Gros Morne is one of the most uniquely beautiful places in Canada. Nestled on the edge of western Newfoundland, Gros Morne National Park exhibits amazing experiences year round, but the very best time of year to visit is the fall. The blazing red, yellow and orange hues that are painted throughout the park, illuminate the already majestic landscape. Exploring this landscape on the trails, scenic lookouts and coastal communities becomes even more magical when you feel like you are the only one in the park. Gros Morne is undeniably a hikers paradise, but the area showcases so much more with vibrant colours, curious wildlife, artistic adventures, culinary festivals and ever-changing scenery.
Hiking the Hills
Gros Morne Mountain
This is not for the faint of heart or the unsure footed. However if charging up pure rock face gets your heart racing, hiking Gros Morne Mountain in the fall is nothing short of spectacular. Changing forest colours, unobstructed views of the monumental fjord and no one else on the trail but you. One of the most popular hikes in the park, when you hike in the fall you will feel as if you have, not only the mountain, but the entire park to yourself.
Look Out Trail
Hiking to the top you will travel through forests of changing colours that intermittently tease you with small clearings and peaks of the view you will experience from the top. The reward for your climb is getting to sit in the red chairs; the coveted seat at the top of the world. When you are there in the fall you do not have to wait for your turn in the chairs and can feel like you are the ruler of the park for as long as you like.
A 1000 foot rock formation of the Earth’s mantle that had been thrust to the surface millions of years ago during a tectonic plate collision. It has no clear paths or marked routes, you have to navigate the path of least resistance. Fall is the best time for this epic hike as you are able to see all of Gros Morne from the top; the rolling hills falling into the dark blue sea, dusted with autumn colours. The barren valley below contrasted against the deep fall blue sky and lush white clouds. There may even be snow at the top this time of year, allowing you to be one of the few people on the planet to have a snowball fight on the top of the bottom of the earth.
An enchanting hike that doesn’t offer the same scenery for long, with coastal trail views of sea stacks, volcanic rocky paths, hidden waterfalls, and colourful forest passage. Exploring this hike in the fall when it is quiet, permits a feeling of what the land was like before man arrived. Perch yourself on a welcoming rock as you watch the show the water performs for you and feel like you are the only person on the planet.
Sit & Savour
Grab a coffee from the Old Store Cafe and take a seat on one of the benches overlooking Bonne Bay and the Tablelands, located at the Jenniex House in Norris Point. Take a big deep breath of sweet salty air and soak up the genuine fall beauty surrounding you. You may also be fortunate enough to witness the fall fog. Not like the misty all-encompassing fog, most think of, fall fog in Gros Morne is like a mythical creature, appearing in pockets and crevasses of the park, morphing and changing shape right before your eyes. It is something that has to be experienced to be believed.
With the park quieting down from the tourist busy months of July and August the wildlife begin to reclaim their turf. Choose one of the many park benches or red chairs in the area and while enjoying the serenity that surrounds you will most likely be treated to a visit by a caribou, snowshoe hare, moose or seal. Seals tend to put on a number of shows in the fall, either splashing and playing just offshore, or sunbathing on nearby rocks.
The sunsets in Gros Morne are among the most beautiful in the world. For a relaxing moment, sip on a cocktail as the sun goes down in Rocky Harbour. As the sunsets, the colours of the trees become even more vibrant, almost shining with elegance as the sky is smeared with orange, pinks and reds. As the sun brushes its golden trail along the water, the tranquility is sure to wash over you.
Art is weaved into the very fabric of what makes Gros Morne so spectacular. It is the passion that pulses through the hearts of so many that call this place home. Gros Morne is like a lighthouse beckoning artists to its inspiring shores. Planning your trip in the fall means that you get to experience Gros Morne Fall Festival, the last part of September. Create your own artwork by attending one of the many workshops offered during the weekend; painting, quilting, pottery making, kite making, moose hair tufting, basket weaving, fly tying, as well as a fiddle workshop are all offered. The weekend also includes dining and nightly entertainment showcasing the traditions of the province. Taking photos of your trip is great, but taking home a piece of artwork inspired by the place that captured your heart and touched your soul means you are bringing home much more than just a souvenir.
Whether you are an art lover, trail trotter, wildlife watcher or simply someone who enjoys taking deeps breaths of fresh clean air, Gros Morne National Park has an experience for you. Visit in the fall for the vibrant colours, curious wildlife, artistic adventures and ever-changing scenery. For each day the park puts on its own unique performances, created just for you.