Old Petty Harbour Road

Kilbride / Petty Harbour

Ghost story writer Richard Westcott has a spooky tale about sighting a thing “higher on the legs than any horse he ever saw,” with an eye “as big as a saucer” on Old Petty Harbour Road. These days, the scariest thing you may run into on the road is an ATV blazing around a corner.

At one time (Old) Petty Harbour Road was the only connection between Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove and St John’s. Its exact origins of are a mystery, but in the early days horses and carts rambled to town and back for supplies. Jack Ershler, Town Council Supervisor for Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, says in his lifetime he’s heard of people walking the 20 kilometers back and forth from Petty Harbour to St. John’s daily to get to work.

Today a gate at Kilbride has cut off vehicle access, creating an eight kilometer stretch of trail to St. Joseph’s Cemetery, which is perfect for mountain biking. Plentiful, pristine ponds, like First Pond and Beer Pond, are a major highlight on this trail. From some vantage points, ponds hop-scotch across the landscape, and at other times the track skirts right along water’s edge.

Blueberries are also a major distraction.

Despite all the ponds, there is only one unavoidable boggy bit which proves a test to the balancing skills—aim tire to board or be punished with wet feet.

The road is rough, and you’ll need shocks, but the climbs are few. Only the final leg to Petty Harbour is a real grunt. After that steep incline, you emerge at the cemetery. If you hike up the hill, you’ll take in a 360-degree view of Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove set against open ocean on one side, and the terrain you just traversed on the other.

Be sure to reward yourself with fish & chips and a cruise around the docks in town.

— Bryhanna Greenough
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