Gros Morne National Park Bucket List

gros morne national park

Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland, Canada, is an unsung treasure that should skyrocket to the top of your bucket list travels! I fell head over heels in love with Gros Morne National Park’s vastly varying landscapes; from her exposed mantle to her lush forests, from her staggering fjords to her sparking sea. Even more, Gros Morne National Park still seems to remain a best kept secret, waiting for newcomers to discover her brilliance and charm. Thus, in this post, I will provide you with the ultimate Gros Morne National Park bucket list in hopes to inspire your first visit.

TᗩᗷᒪE Oᖴ ᑕOᑎTEᑎTᔕ:

  • Western Brook Pond
    • Bucket List Hike
    • Bucket List Activity
  • Green Gardens
    • Bucket List Hike
    • Bucket List Activity
  • The Tablelands
    • Bucket List Hike
    • Bucket List Activity
  • Gros Morne Mountain
    • Bucket List Hike
    • Bucket List Activity
  • The Viking Trail
    • Bucket List Stops
  • Bucket List Air BnB near the national park
    • Must-eat at restaurant
  • My Newfoundland Highlight Reel (video)
Author: Mindy Michaels, mindyonthemove.com

Main Photographer: Doug Michaels

My name is Mindy Rose Michaels and I am an avid adventurer and traveler.  I “work to travel” (as I like to say) and thus, live a very unconventional life. My husband, Doug, and I are freelancers in the film industry and work on various reality/doc tv shows for a multitude of networks, such as: Travel Channel, Animal Planet, NBC, Discovery, A&E, Starz, HGTV etc.  Our work keeps us constantly moving and constantly on our toes AND, when we’re not working, you best believe we’re still on the move. Always. Because we love to travel as often and as far as possible.

DISCLOSURE:

THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS AND I RECEIVE A COMMISSION IF YOU VISIT A LINK AND BUY SOMETHING ON MY RECOMMENDATION. PURCHASING VIA AN AFFILIATE LINK DOESN’T COST YOU ANY EXTRA, AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS AND SERVICES I TRUST. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. FOR MORE DETAILS SEE MY DISCLOSURE AND PRIVACY POLICY.


GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK BUCKET LIST…

Western Brook Pond

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  • gros morne national park
  • gros morne national park
  • gros morne national park

It makes sense to begin with one of the most iconic sites and awe-inspiring views of Gros Morne National Park (also where we began our journey upon arriving on the island): Western Brook Pond. To be utterly alone in the midst of a sparkling scene carved out by glaciers long ago is nothing short of a dream come true.  Wandering about the Long Range Mountains – the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountains – is a nature-dweller’s paradise.  We easily spent the entire afternoon, up until sunset, exploring these trails and roaming beneath the crisp, clean and cool Newfoundland breeze and beaming sun. One can’t help but feel special when being the sole audience to nature’s spectacular show; witnessing her setting sun and rising moon over such grandiose scenery.

Bucket List Hike: Snug Harbor Trail

Distance: ~9 miles, out and back

Rated: Difficult

Trailhead Parking: 49.7873388, -57.8745044

Hike back the rather easy Western Brook Pond Trail (for approximately 3km) to the initial views of the lake before joining the more rugged Snug Harbor Trail.  Snug Harbor Trail brings you to the mouth of the fjord and to the face of her massive and encompassing 2,000 ft. cliffs.  This trail is not for the faint of heart as it is extremely muddy, moose abundant and even entails a river crossing via a rope-line provided by the park’s trail system.  However, the reward is well worth the exertion.

Bucket List Activity: Bon Tours boat tour

Available: Mid-May to Beginning of October

Cost: $65 per adult

Tour Length: 2 hours

To explore Western Brook Pond further, book a highlight boat tour provided by Bon Tours .  Their tour takes you through the fjord for a different perspective of this incapsulating landscape and gets you up close and personal to its sheer cliffs. Even more, you’re likely to spot various wildlife amid your boat tour and even see waterfalls cascading the 2,000ft drops.

