This beautiful sunny weather we’ve been having has me missing that east coast lifestyle, and exploring Newfoundland’s forever gorgeous Gros Morne National Park last September. My first visit was on my way up the Viking Trail to L’Anse aux Meadows, and the sheer beauty and variation of terrain resulted in a second trip on the way back through to Corner Brook. During both trips I managed to do four trails, spread out across the park.
I needed to make a decent amount of headway through the park as my accommodation for the night was another two hours out in Port au Choix. For this reason, as well as my love for waterfalls, I started with the Baker’s Brook Falls. This 9.2km trail was also a solid 3 hour hike for me – and I have ridiculously long legs (mind you I’m also a little shutter-happy). I really enjoyed this one as it had a decent amount of variation and different sections of terrain throughout it. It began more as a marsh, then lead into more forest-like terrain, ending with the beautiful Baker’s Brook waterfalls. The trail is a gentle, relaxing one, but be sure to take a light jacket with you. Some parts of the path are heavily shadowed, and as a “wet” boreal forest it can get a little chilly!
As I had a few hours before I really needed to hit the road to make it to Port au Choix before dark, I opted next for the Berry Hill trail. This trail is quite short at only 1.5km, however it is quite steep with a 55m difference in elevation – and it’s pretty much straight up. If you’re looking for a solid leg workout, this is the trail for you! There are rest stops along the way, and you can check out some views of the Long Range Mountains, as well as a medley of forests, ponds, and bogs within the coastal lowlands.
For my second visit, I was a little more methodical with my trail choice as I wanted to see different areas of the park. Instead of going for the Gros Morne Mountain trail which takes up an entire day (6-7 hours), I opted for Western Brook Pond to the north of the park, and the Lookout trail close to the tablelands. Two trails are better than one!
Western Brook Pond is as gorgeous as it is hyped up to be. The 5.4km trail is a very relaxed one, with wooden bridges that lead you through bogs and forested ridges. The Western Brook Pond trail also includes an almost 2km scenic loop, but I suggest going a little off the beaten path. Look for signs leading towards the start of the Snug Harbour trail, and take a right along the shore. You’ll get a gorgeous view of the Long Range Mountains and their iconic cliffs on the stone beach.
Lastly, and possibly the toughest of them all, I made a beeline for the tablelands and the Lookout trail. Let’s just say it makes the Berry Hill trail look like Mickey Mouse. This 5km trail has an over 300m elevation change, so you’re walking at an almost 45 degree angle for most of the trek. It can be agonizing at times as you continuously pull off to catch your breath and hope that you’re at least over half way there. Trust me though, it’s worth every second of pain. The Lookout trail was hands down my favourite trail, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat (and I will when I return). The views from the top of Bonne Bay, Gros Morne Mountain, the Tablelands, and Lookout Hills are absolutely breathtaking. Take your time at the top – you earned those views!