Hiking in Gros Morne

Hiking in Gros Morne National Park was the highlight of our vacation in Newfoundland. We spent 5 days exploring the unique geology of the area, climbing to amazing viewpoints, and stumbling upon wild animals. Here are our favourite trails.

Green Gardens
Green Gardens Leap
Green Gardens was the most diverse and stunning hike we did in Gros Mourne. You start by hiking though the barren, red rocks of the Tablelands, descend through a small forest, and emerge at a spectacular cliff along the coast. There’s a staircase that will take you down to the water where you can take a dip in the ocean, explore ocean caves, and walk to a small waterfall.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can continue along the coast and complete a large loop of the area, but this involves fording two rivers and doubles the distance and time for the hike. There are 3 back country camping areas along the coast that looked comfortable. We only did the short hike, but if I went back I’d camp overnight, spend more time in the area, and do the full loop.

Rocky Green Gardens Waypoint Ocean Staircase Smoochy Falls

Distance: 9 km round trip + another 2.5 km if you go to the waterfall
Elevation Gain: 431 m elevation (mostly on the return)
Total Time: 4 hours (2 hours of hiking and lots of time to explore and relax).
GPS Map with Elevation: Strava
Trail Description: Parks Canada

Red Chair Lookout
A quick, rapid ascent up a trail behind the Discovery Centre brings you to a spectacular lookout with 360° views of Gros Morne, including Bonne Bay and the Tablelands. At the top you can relax on the park’s signature big, red chairs and watch the clouds drift by. The Lookout Trail offers the best bang for your hiking buck, with some of the best views in the park and less than 2 hours of hiking.

Last Staircase Newfie Superhero Field of Pitcher Plants Boardwalk

Distance: 5.6 km round trip
Elevation Gain: 324 m elevation
Total Time: 2 hours (1.5 hours of hiking and 30 minutes of enjoying the view).
GPS Map with Elevation: Strava
Trail Description: TrailPeak.com

Gros Morne Mountain
Gros Morne Peak
The James Callaghan Trail takes you to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain, the highest point in the park at 806 meters above sea level. It’s one of the longest and most challenging hikes in the park, but also one of the most popular. It was the only hike we did where there was a steady stream of people in front of and behind us.

The first part of the hike is a steady climb through the trees until you reach the decision point at the bottom of an avalanche chute. A big warning sign tells you not to proceed if you can’t see the top of the mountain. From there, it’s a steep scramble over large rocks that rises 500 meters in less than 2 kilometers, along a one-way trail. The temperature drops steadily and the wind picks up. We were happy to have packed lots of layers. The hike back down the backside of the mountain is more gradual.

We delayed our hike by a day in the hopes of getting better weather. It was sunny when we left the parking lot, but before we reached the summit clouds had moved in. So we didn’t get any amazing views but we did see a moose on the way down.

Gros Morne Warning Gros Morne Staircase Moose! Misty Descent

Distance: 16.9 km round trip
Elevation Gain: 836 m elevation
Total Time: 7 hours (5 hours of hiking and 2 hours catching your breath, eating, and enjoying the view).

GPS Map with Elevation: Strava
Trail Description: Parks Canada

Tablelands & Wallace Brook Creek
Wallace Brook
The Tablelands dominates the the southern part of the park and is a fascinating area to explore, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of hiking. We took the guided walk that is offered by Parks Canada everyday at 10:00 AM. It was interesting to learn about the unique geology of the area – an ancient ocean floor pushed up by plate tectonics where few plants grow because of the poisonous soil. We also explored the area on our own by turning off the trail at Wallace Brook Creek and walking up to the waterfall.

Tablelands Tour Serpentinite Tableland Boardwalk Wallace Brook Falls

Distance: 5 km round trip on the trail + 1 km detour up Wallace Brook
Elevation Gain: < 100 m elevation
Total Time: 1 hour for the guided walk. 2 hours if you want to explore Wallace Brook Falls.
GPS Map of Guided Walk: Strava
GPS Map of Wallace Brook: Strava

Baker’s Brook Falls
Baker's Brook Falls
This was probably the least interesting hike we did, with long stretches of board walk over boggy terrain. Luckily the bugs weren’t too bad. We were hoping to see a moose, but we had no such luck. The waterfalls at the end were nice, but not worth the long walk.

Baker's Brook Boardwalk Moose

Distance: 10 km round trip
Elevation Gain: relatively flat
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Trail Description: TrailPeak.com


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