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THE WANDERFUL SOUL

Discount Code: MINDY


GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK BUCKET LIST…

Green Gardens

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  • gros morne national park
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  • gros morne national park
  • gros morne national park
  • gros morne national park
  • gros morne national park

Green Gardens is a secluded wonder comparable to scenes from Ireland and offers its guests their own slice of heaven.  The peace I found here among the lush green clifftops, looming sea stacks, grazing wild sheep, volcanic rocks and the crashing waves stands unmatched.   Again, my husband and I enjoyed this place ALL TO OURSELVES.  The connection to the earth that this solitude afforded was unrivaled to the many naturescapes we’ve previously traversed.

Bucket List Hike: Green Gardens Trail

Distance: 5.5-9.5 miles (~5.5 mi. to Old Man Cove), out and back

Rated: Moderate

Trailhead Parking: 49.4905, -58.0773

Even though I had done some research prior to our Gros Morne National Park journey, nothing could’ve prepared me for just how spectacular she truly is. This trail was an utter surprise! What started off as a trek up serpentine barrens, led downward into lush forests comparable to the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Finally, at the end, Old Man Cove’s beauty awaits!

 This quote written about Newfoundland rang louder than ever while standing on the edge of this immaculate garden…

“The place where land, water and sky embrace like old friends”.

I, too, embraced this place like an old friend; running, climbing and greeting every nook and cranny of this cove and cliffside paradise.  I was truly overcome by a childlike giddiness and was transported back to a simple time – just the three of us (Doug, myself and Old Man Cove) playing amid a gorgeous, picturesque autumn afternoon.

Bucket List Activity: Camp in a primitive site at Old Man Cove

If you’re anything like me, you’re not going to want to leave this place! Thus, take the opportunity to pitch your tent and stay the night at Old Man Cove. You can’t beat the opportunity to witness both an incredible sunset and sunrise in this once-in-a-lifetime camping locale. You must register with the park staff here.

Shop the Kelty Coyote 60L

Women’s Backpack

at Backcountry.com


GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK BUCKET LIST…

The Tablelands

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  • gros morne national park

The Tablelands, not far from the trailhead to Green Gardens, invites its visitors to walk on the Earth’s mantle.  It’s MANTLE!  This is one of the rare places in the world where the Earth’s mantle is exposed like this, making this a one-of-a-kind and otherworldly destination.  Oh! Have I mentioned how varied Gros Morne’s landscapes are?  Honestly, just look at the past three places I’ve shown and see the contrast for yourself.  This place is unreal and you have to walk among this land with your own two feet to fully comprehend her magnificence and meaning.

Bucket List Hike: Tablelands Trail

Distance: 2.6 miles, out and back

Rated: Easy

Trailhead Parking: 49.4782353, -57.9740224

Not only is walking on the Earth’s mantle a totally cool and bucket list worthy thing to do, but the views of the surrounding mountains and Bonne Bay are phenomenal from the vantage points along the Tablelands Trail. You’re sure to feel like you’ve landed on a far-off planet when you arrive to the glacially carved Winterhouse Brook Canyon at the trail’s end.

Bucket List Activity: Top of the Tablelands Traverse Tour with Wild Gros Morne

Wish to trek these lands off-trail to reach the tip-top of the Tabelands (with sweeping views of Winterhouse Brook Canyon and Trout River Pond Valley below) while learning in-depth knowledge from professional guides?  Furthermore, wish to sleep under the stars with nothing but the sounds of wind and passerby caribou? This is a must-do for any adventure-seeking visitor of Gros Morne National Park. If this sounds too extreme for you, check out the plethora of Tablelands tours offered by Wild Gros Morne – you can’t go wrong with any of their services!

Shop my trusted

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus

Women’s Hiking Boot

at Backcountry.com


GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK BUCKET LIST…

Gros Morne Mountain

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This is the national park’s highest point and boasts a uniquely flat and harsh arctic-alpine summit. If it is autumn when you visit (which is when we did), I reckon it’ll be a touch more magical given the added beautiful colors. See the forested base of the mountain bursting in flaming orange hues and listen to the moving river and the leaves bustling in the wind as you search for critters among the fall foliage.

