The Island of Newfoundland is one of the top twenty largest islands in the world. It has a coastline which measures a mind-boggling 10,000 kms in length, it has tens of thousands of kms of ATV trails, and a decommissioned system of old railway routes (minus the tracks) stretching for nearly 1,500 kms, including the main T’Railway route across the island and the various branch line routes. So ‘The Rock’, as it’s affectionately known, may just be the ultimate off road motorcycle playground on the planet.
A view of the crashing waves at Shoal Bay is this trail rider’s reward. Photo By: Geoff Smith
Video by Geoff Smith
The main ‘T’Railway’ route across the island can best be described as a trans-island trail throughway. This trail winds it’s way from Port aux Basques on the West Coast, to the City of St.John’s on the East Coast. It is a decommissioned railway route spanning some 900 kms. Feeding into the T’Railway are numerous branch line railway trails, which allow access to many other overland and coastal trail routes all over the island. All of these trail systems are suitable for dualsport and off road motorcycles, but larger vehicles such as trucks are not permitted.
Photo By: Geoff Smith
There are also many spectacular trail systems on the island, which are independent of the old decommissioned railway routes. One of the most impressive is the trail network on the Burin Peninsula, on the island’s Southeast Coast. There are plans to connect this system to the main T’Railway route in the not too distant future.
Photo By: Geoff Smith
The main T’Railway route is not a difficult trail to ride, either from a terrain or navigation perspective. It is, in fact, a provincially funded linear park, and is therefore typically well-maintained. The branch line routes require a slightly higher level of riding ability and navigation skills, as they are maintained in a less formal way by local communities and users. The branch line trails are also more likely to suffer damage in the form of washouts and broken bridges thanks to being located nearer the coast, and are therefore never static and require even greater caution. Many of the independent trail networks on the island pose their own unique safety issues and rider skill requirements, and should also be approached with a higher level of caution and preparedness.
Being a coastal region, the Island of Newfoundland is prone to extremes of weather, and very dynamic and sudden changes in conditions and temperatures. Always bring along rain gear and warm clothing, plus other basics required to start a fire and overnight in the bush, if the need should arise. Many back-country trails will not have cell phone coverage, and a satellite phone should be considered.
For "The Rock" we have chosen to provide information on several trails and old rail lines. Click on each for more information.
- The Trepassey Line
- The Argentia Line
- The Conception Bay North Line
- The Powder Horn Trail
- The Bonavista Branch Line
- Garnish to Point Rosie
- The T'Railway
Above: The start points for the trails
Newfoundland is located off the east coast of Canada
There are three main ferries that provide transportation to the island. A popular way to get onto the island for overland travellers is the approach from Labrador. The ferry leaves from a small town called Blanc Sablon and arrives on the north west side of the island in a town called St Barbe. Information about the ferry can be found HERE
From the province of Nova Scotia you have two options for ferries to the island of Newfoundland. Both routes leave from a town called North Sydney in Nova Scotia. One ferry arrives on the island in the town of Port aux Basques on the south west side of the island, depending on the season the duration for this ferry is 5 to 8 hours. The second ferry arrives on the south east side of the island in the town of Argentia. The duration for this crossing is 14-15 hours. For both of these routes we highly recommend you make reservations for both getting onto and off of the island. More information can be found HERE