Thursday, October 20, 2016

Daily Details for Argentia to Port Aux Basques

There is a paper version of this HERE. Print it and take it with you. This is the same route I took in 2013. So if you take a look at the 2013 photos page you'll see what that route looks like. You can reference this map below as I have hotels, parks, gas stations and just about everything marked with icons. Just zoom in to a particular area to see the details. Hotels are shown in Clarenville, Gander, Badger, Deer Lake, and Robinson's.
Download the GPS tracks for the entire trip.




Day 1 - Argentia to Clarenville
I recommend staying at St. Jude's Hotel
approximately 143 kmSee GPS link.



You'll get off the ferry at approximately 10:30 a.m. The first 30 kms of this trail is the roughest of the entire trip with large water holes. After that it's pretty clear sailing. Those first 30 km will take several hours but you'll pick up the pace after that.

NOTE: Reset your trip meter on the ferry before you start. At approximately 32 km there will be a trail on your left. It's a sharp left. DON'T MISS THIS TURN or you will end up heading towards St. John's. See picture below.


Getting Gas in Goobies: By the time you get to Goobies you'll need gas as it's about 112 km from the boat. If your ATV can't make it that far you'll need extra gas so bring a jerry can with about 5-10 litres. You should have extra gas regardless. 

Just before Goobies you'll drive over a bridge with a river and rocks on your right hand side. Shortly after that you need to cut up to a residential road on your left hand side. It's about 3 km of riding on paved roads including the provincial hwy to get to the gas station. See the yellow line in the image below.

If you get to the tunnel that goes under the hwy you went too far.


Once you get gas just back track to where you came from to get back to the T'Railway.

From the Irving Gas Station the turn off to St. Jude's Hotel is approximately 29 km away. You'll see a sign for St. Jude's - take the path 1.5 km to the motel. At the end of the trail you will come out to a parking lot of a business. Just go straight to the highway and turn left. The Hotel is right there, you will be able to see it. If you are handy with Google Maps just type in St. Jude's and look at it with satellite view, you can see the motel and the trail.

Important to know - before you go: 
When booking your hotel room for St. Jude's be sure to mention that you are riding the rail bed by ATV and you want their ATV package. They give you $10 off a meal if you eat at their restaurant. (They may or may not still offer that deal) The food is very good. You can also park at the rear of the Motel right next to your room that has a back door which is very convenient for unloading your gear.

You'll probably end up in Clarenville about 6 or 7 p.m. if you average about 30-40 km/h with photo stops and snack breaks.

Day 2 - Clarenville to Gander
I recommend staying at The Comfort Inn
approximately 142 km. See GPS link.



This will take about 9 hours or so of travelling with time for stops for pictures, fuel, food etc.
This is a good section of the trail with lots of nice scenery. 

There is a nice water fall on the right hand side of the trail about 32 km from St. Jude's.  If it's a hot day you may want to wear a swim suit under your gear and jump in for a dip, the water is usually very nice. If you're a bit adventurous you can climb the rocks and see another two waterfalls above. See the picture below.




Approx. 5 km from the waterfall is a gas station in Port Blandford. There will be a sign on the trail. Fill up here. The trail is about 550 m. You can get gas, ice, water, beer and some food. 

Sometimes the trail can be a bit rough but it's easily passable. If you want to avoid it take a left at the paved road about 1 km before the trail. It will take you to the gas station as well. See the picture below. Click on the picture to see larger version.

About 9.5 km after the gas station there is a REALLY nice spot to stop for lunch or a snack. It's just after a bridge over a water fall. It's about 50 km distance from the day's starting point, St. Jude's. It's part of Terra Nova National Park. 

PROBLEM!! The bridge in Terra Nova is out of service at the moment. Luckily you can get around it but it's about a 40 km detour. At approximately 14 km from the rest stop I just mentioned you will come to a paved road called Terra Nova Road. When you get to it follow these directions and see picture below:


Turn Right onto Terra Nova Rd for approximately 11.5 - 12 km.

Turn Left onto a dirt road - follow it to the end, approx 19 km. It will come out to a place called the Splash n' Putt.