Bucket List Hike: Gros Morne Mountain (James Callaghan) Trail

Distance: ~10 miles, loop

Rated: Very Difficult

Trailhead Parking: 49.5656162, -57.8322757

Along this trail, hikers are likely to spot moose while witnessing downright phenomenal views of the Long Range Mountains and Ten Mile Pond Gorge. However, don’t be naive: this hike is a tough one! Be sure you’re fully prepared and equipped AND allow yourself enough time to complete the hike. For another’s perspective on hiking the James Callaghan Trail, check out the post linked below…

Bucket List Activity: Spot wildlife (moose, caribou and arctic hare) and primitive camp at Ferry Gulch.

We saw herds of Caribou attempting to mate and graze in the park and we were even fortunate enough to see a moose, a large bull, trot across our path. The moose encounter happened so quickly and unexpectedly that we were unable to capture him, but Doug got a rad shot of one of the caribou which you can peep in the above slideshow (second slide).

Shop my camera: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless


GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK BUCKET LIST…

The Viking Trail

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Driving along the Viking Trail, route 430, you are offered a bevy of beautiful sites and astounding history, such as: 1,000 year old viking settlements, native burial grounds, Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, St. Anthony, the wreckage and crash site of the S.S. Ethie and so much more! Wandering on the path that vikings once traversed many centuries ago, I felt at-home and in my true element. I swear I have Viking ancestry in my blood – the way these lands call to me, fiercer than most, is pretty special and undeniably powerful.

Bucket List Stops Along the Viking Trail:

  • Arches Provincial Park
    • This gem is tucked away, along the sea, north of Cow Head and Parson’s Pond.  It’s a small little park comprised of sea stacks naturally carved into an arch shape, similar to those found in Iceland (like Helnar Arch) but smaller.  Nonetheless, they’re something neat to see and it’s worth stopping for a quick jaunt and picnic.  And, of course, I was climbing all over them because that is what I do best.
  • The site of the S.S. Ethie Shipwreck
  • Parson’s Pond
    • A fantastic location to really grasp the fortitude of the Newfoundlanders – their resilience is equally inspiring and motivating.  The Newfoundlanders have overcome a lot through the decades; the fishing moratorium to name a biggie.

Quote:

“Newfoundland and Labrador’s historic cod fisheries attracted local and international fishing fleets for almost five centuries before the Canadian government shut the industry down indefinitely in July 1992. By then, once-plentiful fish stocks had dwindled to near extinction and officials feared they would disappear entirely if the fisheries remained open. The moratorium put about 30,000 people in the province out of work and ended a way of life that had endured for generations in many outport communities.”

[Jenny Higgins. Cod Moratorium in Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site. ©2009. 10/21/19. https://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/economy/moratorium.php.]
  • Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse
    • Here you can roam walking trails, spot for whales and even step inside the century-old lighthouse. Inside the lighthouse lies an exhibit showcasing historical photos, audio recordings of folk songs and lightkeepers’ logbooks.
  • Watch sunset at Rocky Harbour Lookout
    • Cap your day with a stellar sunset from this ideal location. Here we were met with a dazzling performance of evolving orange, pink and purple hues as the rolling waves soothed our ears.  The mountains that can be seen in the distant fjord are an added bonus to this already incredible scene.  We even met a new friend in this location with whom we shared photography and travel stories with for a long while.  The good conversation helped us forget the unrelenting cold temperatures creeping in with every passing minute of the setting sun.   (It was a pleasure watching the sunset and talking with you, CJB Photography).

Bucket List Airbnb near Gros Morne National Park

The Saltbox Pods, Newfoundland

Near: Bonne Bay, Newfoundland (very close to Gros Morne National Park)

We paid: $74 per night

Why is it bucket list worthy? It’s a tiny home right on the edge of the bay in the heart of a stunning fjord.  Your giant glass door is the perfect viewpoint to spot for whales, porpoises or seals at sunrise (or any time of the day) while cuddling in the comfort of your bed.

