The town of Stephenville, located on the north shore of St. George's Bay in southwestern Newfoundland, is 48 degrees north latitude and 58 degrees west longitude. This area was once known as the Acadian Village. From 1848 until 1870, Stephenville was called Indian Head. The name Stephenville was first introduced in 1874. The Acadian Village was a settlement which stretched along the coast from Kippens in the far west to Seal Cove in the far east. This covered a total distance of seven miles.
Stephenville is surrounded by the ocean, lakes, rivers, forests and mountains that exemplify the best of the Newfoundland outdoors. The climate is conducive of a lifestyle that includes outdoor activities.
The 1.2 billion-year-old Long Range Mountains are on the north, east and south. The highest geographic point on the island of Newfoundland, Cabox in the Lewis Hills, is within hiking distance. The Indian Head Range, with Trapper Joe's Lookout, Joey's Lookout, Jeannette, Indian Head and the Mine Pond Hiking Trail are all within a few minutes of downtown Stephenville.
Harry's River, Fox Island River, Southwest Brook and Barachois Brook flow out of the mountains near Stephenville. All offer excellent kayaking, canoeing and salmon fishing.
The many coves and inlets around the perimeter of Bay St. George and the Port au Port Peninsula have much to offer. The towering cliffs, numerous pebble beaches and sandy coves are a paradise for beachcombers, bird watchers and rock hounds. The seascapes are magnificent.
The forests, hilltops, valleys, bog lands and mountain ridges abound with wildlife: moose, caribou, black bears, foxes, beaver, otter, mink, arctic hare and numerous varieties of birds.
Hundreds of kilometers of forest access roads and almost endless expanses of open wilderness surrounding Stephenville offer endless opportunities for mountain bikers, snowmobiling and ATV enthusiasts. The backcountry of the Lewis Hills is Newfoundland's best kept secret. The untouched slopes are a telemark skier's paradise!
Whaleback Nordic Ski Park has over 40 kilometers of trails, with 2 kilometers lighted for night skiing.
The Stephenville Dome, constructed for the 99 Canada Winter Games' short track speed skating, offers hockey, figure skating and recreational skating.
The Caribou Curling Club, Regional Aquatic Center, Pieroway Baseball Park, Harmon Golf Club, and The West Coast Training Center with its facilities for judo, karate, squash, badminton, basketball, volleyball, weight lifting and tennis provide year-round activities for the active lifestyle.
The Stephenville - Bay St. George - Port au Port region is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity. The Micmac Indians, the original inhabitants, are experiencing a revival and a new sense of pride in their ancient cultural heritage. The Acadian French, Scottish, Irish and British immigrant populations who have established communities throughout the region, celebrate their cultures through the presentation of numerous festivals and events. The contributions of all the diverse inhabitants of the region provide a fascinating variety in languages, music, theatre and visual arts.
The town of Stephenville is a starting point for a number of scenic drives.
The French Ancestors Route, around the Port au Port Peninsula, brings you to such places as Cap St-George, La Grand Terre and L'anse a Canards. The towering cliffs, pebble beaches and the distinctive French culture make this route one of the best on the island.
The Caribou Trail, 148 kilometers through the Long Range Mountains, terminates in the outport town of Burgeo, a town immortalized in Farley Mowatt's A Whale for the Killing. Some of the 60,000 caribou that inhabit the interior may be seen as you traverse the interior plateau. The friendly people of Burgeo, and the incredible beaches of Sandbanks Provincial Park make the drive worthwhile.