebergs this year. You’ll also see the Gaff Topsails, a geological feature known as drumlins on the southwestern horizon.

"Lookout out to the Southwest Arm of Green Bay"

Lookout out to the Southwest Arm of Green Bay

"Icebergs can be seen on the horizon"

Icebergs can be seen on the horizon

"Looking west from the summit"

Looking west from the summit

The descent from the summit is via a combination of stairs and dirt trail. It passes two waterfalls – Roswell’s and Gull Brook Falls as well as a campsite with a couple of tent platforms. Generally, the descent is very pleasant with the stairs well-spaced. There is one bridge that is washed out where you have to remove shoes to wade across – at least right now.

"Looking back to Gull Brook Falls and the stairs"

Looking back to Gull Brook Falls and the stairs

"Wildflowers are common in wetter areas"

Wildflowers are common in wetter areas

"The one section of trail where you need to remove your boots"

The one section of trail where you need to remove your boots

Once you’re back at the Moose Barrens it’s a quick 30 minute hike back to the parking lot.

"Alexander Murray Trail signs"

Precise time and distance signs can frequently be seen on the trail

 Useful Information about the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail

  • The trail is 8 kilometers round-trip with an elevation gain of 335 meters (1,100 feet).
  • Expect it to take 3-5 hours depending on what sort of shape you’re in.
  • The trail is free to hike though donations for trail maintenance are gratefully accepted.
  • The trail starts by the entrance of the town of King’s Point at the Visitor Center in central Newfoundland, just 12 kilometers off the Trans-Canada Highway via Highway 391. The trail is located approximately 132 kilometers northeast of Deer Lake.
  • During business hours at the Visitor Center you can purchase drinks and snacks – as well as quilts and jam.
  • Before or after your hike, drive into town and eat at By the Sea Inn and Cafe. You can also spend the night.

Do you have a favourite hike in Newfoundland?

***Thank you to Adventure Central Newfoundland for making this trip possible.***

Leigh McAdam

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