The phenomenal hosts went above and beyond for us by inviting us along on a zodiac boat ride the morning of our departure AND offering us use of their fire pit located on their private dock.  Their generosity seems to be boundless and we are immensely grateful.

During our nights in the pod, Doug and I would turn off all the lights and sit by the big, sliding glass doors just gazing up at the starry night sky twinkling above the sea.  Oh, and of course marveling over the Full Hunter’s Moon as well.  A scene equally haunting as it was mystifying and captivating.

Bucket List Restaurant: The Merchant Warehouse

The Newfoundlanders’ simple way of life and relaxed pace rejuvenated my overstimulated mind and recharged my soul in unfathomable ways.  Living in the city, I’m always inundated with options.  I typically love options.  But when your mind is tired and on a much needed break, the lack of options is a breath of fresh air.  Where do we eat?  That’s easy!  There was one open restaurant in the super close town of Woody Point (the next closest being a 45-minute drive).  And guess what?  It was divine.   

The Merchant Warehouse was simple, delicious and beautifully located along Bonne Bay (photo’d above in the 3rd slide).   Even more, it gives you a sense of life as a local as you begin to know the wait staff and the business owners, their local music and their daily routines.  I dined on the best fish and chips (Newfoundland is known for their Cod) all the while relishing the marvelous views, enjoying the endearing camaraderie and listening to old sea-shanties.


Mindy on the Move Newfoundland Highlight Reel (video)

In this short Highlights of Newfoundland video, you can view some of the highlights from my incredible, whirlwind Newfoundland journey this past Autumn.  I hiked all over Gros Morne National Park: Tablelands, Green Gardens, Western Brook Pond and more!  Stood on the most eastern point of all North America at Cape Spear. Visited countless, picturesque lighthouses. Witnessed beautiful fall foliage. Hopped in and out of pubs in downtown St. Johns (and even got screeched in at Trapper John’s). Picked Wild Blueberries. Marveled at the most charming fishing village: Quidi Vidi.  AND… had ALL the fun. Newfoundland is an utterly special place that stole my heart.  She still seems to remain a best kept secret, waiting for newcomers to discover her brilliance and charm.  What are you waiting for?!  Check her out! 


Have you explored Gros Morne National Park?  If so, what was one of your most memorable experiences there?  If not, what most piques your interest in regards to traveling to this wondrous place?  Let me know in the comments below ↓

As always,

Much love and happy travels,

Mindy

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12 thoughts on “Gros Morne National Park Bucket List

  1. Wow! This is such a beautiful destination and what pectacular scenery. I had no idea that the Earth’s mantle was exposed anywhere in the world.It’s an amazing experience to be able to see such a rare sight. Thanks so much for an interesting and informative read.

  2. Ahh the pictures are so inspiring. Definitely motivating me to get a little more outdoor time than I am getting now 😅

  3. I’ve been wanting to visit the East Coast for so long!! I still can’t believe I have never been. This place looks absolutely beautiful and I’ve added it to my list. I hope I can make it there sooner rather than later… what a beautiful part of Canada!

  4. Gros Morne National Park looksso beautiful with so much to explore! I’d never heard of it before but now it’s added to my bucket list! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. I’ve never heard of Gros Morne national park but wow it is stunning! Each area is so scenic and looks like the perfect place for awesome hikes and views. The tiny house b&b is adorable and looks very peaceful!

  6. This is such a great location! I just learned about this location and would love to get to visit! Those views are amazing!

  7. This has been on my list for a long time! Beautiful. Thanks for the breakdown of the trails and the tip regarding the tiny houses. I can’t wait to see for myself!

  8. What an awesome guide, I love all the hiking paths, it looks super adventurous. Thanks for sharing, I’ll make sure to visit it sometimes

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