Turn left on the Provincial Hwy follow it for approx 6.3 km

Turn left on a dirt road - follow it to the end approx 5.3 km. It comes to a T in the road, that's the T'Railway. 

Turn Right and follow to Gander.

There is a pub in Gambo, about 17 km after you get back on the trail. It will be on the right hand side close to the water. You can stop and enjoy a beverage on the rear patio and get recharged before heading out the trail for the last leg of the trip.



Gander is about another 51 km from the pub in Gambo. When you first get to Gander you will cross Baird Avenue and about 150 m after that is Rosie's Restaurant. It's right on the trail and they have GREAT food & service if you're hungry. There is a sign for it. 


Directions to Comfort Inn from Rosie's. 
When you leave Rosie's get back on the trail (turn left) and follow it until you get to a wide paved road called Cooper Blvd. (you will have passed Wal Mart to get here) 
Cross Cooper BLVD and turn left. 
Drive for about 200 m and take a right on a paved trail - that's the T'Railway. (Yes, it's paved for a bit.)
 Go straight for about 2.3 km until you reach Magee Road. Take a left. 
Drive for about 800 m until you get to the highway. Turn left on a trail on the side of the highway. Follow it until you get to the Comfort Inn - about 1.3 km.

Click on the image to see a larger version.



Click to see a video on YouTube showing the trail this day.

Day 3 - Gander to Badger
I recommend staying at Trail Blazer's Efficiency Units
approximately 142 km. See GPS link.

It will take about 9 hours travel time including stops.


Approx 66 km from the Comfort Inn there is a bridge. Stop just before the bridge, to the left of it, and you can walk down under the bridge and have a break there. We usually stop thee and BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch.

About 30 km after the bridge (100 km from Comfort Inn) there is a path to a gas station on your left. There will be a wooden post that looks like an old fashioned road sign with arrows pointing in both directions. Turn left, the gas station is 220 m up that road. It's a large Irving Gas Station with convenience store attached.



In approx. 28 km you will arrive in Badger. Trailblazers is right there on the right side of the trail, you can't miss it, unless you're riding about 60 km/h and then I suppose you could. Just before Trailblazer's is an old train bridge that has a beautiful view of the local river. By the time you get there the sun will be low in the sky and you can get some fantastic pictures of the sunset.

500 metres up the paved road from Trailblazer's is an Irving gas station. A little bit further down the road from the Irving is Badger Diner, it has the best fish and chips you'll ever eat. Definitely worth a stop. They also have a little pub attached. If you want to cook for yourself Trailblazers has a fully stocked kitchen with BBQ and there is a grocery store next to it.

Trailblazer's has a VERY HANDY washer and dryer which is great. They also have laundry soap (usually). You only have to pack enough clothes to get to Badger and you can wash them and start over.

If Trailblazer's is already booked when you call you can try getting a room at Helen's Motel and Diner just up the road from the Irving.

Click to see a video on YouTube showing the trail this day.

Day 4 - Badger to Deer Lake
I recommend staying at The Driftwood Inn
approximately 135 km. See GPS Link.

It will take about 7.5 hours travel time including rest stops. 
There is a lot of FANTASTIC scenery this day. 




About 55 km or so from Badger there is a cool granite quarry. Good spot for some pictures. It's on the left side of the trail. 

About another 5 km or so after the quarry is the Gaff TopSails, it is also on your left. You will see an opening on your left, take that trail and it will take you almost to the top of the mountain. The trail is about 1km and it is a bit rough with loose rock but nothing drastic. There is a large concrete pad where you can park your ATV's near the top. I like having lunch here and enjoying the awesome scenery. You can climb the rest of the way to the top of the mountain if you want it has a fantastic view of the landscape. Many people say this is their favorite part of the trip. Don't miss it!

About 100 km or so from Badger is the town of Howley. You can stop for gas there at a local store. It's on your right side up a hill. It's marked on the GPS link and the map. The gas station looks kind of small on the outside but it has everything you can imagine in there. It's a mini Wal-Mart!

A few km after the that you will pass a bridge and on your left side is a beautiful beach you can ride your ATV on. See the picture below.

At about the 115-118 km you will be at Deer Lake Dam. You can't cross the dam but there is a trail that goes around it on your right. See Picture.



