Guided tours to view the fossils are available from Natural Areas Interpreters. For more information about guided tours (mid-May to mid-October) or to reserve a space call the Reserve Interpreters at (709) 438-1011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Offices for provincial Natural Areas staff are located at the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South (located on Route 10, the Irish Loop Drive – a two hour drive south of St. John’s).
This tour will introduce you to the history of the area, the fossils of the Ediacaran biota, and how Mistaken Point became known world-wide as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will get a chance to see fossils up close, by donning bama booties and walking on the surface of these internationally significant bedding planes filled with thousands of fossils.
An official Natural Areas Interpreter will take you on a 45 minute, one-way walk through history to the sloping hills of Mistaken Point. The rolling path winds over the barrens along the coastline. Initially this route follows the track leading to the former seasonal fishing site at Watern Cove. Remnant rock 'fish flakes', used for drying cod can still be found in the area. There is a small river crossing with stepping stones to walk on. Depending upon the water level, your feet may get wet.
Guided tour reservations are strongly advised, as tours are often fully booked in advance. Call (709) 438-1011 or email email@example.com to book a space.
Tour Duration: Tours leave from the Edge of Avalon Interpretative Centre daily at 1:00 p.m.. Tour participants are asked to arrive at the Interpretation Centre no later than 12:00 noon. This ensures all participants are registered and fees are paid before the tour starts at 1:00 p.m..
Length of program: 3.5 - 4 hours. This includes a 30 minute, one-way drive in your own vehicle to reach the trailhead.
Return time to the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre, Portugal Cove South is approximately 5:00 p.m..
Fees: The tour fee is $20.00 plus HST per person, over 12 years of age. Children 12 years of age and under are free. The family rate is $50.00 plus HST (a family consists of four persons, two of whom are full-price adults). Fees are paid on the day of the hike at the Edge of Avalon Interpretation Centre.
Difficulty: This trail is rated as a moderately difficult hiking trail. There are uneven and wet surfaces, and some scrambling over rocks. The overall distance (6 km) may pose the greatest challenge for some. Sections of the trail are muddy, wet and often slippery. This is especially true of the approaches to Watern Cove. You are advised to use caution in these areas. The hike is not recommended for anyone with hip, knee, ankle or other leg injuries.
Tour Capacity: 12 people per tour.
Organized tour groups (for example, from universities, conferences or schools) must obtain an Educational Tour Permit before visiting the Reserve.
The trail from the Watern Cove-Mistaken Point trailhead to the east side of Watern Cove is one of three designated walking trails (512 KB) that visitors can use within Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve without a permit. The others are the trails to overviews of the seabird colonies at The Rookery and Freshwater Cove.
Access to view the fossils is by guided tour or permit only.
Please note that a permit is required to access the Fossil Protection Zone. For more information visit How to Get There.
Please carry a compass if you intend to walk a designated trail on your own.
For more information about guided tours (late May - early October) within Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, or to book a tour, call the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South and ask to speak to one of the Reserve's Interpreters.
Tel: (709) 438-1011
For information on Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve permit requirements for research, educational tour groups or commercial operators, or the Reserve's Fossil Protection Zone, contact:
Tel: (709) 438-1012
Tel: (709) 438-2400
For general information about Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve or any of the other wilderness and ecological reserves in the Province's protected areas system, please contact the Natural Areas Program.