Name: The Trepassey Line

Distance: 166 kms 

One day

Rating: Class 5-6

Creator: Geoff Smith

Location: Eastern Newfoundland, on the Avalon Peninsula

The Trepassey line is the longest of the branch line railway routes on the Island of Newfoundland. It was also the most short-lived, with the track being laid in 1911, and the route being decommissioned in 1932. In its continuous and original form, it ran from the capital city of St. John’s, to the town of Trepassey on the south eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula.

Having long since been decommissioned, the Trepassey line trail is by far the most challenging of all the branch line trail routes, and is no longer continuous, and has been completely reclaimed by Mother Nature in many areas. But it is the challenges of the terrain and tricky navigation through this much segmented route which will be part of the attraction for many truly adventurous riders.


The first segment of the trail can be picked up from the northwest side of the Bay Bulls Big Pond city water supply reservoir. From here the route continues southward and unbroken to the coastal town of Bay Bulls. The trail has many deep flooded sections, plenty of mud, and is fairly grown over with low hanging trees and bush in places. There are also a couple of old railway trestles along this segment of the trail, which have been rebuilt by local users. These bridges should be approached with great caution, as they are sometimes out of commission, or in a state of dubious disrepair.

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All photos by geoff Smith unless otherwise noted

 A rider on one of the rare dry and hard pack sections of the Bay Bulls trail segment

A more typical view of the Bay Bulls segment terrain

One of the local-user-repaired railway trestles

The buddy system works well on this trail

The author misjudging the depth of a ‘puddle’, photo by Lorenzo Moore

The next segment of the Trepassey line runs from Cape Broyle to Cappahayden. This route can be picked up from Station Road, in the coastal town of Cape Broyle.

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This segment of the Trepassey line has a number of challenging, and sometimes flooded, sections, but  typically has a rocky or hard-pack type of terrain makeup.

Another home-spun railway trestle refit

Another trestle in need of some TLC


A flooded section of trail

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The author getting stuck, which is always a possibility on the Trepassey trail, photo by Brian Kerr

This rider found a bypass around a flooded area

Yet another homemade bridge crossing 

The last section of the Trepassey branch line trail runs from Chance Cove to Trepassey. The trail can be picked up from Chance Cove Park, but many riders prefer to ride this segment in the opposite direction (west - east), starting out from the Town of Trepassey, and ending up at Chance Cove Park.

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This segment of the trail can be very challenging, with numerous flooded areas, deep mud, and river crossings.


Three bikes on the glacial barrens near Portugal Cove South, photo by Shannon Richmond

Wet feet are a definite possibility, photo by Shannon Richmond

Near Trepassey, sometimes this happens when you venture a few feet off the trail.

Near Portugal Cove South, photo by Shannon Richmond

It’s not all mud and water, however

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