Table Mountain is located approximately 8 kilometers northeast of Stephenville, Newfoundland. The ridge extends a distance of 16 kilometers along the shoreline of Port au Port Bay, in a northeasterly direction. The highest elevation of Table Mountain, 1250 feet.
This hike can be done by a person of average physical fitness and novice level hiking experience. The total distance is approximately 10 kilometers and can be done in 4 - 5 hours. The first 2.5 k is a gravel road up a steep hill. Most of the route is over dry solid ground. If you venture off the suggested route, you may encounter wet or boggy conditions and thick tuckamore.
The total distance is approximately 10 kilometers and can be done in 4 - 5 hours, depending on the number of stops and side-trips taken. The first 2.5 k is up a steep hill. Most of the route is over dry solid ground. If you venture off the suggested route, you may encounter wet or boggy conditions and thick tuckamore. Navigation equipment is recommended but may not be essential. If you venture off the trail without it, getting lost is a real possibility. Before you leave, make sure someone knows your route plan and report back to them upon your return.
That part of Table Mountain called Pine Tree is located at 770830, elevation 1150 feet. It is the former site of an American military radar base which was part of the DEW line.
Topographic map needed:
References to Table Mountain are from Canadian 1:50 000 topographic map "Stephenville 12B/10", universal transverse Mercator grid zone 21, square identification UD, mean declination 1985 (center of map) 23º 34' W, annual change decreasing 6.1'.
Maps may be available from Natural Resources Canada website:
A 25L day pack should be sufficient to carry all you will need for a day trip. Carry a camera, binoculars, standard first aid kit, snacks or a substantial lunch if you intend to make it a day. A walking staff may be among your list of essential equipment.
Depending on the season, the amount of clothing you need will vary. Determine the weather forecast before departure, and act accordingly. During any season, dress for the current weather conditions. However, be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. Carry extra clothing such as wind pants and jacket, even in the summer. At least, light hiking boots are recommended, especially if you intend to travel off the road.
It is highly recommended that you carry your own drinking water, even if you intend to boil it. The site at the top of the mountain was a former military installation, and any water running off is questionable at best. It is best to avoid drinking it altogether. It is well known locally that hazardous materials have been dumped and buried in this site.
ར Minimum environmental impact policy: It is recommended that hikers observe a minimum environmental impact policy. Avoid open fires, leave wildflowers for others to enjoy, be cautious of wild animals and carry out whatever you carry in.
ར Detailed route guide: To get to Pine Tree, follow route 460 west from (820783) Stephenville through Kippens, approximately 9k, through Port au Port East. Turn right onto route 462, (at 737794) and drive approximately 2.5k. Here (750819) you will see a gravel road on your right. Drive onto the gravel road and you may immediately see that the road is barred by a locked barricade. From here you must be self propelled. Park your vehicle off the road to the left. There are communications installations at the top of the mountain which are visited from time to time by maintenance personnel, so their access must be unimpeded.
As you walk the road, you gain elevation at the rate of about 250 feet/k. The view of the coastline of Port au Port Bay and the Port au Port Peninsula opens up as you proceed up the hill. You will stop frequently to admire the view, as you ascend.
About 3k up the hill, as the road turns sharply to the right, (775837) a 600m hike along the rocky ridge to the left (northeast, compass bearing 34º) is an interesting diversion. Follow the limestone outcrop to the edge of the ravine (778843). The stream at the bottom of the ravine is Smelt Brook. Look down as you walk. The rocks under your feet were once at the bottom of the ocean. They are composed of the fossilized remains of prehistoric animals. The plant life at this level is also somewhat unique. You will see juniper, spruce and alder; all growing close to the ground as a result of the persistent winds that sweep this region, especially in the winter. From early to mid June the yellow lady slipper orchid is also found here in wild profusion.
From the edge of the ravine you get a spectacular view of Two Guts Pond, the communities of Point au Mal and Fox Island River, Port au Port Bay, Fox Island, and Black Duck Brook.
Return to the road, continue around the bend and up the hill toward the radar base(772829). From this vantage point, prominent features in the Indian Head and Long Range Mountains may be seen.
If you venture down the hill toward the southeast, you may be in for a few botanical treats. On either side of the road the the Yellow Lady Slipper orchid can be seen about mid June. Follow the road on around the pond to its end. Moose have been frequently sighted in this area. You may see their tracks in the soft mud beside the road, and see signs of their browsing on the bushes and shrubs that grow here. Moose are usually very wary of humans. In order to observe them you must be very quiet. They prefer the hidden fens, groves and spruce-bordered bogs.
When it is time to head back, the best return route is the one over which you came.
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