After you leave the Dam the trail splits in two. You can stay to the right to ride through town, which is kind of cool, or stay to the left and go by Deer Lake. If you follow the trail along the water it pretty much comes out across the street from the Hotel. (click image to see larger)



Driftwood Inn is right off the trail but it's easy to miss because it's down a hill a bit. When you hit Deer Lake you'll come to an overpass with a trail on the right. Take that trail to the motel. 

There is an Esso Gas Station not far from the Motel. The trail to the Motel will take you to the gas station which has a Burger King attached . There is a grocery store across the street from the Essor and a Tim Horton's past the grocery store. There is a nice restaurant and pub in the Motel too. 

Call Cecil Anderson and let him know that you will need him to transport you past the 30 km gap in the trail the next day. I talk about that more under day 5.

Click to see a video on YouTube showing the trail this day.

Day 5 - Deer Lake to Robinson'sapprox 115 km direct to Robinson's or about 160 km with a side trip to Serpentine Lake. With the side trip it will take about 8-9 hrs. See GPS Track.



30 km of the trail was removed to put in a new provincial highway. There is no legal way to cross the gap in the trail so you need to be trucked. Cecil Anderson can take four ATV's or three ATV's and a side by side. 709-686-5534 and charges $35-40. If you have a larger group he can take two trips or you can call Conway's Towing to take everyone. They have large flatbed tow trucks.

You can probably have Cecil pick you up at Driftwood Inn if you like to save a bit of time but it will cost a bit more. If you choose to follow the railway it's about 20 km from Driftwood Inn to Pasadena near a highway exit ramp. Cecil can pick you up there.

Cecil Anderson usually asks you to call him when you are leaving Deer Lake, and he'll meet you at the end of the trail which is near the highway. Be sure to call a day or two before to give him a heads up you need him. He'll pick you up and take you to either Corner Brook or Logger School Road. Check my map above and it shows both routes. The Logger School route is a bit shorter and the Corner Brook route is a bit more scenic.




Serpentine Lake is beautiful and if you want to see it check either the GPS Track or Map above to see where it is. (click image to see larger)




You won't be able to get gas until Stephenville Crossing which is about 115 km from Deer lake (IF you visit Serpentine Lake) and about 75 km if you don't. You may need extra gas. 

When you get to Stephenville Crossing the Irving Gas Station is on the right just across the street from the trail. It's also a corner store. 

NOTE: Shortly after you leave the gas station you will come across a bridge that is out. It is a short by-pass around it. Just ride main road and you will cross a new bridge. Almost right after you cross the bridge you'll see the trail. 

You will know When you get to Robinson' because there is a large sign on the side of the trail for Pirate's Haven Chalets. Follow the trail. There is a gas station about 1 km past the chalets at Salt Water Joyz. The people at Pirate's Haven can direct you or you can look at my GPS track.




Click to see a video on YouTube showing what the trail looks like this day.

Day 6 - Robinson's to Port Aux Basques
approx 105 km (without any side trips). See GPS track.



Around 35-40 km after you leave Robinson's you will come across a split in the trail where you can go straight or turn right. The trail is well worn to the right, take it. You will then come to a Y - take the left trail under the highway directly to the trail on the other side of the road. If you come to the highway you missed the turn. You can cross the highway but it's easier and much safer take the tunnel. See picture.



About 65 km from Robinson's there is a gas station located in the town/village of Doyle's. The station is about 140 m from from the T'Railway - it's an Esso and a large store as well.




About 20 km after the gas station (about 85 km from Robinson's ) you will see an old run down concrete looking house. There is a path up the hill just next to it that will take you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. There are some incredible views up there if the mountain is not fogged in. It's a MUST see.




When you get to an old train on the left of the track you are at the end of the trail. There is a gas station across the street and a few restaurants like Subway, Tim Horton's etc.




When heading to the ferry you can just ride the highway directly behind the Irving and go right. Follow it to the end, it takes you to the ferry. I heard there is a new trail behind the Irving that takes you to the ferry terminal. I haven't ridden it yet, take a look for it, you may find it.

Click to see a video on YouTube showing the trail this day.

That's pretty much it in nut shell. I hope you have a great time!

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