Silver Mine Head Path is a short but spectacular trail found in the newer section of the East Coast Trail, north of St. John’s. It was hot and sunny, and still tired from the longer Mickeleen’s Path hike the day before, we figured the 2.4 km trail would be a perfect short hike. Our plan was to hike out and back, giving us an opportunity to ensure we saw everything and giving us a quick 4.8 km. The trail would get the better of us, however: an unimproved section of the trail from Motion River to the Motion Drive trailhead included a river crossing at Motion River that was difficult. We decided that we’d head back and do the remainder of the trail from the other end after hiking the 450 m to the river from Motion Drive. Hikers shouldn’t avoid this section altogether, however, as the views from the cliffs beyond this point are impressive.
Picking up the trail again at Middle Cove Beach, a very popular destination for folks in and around St. John’s, we headed up over the rocks at the back of the beach and through a short stretch of meadow to stairs heading up to the cliffside. From there, the trail follows the cliffs for about 1.3 km, offering a series of spectacular views, including a sea cave at 700 m, The trail splits and rejoins itself for 300 m, allowing the more nervous hiker the chance to avoid views from heights. The trail then descends to Houlihans River at the site of the former Silver Mine, of which I could find no trace. Private property owners in the meadow above Houlihans River have a spectacular view, and a bench is available here for a rest. The rocky shore is accessible at this low point as well. Beyond this, the trail passes a concrete structure and through some wet woods before reaching Motion River from the other side. Climbing down to the beach and back up the other side would perhaps make the crossing easier.
Click on the pictures below to zoom in and check them out in more detail!