Newfoundland and Labrador is finally showing some signs that we might just actually get a bit of summer in 2017. Winter overstayed its welcome and now hikers and walkers are chomping at the bit to hit the trails. Folks have started asking if the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail, located just outside of King’s Point, is ready to be hiked.
A full hike of the Alexander Murray on May 30th, 2017, showed that this trail is as awesome as ever. It revealed a few surprises as well.
The lower levels were relatively free of snow. The few piles of snow that remain were easy to walk over, even in sneakers. There were a few puddles, but only what can be expected on a hike in NL!
All photos below were taken on May 30th, 2017. The photos are in the same order as their locations on the trail.
We can expect the snow to all be gone in a couple of weeks. (We hope.) On May 30th, however, there was snow at the top of the mountain range on the trail — enough to require waterproof/winter boots if doing the whole loop.
As those who have hiked the Murray know, the trail forks at a location called the ‘Moose Barrens.’ From there it forms a loop, and you can choose to go left or right to finish the trail. You will end up back at the Moose Barrens rest area.
Until the snow is completely melted and the mud dries up, some people might like to go left at the fork to hike to the peak and come back down the same way. On the left side to the peak there is less snow and mud than on the right side of the loop to the peak. There is snow, either way. But you won’t have to wring out your socks if you stick to the left.
In 2016 a lot of work was completed on the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail. Some steps and railings were repaired. Trees and bushes were trimmed back and a new bridge was built. A small section of boardwalk/stairs were taken out not far from the peak. Another section of boardwalk was raised and leveled.
A look on May 30th revealed the winter snow and harsh conditions of 2016-17 took its toll one section of stairs, near the gorge. The stair case has been pushed out of shape. The stairs there, though, are actually much sturdier than they appear when you first see them.
But, like all places on any hiking trail anywhere, walk them with care.
On May 30th there was snow in many places near the peak. On the left side of the loop to the peak, it was tolerable and could be possibly be done in sneakers/low hiking footwear without getting feet too wet.
But from the peak down the other side, hikers will pass through a forested area. (Between the Haypook and Rowsell’s Falls. Refer to the map, above.) On May 30th, this forested stretch was difficult. The snow is deeper, and the trail harder to follow. There was also running water and two fallen trees. This stretch will be much more enjoyable in summer, when the area is drier.
In the meantime, unless you are up for a water and slush challenge, go left at the fork and come down the same way. It will be much more fun. (And you can always still tell people you did the whole trail.)
On May 30th, the snow did tack some time onto the overall hiking time. The Alexander Murray Hiking Trail can take 3-5 hours, depending on walking speed. If you choose to do the whole loop in the next week or so (From May 31st), expect to be slowed down a little.
Even so, the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail is still what you expect: great views, fresh air and a great workout. As tired as I was when I got back out to my little car… I can’t wait to do it again!
To get in touch with the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail Committee ~
[Top photo: View at the summit, ‘the Haypook’, on the Alexander Murray Hiking Trail. Taken on May 30, 2017]