Gros Morne is the second highest peak on the island of Newfoundland, exceeded only by Lewis Hill. Often capped with clouds, or clothed in fog or snow, the mountain’s mystery is reflected in its name: Gros Morne… big lone mountain.
This 806 m high flat-topped mountain is a slice of Arctic tundra far south of its usual range. The habitat is a heaven for rock ptarmigan, Arctic hare, and woodland caribou. Around the summit, there are views of a spectacular glacial-carved landscape: the deep fjord arms of Bonne Bay and the U-shaped trough of Ten Mile Pond.
Hiking the Mountain
One of the most popular hikes in Newfoundland, and for good reason; there are two distinct ways to experience the big lone mountain depending on your desires, fitness level, and weather
To the Base and Back
Distance: 9km – moderate. Open year-round
A mountain is more than its summit, and depending on the person, and the day, a stroll to the base of Gros Morne, might be the right decision!
The 4.5 km climb, takes you past views of the mountain punctuated by numerous waterfalls before opening up to views of Bonne Bay and a cluster of small ponds at the base of the mountain, at an elevation of 320 m. Make your way back down the same path to the Parking lot for a 9km round trip.
Distance: 17km – difficult. Trail Closed May 1st – Last Friday in June
Taking on the entire hike is a full-day affair and requires planning appropriately.
After leaving the base, the trail takes you up a very steep boulder gully to the summit of the mountain (500-meter climb, which takes an hour or more to cover ~1km). The summit of the mountain can be a very harsh place, so be prepared for rapid temperature changes, lack of water, high wind, and blistering sun. This is the most challenging part of the hike and is not recommended for small children.
After the summit, there can be a sense of accomplishment, but don’t let your guard down yet! With nearly 10km left to hike, and the descent thru ferry gulch being no easy task, pace yourself, and rest as you need it.
Planning & Safety
Before You Head Out
It is very important to be well prepared before undertaking this hike. This is not an easy hike!!
- There is no food, shelter, or water available on the mountain. Be prepared for changes in weather as well as cooler and windier conditions on the mountain.
- The complete trail is 17km long, a seven to eight hour hike at a leisurely pace. To fully enjoy the wildlife and spectacular scenery along this trail, be sure to allow yourself enough time
- Check weather and trail conditions
- Pick up your Park Pass prior to hiking the mountain.
- Water (at least 3 litres of water per person) since none is available on the mountain.
- Warm clothing and a windbreaker or warm coat (waterproof gear recommended) to counter the wind and unpredictable weather.
- Sturdy broken-in footwear.
- Sunscreen, Hat for warmth and/or sun
- Please stay on the trail, both for your safety and to reduce your effect on fragile environments.
- Carry out all of your garbage. Buried trash is still trash.
- We recommend that visitors do not take their dogs to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain as there are risks to both dogs and wildlife. The hike to the summit can be incredibly challenging for dogs, as the rocks can cut their feet and there is a lack of access to water. The presence of dogs on the mountain can also disturb the unique wildlife that call Gros Morne mountain home – such as the Arctic hare, caribou and rock ptarmigan. Although we discourage visitors from taking dogs to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain, they are permitted if they are under physical control with a leash.
- Leave everything as you find it. Do not pick plants or collect rocks, fossils, or anything else (other than litter!) This will ensure that others can also enjoy the features of this trail.
- Do not build fire pits, shelters, or rock cairns.