Your Ultimate Guide to Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland
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Your Ultimate Guide to Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland

Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most beautiful parks in all of Canada. A large portion of the western coast of Newfoundland is dedicated to wildlife preservation in this national park. This World Heritage Site, operated by Parks Canada, received this prestigious title due to its incredible biodiversity, geology and natural beauty.

Many travellers are unsure how to best approach their visit to this National Park, as Newfoundland's vast landscapes can make the Canadian province challenge to fully explore.

Find the best accommodations around Gros Morne National Park
Don't forget to secure a rental car.

Lakes with fall foliage in Gros Morne National Park guide, Newfoundland and Labrador.

How to get to Gros Morne National Park

The majority of travellers vising Newfoundland will land in the capital city of St. John's. There are few international flights here to YYT however, so you'll likely have to transfer from Toronto, Montreal or Halifax. Getting to Gros Morne by car will take 6.5 hours from YYT. Most travellers want to visit the beautiful capital city during their visit, including the many impressive trails on the east coast.

You can also fly into Deer Lake (YDF), the closest airport to Gros Morne. There are flights available from St. John's, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. This is the largest town (5000 pop.) before the drive to the national park, which will about half hour. Alternatively, it would take 3.5 hours from YQX and 3 hours from Channel-Port aux Basques from Nova Scotia.

Where to stay in Gros Morne National Park

There are several campsites and a few small settlements in the park, which makes food and getting around quite accessible.

If you're interested in booking a campsite or cabin, we recommend first checking availability directly with Parks Canada. There are sites suitable for tents and trailers and they even have a few wood cabins for some modern comforts while surrounded by nature.

If you're not interested in camping or renting an RV, or they are out of availability, you will have no problem finding private accommodation and renting a car throughout the park. There are two towns we recommend, which are on opposite sides of the river and will be a convenient home base for exploring either side of the park.

Autum season in Steady Brook in Gros Morne National Park guide, Newfoundland and Labrador

Rocky Harbour. This town is at the foothills of the tallest mountains of the park. Those hoping to do the most adventurous hikes will find this town to be the most convenient base of operations. The town has numerous authentic Newfoundland restaurants and cafes, tour companies, a wildlife museum and a historic lighthouse. There are several hotels and cabins options in the area.

Bonne Bay. This is a great place to stay for those interested in hiking the park's lowlands. The bay and surrounding mountains are beautiful, especially in the fall. They have a Discovery Centre which is great for information about the park, and also includes a museum. Check out the hotels and cabins available here.

What to do in Gros Morne National Park

The park has dozens of official and unofficial (community maintained) hiking trails, as well as outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing, swimming and boat tours. To help you with planning, you can check the map below to explore all points of interest in the National Park.

Hiking: The main attraction of the national park is certainly the vast hiking opportunities. There are options for every fitness level, with a wide-range of landscapes to explore, more to that later.

Boat Tour: At the end of the Western Brook Pond trail, you'll find a harbour which offer tours deeper into the fjord. The Western Brook Pond boat tour will go through the breathtaking 600 meter high cliffs. Do note that they are closed during off-season.

Kayaking: Rent a kayak and get out on the waters to explore some hidden gems on your own. Trout River to Bonne Bay, and Bonne Bay to Norris Point are common routes. Rentals are available in all three towns.

Swimming pool: In Rocky Harbour, you'll find a swimming pool operated by Parks Canada, great for rainy days. If you're feeling more adventurous, you're also able to swim anywhere in the park within the cold Atlantic ocean, lakes and rivers. Shallow Bay and Lomond are popular spots and have showers.

Museums: There are countless small museums in the small towns within the park. Some notable museums are at the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, Gros Morne Wildlife Museum and the Discovery Centre.

Hiking Trails in Gros Morne

There's a total of 18 official hiking trails maintained by Parks Canada. We have listed them below including length and difficulty, and added photos to our favourite trails below.

