AAA Editor Notes
Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve is 16 km (10 mi.) s.e. of Portugal Cove South via the Cape Race Lighthouse gravel road. Mistaken Point, appointed its name due to the difficulty of navigating its perilous surrounding waters, is said to have caused more than 50 shipwrecks. A sea floor during the late Precambrian age some 575 million years ago, the site preserves an assemblage of fossils from this time, including the imprints of more than 17 species of ancient soft-bodied organisms. Some of these fossils are similar to specimens found in Australia and Russia, lending further credence to the once supercontinent Pangaea.
Visitor access to the reserve's fossils is permitted only by official Newfoundland and Labrador Parks and Natural Areas Division guided tours originating at the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre on Rte. 10. The center houses a selection of Mistaken Point fossils and provides information about the area. The road heading through the reserve leads to the 1907 Cape Race Lighthouse, which received the wireless distress signals from the Titanic after it struck an iceberg in 1912.
Note: Though the gravel road leading to the reserve entrance is rough and rugged, no off-road or all-terrain vehicles, including snowmobiles, are permitted in the reserve. The route taken on the guided tours can be slippery and muddy in places. Visitors are advised to exercise caution and wear sturdy walking shoes or boots. A small stream must be crossed via stepping stones en route to the fossil site. Dress appropriately for cool (and often wet and windy) weather, while taking into consideration the frequent occurrence of fog (156 days per year on average). Allow 3 hours minimum (including travel time from the interpretive center to the trailhead).
Picnicking is permitted.