446,080-acre Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a nature-lover's dream. This 9-day itinerary includes two of Canada's most unique and incredible backpacking routes across the Long Range Mountains and the otherworldly Tablelands, with reduced pack weight to lighten your load. The epic Long Range Traverse is one of the only ways to get those iconic Newfoundland 'edge-of-the-world' views of coastal fjords sparkling between 1,000-foot granite cliffs. The route is along unmarked and rugged backcountry with an abundance of wildlife, rare arctic plants and endless opportunities for photos. The only way to hike the Long Range is with a local tour guide or by passing a navigational test arranged with Parks Canada. It is a remote and wild undertaking. The Tablelands is a landscape mimicked only by mars. Exposed earth's mantle (ultramafic rock) makes for a one-of-a-kind environment that offers dramatic panoramic views of the park and an abundance of waterfalls. There is no better way to experience the natural beauty and wonder of Gros Morne's back country.
The moderate to challenging grading of this trip is primarily because of the very rugged terrain and conditions/environment in the Long Range Mountains. There is no altitude to consider and it is only a few days of trekking, but there is no trail – it’s a route through wet, muddy, rocky, and“rooty” terrain. There is vegetation called ’Tuckamore’ that makes its appearance quite often during the hike – it is gnarled and tightly wound vegetation atop the plateau and walking through it has been aptly described as ‘like walking under water, against a strong current’. The first day includes a climb virtually straight up and out of a 600m tall gorge with some hand over hand scrambling (non-technical). The rest is relatively flatter, with some river crossings and potentially some residual snow patches to cross.
Arrive Deer Lake, meet your guide at the airport for a group transfer to the south side of Gros Morne National Park. Enjoy dinner and overnight in a rustic, cozy cabin.
The barrenTablelands, in the southern portion of the park, is a geologist's mecca. The landscape looks more like mars than it does green Newfoundland. The ultramafic rock, called peridotite, lacks nutrients required to sustain most plant life and is thought to have originated in the earth's mantle, later forced up to the earth's surface during tectonic plate collision hundreds of millions of years ago. We hike through this rocky terrain from sea level to approximately 720m for panoramic views of Bonne Bay and the park's mountains. We are likely to see rare plants and occasional caribou before descending to the base of the mountains where we set up camp on beautiful Trout River Pond.
Today we enjoy breakfast overlooking Trout River Pond, then are transferred by boat to the back of the lake where our trail slowly rises to an elevation of 200m at the base of the Overfalls. The route is dry and even, with good sight lines, views of gentle streams, turbulent rapids, cascading waterfalls, and large deep pools where one can take a refreshing dip. A trail extension takes us around a hillock before crossing over to the lip of the falls at approx 410m. This hidden gem is our lunch destination. This afternoon, we return to Trout River for dinner and overnight back in the cabins.
After breakfast, we are transferred northward, through the communities of Gros Morne National Park. We learn about the history of the area and meet a few locals along the way. There are options for kayaking, short walks and other activities within the park (not included). This evening, we set ourselves up in some simple cabins in Rocky Harbour - not far from Western Brook Pond the north side of the park. This evening, we will do a thorough briefing and pack/prep for the big trek ahead. We enjoy a hearty meal and get a good night sleep before taking on the Long Range Traverse first thing in the morning.
This morning, we load up then walk the flat and popular 3km trail to the shore of Western Brook Pond (lake) - The location of an information centre and where a tourist boat departs for tours of the dramatic fjords. We take an hour-long boat ride (either the tourist boat, or a small private motor boat) to the innermost point of the lake where a small, square dock marks the start of the Long Range Traverse. We wave goodbye to our ride and head into the lush valley toward the wall of the gorge. Then, it's about 600m up along wet, rocky switchbacks with some squeezing through and scrambling around boulders before we find ourselves at the top, out above the trees and looking back across the dramatic glacier-carved landscape for the postcard-perfect views. The incredible, otherworldly terrain ahead of us beckons exploration. We set up camp soon after our ascent and enjoy a night under the stars.
We are now walking through the most northern section of North America's Appalachian Mountains. There isn't a single trail marker along this 35km route which is packed with side trips and navigational puzzles including meandering footpaths of caribou. Our experienced guides expertly lead us through this pristine landscape, around countless peat bogs and brooks that dot the Long Range plateau. Our way is lined with 'tuckamore' and spruce groves tucked between knolls of heather and bare-bone granite. Fog often cloaks the highlands in June and July, but we hope for clear skies and incredible ocean views at the cliffy edges of Ten Mile Pond and Baker Brook Pond. For our final night on the Long Range, we set up camp overlooking iconic Gros Morne Mountain.
We hike from the Long Range Mountains down to the edge of Gros Morne Mountain and finally to its base at sea level. Usually an afternoon exit from the trek allows for ample time to enjoy the evening back in town and chat about the experiences and stories from the incredible past week in the back country, where few visitors have explored. Tonight, we are rewarded with showers, a hearty farewell dinner, and comfortable cabin accommodation.
After breakfast, we are transferred to Deer Lake Airport where services conclude.
Per Person, Twin Share