Gros Morne Mountain - 16.9 km return (6 - 9 hours, hard). Some may choose to only do the 9 km moderate Approach Trail, avoiding the hard 8 km Summit Trail. This is the most popular but most difficult hiking trail in Gros Morne National Park, but with rewarding views. We recommend you check the weather prior to hiking as rainy, foggy and windy days are not the most ideal and makes the hike more dangerous.

Gros Morne Mountain hike in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Gros Morne Mountain, Gros Morne National Park

Old Mail Road - 2.7 km return (1 hour, easy)

Steve's Trail - 1.4 km return (0.5 hour, easy)

Coastal Trail - 6 km return (1-2 hours, easy)

Western Brook Pond - 6.8 km return (1-2 hours, easy). You can also take a day trip to the iconic Western Brook Pond Gorge, as seen on Air Canada's flight safety video. Note that this is closed during off season.

Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park guide, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Western Brook Pond, Gros Morne National Park

Berry Head Pond - 1.9 km loop (0.5 - 1 hour, easy)

Berry Hill Pond - 2.3 km loop (0.5 - 1 hour, easy)

Berry Hill - 1.3 km return (0.5 - 1 hour, moderate)

Top of Berry Hill during fall, Gros Morne national park guide, newfoundland and Labrador
Berry Hill, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Bakers Brook Falls - 9.2 km return (2 - 3 hours, moderate). This hike can be combined with Berry Hill and Berry Hill Pond, due to their proximity.

Mattie Mitchell - 250m loop (0.25 hours, easy)

Stuckless Pond - 9.5 km loop (2 - 3 hours, moderate)

Southeast Brook Falls - 700m return (0.5 hours, easy)

Lomond River - 8 km return (2 - 3 hours, moderate)

Stanleyville - 4 km return (1 - 2 hours, moderate)

Lookout Trail - 5.8 km loop (2 - 3 hours, moderate)

view a the top of Lookout Trail, Gros Morne National Park guide, Newfoundland and Labrador
Lookout Trail, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

Green Gardens - 9 km return (3 - 4 hours, moderate)

Trout River Pond - 14 km return (4 - 5 hours, moderate)

The Tablelands - 4 km return (1 - 2 hours, easy)

couple at the bottom of Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park guide, Newfoundland and Labrador
The Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

Nearby Things to do in Gros Morne National Park

If you're looking for a rest from the hiking, or want more impressive landscapes in Newfoundland there are several other activities which are worth checking out.

Corner Brook / Steady Brook. These beautiful towns are an hour from the park entrance and offers several outdoor activities. There is a beautiful waterfall and more hiking spots, as well as a ski resort.

top of Steady Brook Falls with autumn colors, Newfoundland and Labrador
Steady Brook Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador

L'Anse aux Meadows: This stunning park is located 4 hours north of Gros Morne National Park, notable for it's history as a viking settlement and evidence of first European presence in North America.

Whale & Puffin boat tours: Located closer to St. John's and Bonavista, there are many tour companies who will take you out into the ocean to spot these beautiful creatures. Available mid-May to September, but July to mid-August is peak season.

Bonavista: If the drive from St. John's to Gros Morne is too long to fit into your schedule, we recommend looking into the Bonavista Peninsula. In addition to the wildlife, the area has impressive coastal views from Dungeon Provincial Park, numerous hiking trails including Klondike and Skerwink Trail, and a famous lighthouse on the cape. Stop by the town of Dildo on the way.

Final Takeaways

No trip to Newfoundland is complete without exploring Gros Morne National Park. While researching the park may be intimidating, you can start by choosing a few favourite hikes and activities, then booking a campground or cottage nearby. Any lover of the outdoors will want to spend several days in the park to fully experience all it has to offer. We recommend a minimum of two nights, however we could easily spend two weeks in this Newfoundland park and not run out of things to do. The park is open year-round however some amenities close during off season.

Looking for your next Canadian destination? This 1-week itinerary to exploring Banff and Jasper National Parks might be the best for you.

Glacial mountain and how to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks in 1 week

Let's face it, traveling around Canada is not cheap, however you can take advantage of your travel expenses for more travels. It's a win-win.

Air Canada Aeroplan flight booked for free from travel hacking.

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