I completed my 52 Hike Challenge hiking the Mad Rock Shoreline Heritage Trail leading to Mad Rock on a beautiful sunny day, strange for late December in Newfoundland, Canada.
This is a very popular hike in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, and gives you beautiful views of the ocean and a taste of local history.
Disclaimer: Some links on this page may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase from the sites linked, I may receive a commission. The decision to make a purchase is entirely up to the reader.
Quick Trail Facts
Approximately 6-kilometer loop trail.
Multiple entrances and exits – can alter your route based on preferences.
Narrow and gravel roads to access trail entrances.
Clearly marked with trail signs.
No shade, but can also be very windy by the water.
Moderate – Hard hike.
Rocky trail with many inclines & declines.
Near cliff-side for the majority of the trail.
Outhouses and picnic tables are available for rest stops.
Access to rocky beaches.
A beautiful and delicious cafe to have a taste of Newfoundland.
Wear appropriate footwear and bring water!
Locating Trail Entrance and Parking
There are multiple parking areas depending on where you wish to begin your hike. I have attached a google map of where I always start my hike which is at the end of Beachy Cove Road.
It is perfectly acceptable to start at Mad Rock, but I enjoy the path starting at this location. You can reach this parking area by heading down Water Street and when you come upon a sharp left turn the next right (which is basically on the turn) is how you access Beachy Cove Road.
I would use a GPS, but a simple trick is if you haven’t passed Mercer’s Cove you need to keep going and if you passed Whitney Street then you have gone too far.
The road to this parking area is narrow and gravel with few parking spaces, but it is a lightly trafficked trail so there shouldn’t be an issue with parking. If there is absolutely no room to park you can always start the trail at Mad Rock itself.
Mad Rock Shoreline Heritage Trail
This hike is a loop trail that intersects at French’s Cove where you walk over a familiar path back to the parking area.
The trail consists of a wide grassy trail, gravel road, paved road, and rocky narrow trails. I definitely recommend wearing appropriate hiking footwear to protect your ankles and keep your feet dry!
I would classify the hike as moderate-hard because it has a lot of trail variance and steep inclines and declines in certain areas. I hike regularly and would consider it more of a moderate hike.
You start the trail on a grassy path bordering the ocean that leads to rocky beach shores. There are fishing structures, boats, and small cabins on this portion of the hike.
You will then come to a paved road with houses, but do not worry there is clear signage to lead you in the right direction. Once you reach the next portion of the hike you will come to French’s Cove. This is a beautiful place to turn around and soak in the beauty surrounding you. You will also get a great angle of Fergus Island which is said to look like a Newfoundland Dog lying down! (Pictured Above).
Continue on this hike until you reach a fork in the road with clear signs marking that you can walk straight to Mad Rock which would take you near the cafe or you can continue on “No Denial Path” which will take you near the cliffside. This is my recommendation because you hike through astounding views of the ocean and circle back to Mad Rock itself.
The views on this section of the trail are breathtaking, but it may be windier so make sure you bring a jacket for this part!
You will come across an old graveyard with graves from the 1700s. You can read about the history provided by signs on the trail.
Once you reach Mad Rock you will have access to gravel roads and rocky shorelines. I definitely recommend even driving to this point if you did not want to hike, the ocean is good for the soul.
The reason they call this Mad Rock is because of the violent crashing of the waves on the large rocks pictured above. I captured this photo on a calm day, but if you want to see how extraordinary the waves can be you can watch my video below from December 17th, 2020.
You can continue on this gravel path back to the Mad Rock Cafe and reach the road where you continue your loop.
On your way, you will reach “The Three Sisters”. A beautiful scene of jagged rocks in the ocean.
This is a point where you can choose to turn around and treat the trail as an out and back trail or you can continue down the road making it a loop.
You will continue walking on a paved road until you reach French’s Cove. You turn down this street and will find a familiar intersection and return to the grassy path back to Beachy Cove Road.
You’re reaching the end of a beautiful hike that will show you the beauty of the ocean. It is equally as beautiful on calm days as it is when the waves are beating against the rocks.
Humpback Whales and Orcas are prominent during whale season!
If you have any questions or comments concerning the hiking trail or the history please contact me or leave a comment below.
If you do hike this trail and post a picture feel free to use the hashtag #followingalexx and I will share it with my Instagram story! You can find helpful hiking captions here.