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Point Riche

(click here to find location on the map)

Point Riche is a short detour off the Viking Trail (Route 430). Take exit 430-28 west. It's about 20 km west of 430, you pass through Port Saunders before arriving in Port au Choix. There is a peninsula that juts out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The townsite of Port au Choix is centred on the isthmus of the peninsula. Follow the signs to the National Historic Site.

The Port au Choix National Historic Site of Canada is on the peninsula. Click here for a map to the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre has exhibits and a short film where you can learn about Port au Choix's first residents. The centre also houses a nice gift shop. From the centre you continue down the road to see the Point Riche Lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. That marks Point Riche and the trail head. As you drive up to the lighthouse there is an outdoor display on your left to check out.

(click photos to enlarge)

Port au Choix National Historic Site of Canada Visitor Center
Outdoor Displays, Point Riche, NL

In Newfoundland, the lighthouses always get the best views! Paths will take you down to some picnic tables on the shore, or you can walk about on the smooth rocks around the base of the lighthouse. Many of the locals use the road to the lighthouse as part of their exercise regiment. The plant life on the trail (trail starts at the outhouse), is very rare and much of it is specific to this peninsula. Stay along the path which is marked by a trail of rocks.

(click photos to enlarge)

Point Riche Lighthouse, NL
Point Riche Lighthouse, NL
Point Riche Lighthouse, NL
Plant Life, Point Riche, NL
Philip's Garden, Point Riche, NL
Rocks mark Philip's Garden Trail

The trail is actually a loop around the peninsula. From the Point Riche Lighthouse you are going north easterly along the coast. The Philip's Garden trail will take you around to the north side where Philip's Gardens are. There are 3 "gardens" each area having been the subject of archeological digs. When the interpretive centre is open you are able to find out if the digs are active. Philip's Gardens are also accessible from the other side of the peninsula at the end of Philip Drive.

We had just started on the trail when we spotted caribou! There were 4 animals in the group. On the way back we spotted 2 more and saw the original 4 again. There are also moose on the peninsula.

(click photos to enlarge)

Caribou at Point Riche, NL
Caribou at Point Riche, NL
Moose at Point Riche, NL
Philip's Garden Trail, Port au Choix, NL

The trail starting from the lighthouse is quite different from the trail starting at the cove. The landscape changes from rocky barrens to heavily treed and meadows. The final 3 pictures in this series were taken during a previous visit a few years ago and show the trail starting from the cove. The trailhead from the cove starts at the end of Philip Drive.

(click photos to enlarge, click on name for location)

Philip's Garden Trail, Port au Choix, NL
Trail, Port au Choix, NL
Along the Trail, Port au Choix, NL
Archaeological Dig, Port au Choix, NL

Hikes of Western Newfoundland:

Hikes of Western Newfoundland by Katie Broadhurst and Alexandra Fortin is an excellent guide if you like to do trails. The book covers Western and Central Newfoundland as far east as Twillingate. They don't cover every trail, that's almost impossible. You'll find information on a good range of trails that you should consider.

Hikes of Western Newfoundland
Hikes of Western Newfoundland, area maps
Hikes of Western Newfoundland, detailed maps

You start with the area map where they show the trails that are covered by the book. The pages about each trail include GPS co-ordinates of the trailhead and a good map of the trail. They also tell you the level of difficulty and distances.

We bought a copy ahead of our June 2015 trip to scout out the trails we wanted to do ahead of time. The book is available on Amazon and you can purchase it through this link.

Hikes of Western Newfoundland is also available on and American customers can purchase by clicking here.