Newfoundland and Labrador is a stunning province from top to bottom.
Rich in history and plentiful in outdoor destinations to do some rock hounding and fossil hunting/viewing trips.
Any rock collector, both experienced and just starting out, will be delighted by the rocks and minerals that they can discover.
Rockhounding Newfoundland (Let’s Go)
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
It’s hard not to mention some of the must-see sites of the province when discussing any topic related to it, such as the Norse settlement thought to be where Leif Erikson landed.
The Gros Morne National Park is an outdoor paradise for the hiking enthusiast as well, and the capital city of St. John’s is home to many historical buildings and sites, including the Signal Hill citadel.
Keep in mind that the collection of rocks/minerals/fossils is illegal in any national or provincial park in Canada, so you will be limited to areas outside of the parks.
If you are heading into an area that is private property, be sure to contact the owner/operator of the land before doing so and get their permission.
Here are a few sites worth checking out in Newfoundland:
Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (Fossils)
Stretching 17km along the coastline of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, Mistaken Point is a site like no other in the world.
Preserved in stunning detail upon the slanted mudstones of an ancient seabed are some of the oldest fossils found anywhere on Earth.
As of July 17, 2016, Mistaken Point was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The site has played a key role in understanding the history of our planet and, for this reason, the only way to view the fossils here is with a guided hiking tour through the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre.
Also of note, while you are nearby, is the historic Cape Race Lighthouse. It is the home of the Myrick Wireless Interpretive Centre that received the first distress signal sent out by the Titanic in 1912.
There are a number of rules and regulations to be aware of before visiting Mistaken Point, so be sure to visit their tourism site here.
Conception Bay South (Fossils)
Conception Bay South is another great getaway destination to do some fossil viewing and hiking, as well as getting in some R&R and enjoying some great local food.
Conception Bay South is one of the few towns in Newfoundland to have its own geological attraction.
The fossil beds that stretch along the Manuels River Linear Park are fascinating to see and there are a number of tour guides that you can hire to take you out to see them.
This is advisable if you are not familiar with the area and are travelling with children.
The fossils you can see here include brachiopods, hyoliths, mollusks and trilobites.
The best time to visit would be anywhere from late spring through to early fall.
Placentia Bay (Amethyst)
The La Manche Mine is located near the head of Placentia Bay and has a long history.
Originally a galena and lead mine, a more recent discovery of a surface vein that contains amethyst among other things brought the mine new life.
While it may not be possible to access the mine itself, where there is one mine-worthy vein, there are other discoveries to be made.
Aside from trying your hand at finding Amethyst around the area, Placentia Bay is a great place to do some beach rock hounding for shells, sea glass and various other ocean stones, as well as a great tourist destination for history buffs.
Placentia is located on the southwest coast of the Avalon Peninsula, approximately 130 km from the capital city of the province, St. John’s (roughly a 90 minute drive).
There is a lot to see here, so be sure to check out the Placentia town website to learn more.
Another location that has yielded Amethyst is the surrounding areas near Wesleyville in northern Newfoundland.
Nain is one of, if not the oldest, permanent Inuit settlements in Canada.
Its remoteness makes it a bit of a difficult trek to make, but it is a unique experience to plan a vacation around.
For all the great things to see and do in and around Nain, visit their local tourism website here.
Here you will find an abundance of Labradorite in the surrounding area. Labradorite is the provincial mineral for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Labradorite can be found in a variety of shades including blue, green, yellow, red, and gold.
Of all the destinations to consider planning a trip around to do some rock hounding, Twilingate is one of the most scenic.
Picture yourself sitting in a patch of soft grass looking out across the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Boats bounce softly over the waves, the sunset dances across the side of an iceberg that is lazily drifting through iceberg alley on its final journey.
This is just one example of what you can encounter during a visit to Twillingate.
The Twilingate area is also well known for its beach Jasper, which comes in a variety of mixes including jasper with veins of purple quartz, jasper mixed with epidote, jasper with quartz veins, feldspar with jasper, quartz with jasper and mixed stones with epidote, feldspar, jasper and quartz all mixed together.
Aside from fantastic jasper hunting, the scenery, hiking and tourist attractions are outstanding.
I highly recommend researching the area and planning a trip to this destination.
A couple of other locations worth mentioning for hunting beach Jasper are Bellevue Beach which is west of St. John near Bellevue, and Patrick’s Cove, which is south of Placentia on the south-western coast of the Avalon Peninsula.
NOTE: All of the areas mentioned in this article are accessible via hiking.
With so many wonderful locations to visit in the province, it can be hard to narrow down your choices, so I hope this list helps a little at least.
Remember to read up on the Provincial & Federal laws pertaining to rock hounding and know what is allowed to be taken from any area you are visiting before hand and respect any private property by contacting the owner/operator of the area and getting permission before entering. Happy hunting!
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