The president of the East Coast Trail Association says the popular pathway is in the process of getting bigger, and even more challenging. 

The current trail, which runs 265 kilometres from Cappahayden to Cape St. Francis, has been expanded by 32.5 kilometres.

"The landscape is hilly, it's rolly," said Randy Murphy in an interview on CBC Radio's CrossTalk on Friday. 

"There's lots of up and downs."

The association is expanding a section of trail between Cape St. Francis and Portugal Cove-St. Philip's.

Murphy said the new portion of trail is signed, but not hardened, meaning no trail structure has been added. While tree stumps and brush have been cut back, the association has not yet laid down a boardwalk or stairs. 

East Coast Trail Association President Randy Murphy

Association president Randy Murphy hopes to secure funding to build boardwalk and stairs on the trail by next year. (CBC)

This, Murphy said, adds to the challenge. The president said hikers familiar with the Spout and Cape Broyle paths will appreciate the difficult new trek.

"They're strenuous because of their length, and the changes in elevation above 150 metres," he said of the Spout and Cape Broyle.

"Well, this one is equally strenuous as those and the added challenge is that there are no trail structures to make it easier for the hiker to pass."

By next year, the association hopes to have secured funding to harden the wet areas of the trail, as well as address potentially dangerous portions of the path.

Plan ahead

In the meantime, Murphy warns potential hikers to plan ahead by picking up a map at the association headquarters on Pippy Place in St. John's.

"The hiker's responsible for their own safety and they need to be careful, be smart and be prepared," Murphy said.

The 18-kilometre stretch between Cape St. Francis and Bauline, Murphy said, brings hikers over marsh land, through mature forests and past waterfalls.

"The landscape is phenomenal and the view of Conception Bay is second to none."

Murphy said the toughest part of the trail is in the Black Head area, where temporary ropes have been put in place for hikers' safety.

"They've got to make sure that they look ahead and pick their footing carefully because it can be slippery at times," he warned.

"We're adding great value to the province in terms of creating fantastic recreational and tourism space for residents and for people who come here to visit."

For more information, visit the East Coast Trail website