La Manche Provincial Park is a scenic Canadian provincial park near St John’s in Newfoundland. Surrounded by boreal forest, wetlands and marshlands, this lush park offers exceptional views over the La Manche Valley, fantastic hiking trails and epic bird watching opportunities.
Opened to the public in 1966, La Manche, which means ‘the sleeve’ in French, is a wonderful spot for getting away and enjoying the great outdoors. The campground is tucked within spruce, fir and elder trees with honeysuckle, Labrador tea and twin flowers nearby. The campsites are RV-friendly for vehicles up to 35 feet and you should arrive early to get a waterfront spot!
Spend your days hiking the two-mile (1.25 km) trail to see the remains of the La Manche Village or canoeing along the La Manche Pond or La Manche River. Be aware that the weather rarely reaches above 68°F (20 °C) even in the height of summer and even summer evenings can dip pretty low, so packing layers is always recommended.
Keep an eye out for frolicking beavers as well as moose, snowshoe hare and a plethora of interesting birdlife. More than 50 different species have been recorded in the park, from sandpipers and kingfishers, to flycatchers and ospreys. Don’t forget your binoculars!
You will find the entrance to La Manche Provincial Park 33 miles (53 km) south of St John’s along Highway 10. As you drive in, you’ll see the stunning suspension bridge that spans the river and forms part of the East Coast Trail.
Once inside the park, there is a drive-through kiosk where you can pick up any information about the park as well as pay your fees for camping. There are no driving restrictions in the park but make sure you stick to the gravel roads as the wetlands and marshlands can be muddy and slippery.
There are various parking spots available within the park but if you’re staying overnight you can also park in the campground.
The campground at La Manche Provincial Park offers 83 camping sites suitable for tents, RVs and trailers up to 35 feet, according to the booking website. Larger rigs may be accepted so it’s advisable to call ahead and check.
Some of the campsites offer electricity, but most are unserviced with no hookups available for RVs. Water taps are available nearby, but water should be boiled before use. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire pit, and garbage can. There is also space for your vehicle.
Campers have access to restrooms with free showers and either pit or flush toilets. There is a dump station near the exit, laundry facilities as well as changing rooms at the beach. Other facilities include a children’s playground and hiking trails.
According to past visitors on TripAdvisor, generators are permitted outside of quiet hours but this is not enforced. La Manche Provincial Park is also pet-friendly.
When the summer temperatures are pleasant, a lovely swimming area is available in the day-use area of La Manche Provincial Park. Changing rooms and toilets are available here too which is great if you’re only visiting for the day. Take note that the swimming area is unsupervised - there are no lifeguards on duty even in summer - so cooling off here is at your own risk. You will find water safety gear available near the beach.
La Manche Provincial Park is a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts. The 1.5-mile (2.5 km) La Manche Falls Trail is the most popular route and can be hiked in about an hour. It begins at the picnic area and runs upstream along the La Manche River until it reaches the waterfall. Take note that the waterfall is not suitable for swimming. You can also hike the 2-mile (1.25 km) La Manche Village Trail where you can choose to join up with the East Coast Trail system to the north from the abandoned La Manche Village.
Canoeing on the La Manche River is a fantastic way to spend the day as you bird watch and wildlife spot along the river banks. Launch your canoe from the day-use area and paddle upstream towards the waterfall. Alternatively you can travel downstream and tackle the rapids close to the abandoned village of La Manche. This section is more adventurous as it passes through marsh and tall grass - a great spot for spotting birds and beavers!
Bird watching enthusiasts will be in their element at La Manche Provincial Park in Newfoundland. Over 50 species of birds have been identified in the park, from common birds such as loons, eiders, snipes and sandpipers to more unique birds such as hawks, ospreys, and chickadees. The off season is a fantastic time of year to spot grosbeak, warblers and other winter birds. Don’t forget your birding book and binos!
With beautiful vistas of lakes, valleys and marshland, La Manche Provincial Park is a lovely spot for a picnic all year round. While the summer months make picnicking on the beach a popular pastime, fewer crowds in the off season make for excellent bird and wildlife watching. There is a picnic area available at the day-use area, and it’s also where you will find the trailhead for the La Manche Falls Trail.
Surrounded by peat bogland, wetlands, boreal forest, and marshlands, La Manche Provincial Park has a variety of ecosystems that support all sorts of wildlife and birdlife. Take a stroll along the trails in the off season when there are fewer crowds and you may spot beavers, squirrels, ducks, moose, and snowshoe hare.