|Distance||3.9 km one way|
|Estimated Time||3 hours|
|Surface Type||forested, old road|
|Elevation Change||38 meters|
|Features||Hole-In-The-Wall, Fish Head|
|Trail Markers||red circles|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|Dog Friendly||on a leash|
The trail starts on the right before ascending the stairs down to the Swallowtail Lighthouse. The trail is quite exposed on the high cliffs overlooking Pettes Cove and Net Point. The trail soon climbs up to the Lighthouse Road and crosses it. We went too far and ended up at a cottage. If this happens you can backtrack until you see trail climbing the hill on the left (right if you are coming from the lighthouse).
After crossing the Lighthouse Road the trail travels through the woods and eventually comes out onto old roads. These old roads were used to access cliff top campsites that used to be part of the North Head campground. Several of the campsites make amazing lookouts but be careful of the exposed cliff edges. There is also an official lookout platform along the trail. From here you will see the ferries come and go. You may also see seals and whales!
Make sure you look back when you hike this section. If its not foggy you will see amazing views of the shoreline with the Swallowtail Lighthouse in the distance. If you are only planning to hike this section I would suggest starting at Whale Cove so you are hiking towards the Swallowtail Lighthouse.
The tough growing conditions along the shore create some very interesting stands of old dead spruce trees. The trail eventually comes to the lookout platforms at Fish Head. From the first one we saw a Peregrine Falcon's nest on the cliffs below. After turning around Fish head the trail travels southwest towards Whale Cove. This section of trail is lesser traveled and exposed in places so be careful of your footing in the tall grass.
Soon you will come to a rocky lookout overlooking the Hole-In-The-Wall rock formation. This rocky lookout will provide you with spectacular views of the large, rocky arch that has been eroded by the tides. If you look beyond Hole-In-The-Wall you will see Whale Cove in the distance. You can also walk out onto the rock arch but be careful because its narrow and exposed on either side.
After Hole-In-The-Wall the trail climbs up and away from the coast. The trail emerges onto an old grassy road for a distance and then re-enters the woods. Soon you will come out to some views of Whale Cove. The trail emerges onto Whale Cove Beach where it meets the cliffs. If you are continuing to hike the Lighthouse Trail use caution crossing Whale Cove Beach. The large softball sized rocks make it easy to turn over on your ankle.
The trail starts on the right before ascending the stairs down to the Swallowtail Lighthouse. If you are leaving a car it is best to park in the small parking area on the right of the road about 100 metres back from the parking lot for Swallowtail Lighthouse.
The other end of the trail can be accessed from Whale Cove Beach. The trail entrance at Whale Cove Beach is at the end of the Cemetery Lane. You can find Cemetery Lane behind the Anglican Church in North Head. Please park at the church and hike in from there. The lane is narrow and ends in a private driveway.
You can also access the trail by crossing Whale Cove Beach. Park out of the way near the boat launch at the end of Whale Cove Road/Johnston Lane and then cross the beach to the trailhead.
Trail Last Hiked: July 31, 2020.
Page Last Updated: September 6, 2021.