By: Jim Bamboulis
We looked around. Looked up at the hill then looked at each other. Some dreaded the thought of it, others relished the chance.
In the end, we all agreed to do it. To climb Signal Hill.
What we experienced was phenomenal!
Here we are. 3 friends and I in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a charming harbour city, surrounded by mountains….and sites to see at the top of those mountains.
St. John’s is one of the oldest cities in North America. It’s also the most easterly cities on the continent. It has got plenty of history, character and adventure. Combine all those qualities and you get Signal Hill, a National Historic Site of Canada.
What’s the significance?
Well not only does this serve a great spot to overlook St. John’s but this hill was a perfect lookout point for any invading forces from the 18th century right up untill WW2. As importantly, it was here that the very first transatlantic wireless signal was received from Cornwall, UK by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901.
Atop Signal Hill, you see Cabot Tower, a striking landmark built between 1898 and 1900. It commemorates the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s “Voyage of Discovery”.
If you have a car, you can drive to the top of the hill but if you have a bit of adventure in you and time, I recommend putting on a pair of durable shoes and hiking the Lookout Trail.
You will be treated to some incredible natural scenery. The type of scenery that forces you to stop and take in the fresh ocean air.
After walking around Cabot Tower, get back on the trail that heads down towards Cuckhold’s Cove Lookout and to Quidi Vidi, a picturesque village on the water. If you like potentially seeing bald eagles and their nests along the way and micro-breweries at the end, you’re in luck, Quidi Vidi has one. Enjoy a pint after a long, tough and well-earned hiking adventure.
A few things to note:
*It’s windy. Very windy at times. And the trail sometimes takes you to the edge. Take it slow and take it in.
*There are few, if any barriers to prevent you from falling over. And the fall is long. Take into consideration that wind and take it slow.
*There’s a section of the trail where a rail of chains is the only thing preventing you from falling over. Hold on to the chains while you get around this corner.
*Depending on your physical capabilities and hiking speed, Signal Hill takes anywhere between 1-2 hours to climb. In my opinion, don’t rush it, the scenery is breathtaking.
*Wear proper shoes and stay on the trail. No shortcuts.
*It’s free to climb the hill.
*Can’t emphasize this enough –> Take it slow!
Have your own adventures on and around Signal Hill? Share your stories and thoughts.