Head east from Montréal to Stephenville, to experience the best of western Newfoundland.
Tucked away on the shores of Bay St. George, you’ll find western Newfoundland’s jumping off point for amazing outdoor adventures. Stephenville is a small coastal city, with paths leading to mountains, forests, and waterfalls, some within minutes of the downtown area.
Follow the Walk-A-Ways Trail network to see some of Stephenville’s best sights. Pick your path on the 14.5 km paved or gravel trails. Breeze past the popular Seaside Links Golf Course along the Seaside Stroll Trail, or walk amongst wood turned stone in the fossil beds of Blanche Brook Trail.
Stephenville’s geological features also include the Cabox. Standing at 814 m, this section of the Lewis Hills Trail is the highest peak on the island of Newfoundland. Part of the Long Range Mountains, this 1.2-billion-year-old mountain offers a great view and a new perspective on Newfoundland’s past.
Travel across more of the Long Range Mountains in Stephenville’s two nearby provincial parks. Barachois Pond and Gros Morne both feature stunning segments of the Appalachian Mountains, another provincial perk of Newfoundland’s geography.
Get to know the character of Stephenville a little better at the Stephenville Museum. Or get to know Stephenville’s characters at the Stephenville Theatre Festival, held every summer. When the festival isn’t on, the show goes on at Stephenville’s Arts and Culture Centre.
2 hours north of Stephenville you’ll meet the peaks of the mysterious Blow Me Down Mountains.
The story behind the name of the Blow Me Down Mountains is as strange as the mountains are striking. According to local lore, Captain Messervey, anchored in the bay below the mountains looked up at their looming peaks and exclaimed: “I hope they don’t blow-me-down!”
Standing 650 metres above sea level, these mountains rise ominously from the peninsula. You can hike to the barren summit along the Blow Me Down Mountain Trail. This 16 km trek will take you to a peak scarred by deep valleys and sheer cliffs. For an easier path, step onto the Governor’s Staircase. 450-million-year-old volcanic rocks, cut with quartz veins, frame this picturesque walk.
Make your way up to the observation tower, to get a lay of the park’s land. From this high tower, survey Blow Me Down’s smaller neighbour’s, Murray and Tortoise Mountains. Looking further out, count the more than a dozen islands that populate the crowded Bay of Islands.
From the observation tower, you may catch a glimpse of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The water might look familiar, and that could be because it’s fed by the St. Lawrence River, passing by Montréal on its way to Newfoundland.
If you’re there for the day, the picnic area is the perfect place to break for lunch. For overnight trips, you’ll have a choice of 28 sites in the shadow of the Blow Me Down Mountains.
Just a stone’s throw away from Stephenville, Barachois Pond Provincial Park can’t be skipped on your trip from Montréal.
Take the Trans Canada Highway 30 minutes from Stephenville to arrive at Barachois Pond. Lakes, trails, and mountains are waiting for swimming, hiking, and climbing in this scenic and convenient escape.
The mountains within the park constitute the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountain Chain. When you’re hiking along the Long Range Mountains, be sure to take plenty of pictures. You’ll want to have proof to back up your bragging rights once you’re back in Montréal.
For a slower slope, hike the Erin Mountain Trail. Along the lower section, the boardwalk path requires little exertion, but rewards greatly with views of beautiful bogs and moseying moose from the lookout. If you’re up for the challenge, venture up over 300 metres to the upper trail. From the vantage point at the top, you’ll be able to gaze out at the Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. George’s Bay.
Rest your tired legs at one of Barachois Pond Provincial Park’s 150 campsites. With a night sky as amazing as Newfoundland’s, you might not get much sleep. Stay up looking at the stars and save sleep for when you’re back in Montréal.
Fly from Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to Stephenville International Airport (YJT), with a connection in Halifax. Montréal to Stephenville flight time is X hours and X minutes on average. Connection times vary. The distance from Montréal to Stephenville is around 1,375 km / 855 mi.
Enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks along the way.