Guide to Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland)

Gros Morne National Park is a must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Newfoundland, Canada. The park spans across 1.8K square kilometers and seriously just driving through it is a site to be seen. Hike the amazing landscapes, explore the adorable towns that surround the park, and get on the water to witness the fjords up close. You’ll never believe you aren’t in Norway.

How to get to Gros Morne National Park

On my trip to Newfoundland in September, adding Gros Morne National Park to our itinerary wasn’t a small feat. It is quite the drive to get here from St. John’s, which is the capital city that most people will fly into. To get there, it’s just shy of a 7-hour drive. If you have the option, you can also fly to the Gander Airport which is significantly closer (3.5-hour drive).

We didn’t find the drive from St. John’s too bad as we didn’t do it directly. We made stops and spent nights along the way in places like Dildo, Trinity, and Twillingate, and made some stops on our way back to the city to break up the drive. If you have the time, spread out your drive across the province and enjoy all the beautiful stops along the way to the park.

Getting around Gros Morne

A rental car is a necessity in Gros Morne National Park. The trailheads are spread out, the towns that are home to restaurants, bars, and entertainment, are also spread out, and you’ll want to be able to have a car to get you from point A to point B. I will say, it’s incredibly beautiful and easy to drive around the park.

Where to stay

Rocky Harbour
Rocky Harbour is a town on the western edge of Newfoundland near Bonne Bay. The town is located within the park and is a great place to centre yourself as there are several cute restaurants, bars, and trailheads to hike.

Cow Head
Cow Head is the northernmost enclave community in Gros Morne. It’s a beautiful spot to base yourself when visiting the park. Cow Head has a peninsula joined to the mainland that is known as “The Head” or “Summerside”. Residents would live on The Head during the summer, and when the fishing season ended in October they’d move to the more protected Winterside.

Norris Point
This is where we decided to base ourselves. It’s incredibly small, just like the other communities in the park, but a beautiful spot to base yourself. There are a few cute restaurants and cafes, and we found this great Airbnb.

Woody Point
In theory, Woody Point and Norris Point are very close when accessed by the water shuttle, but they are an hour’s drive from one another. Woody Point is a beautiful historic town with a population of only about 280 people. Some beautiful trails start here at the visitor centre, and some cute restaurants and shops to visit.

Best trails to hike in Gros Morne National Park

Lookout Hills Trail:
This 5.5km loop trail offers beautiful panoramic views of the park. The start of the trail is the most challenging part as you’ll head up a steady incline, but I promise that it gets easier and more beautiful as you get to the top. This trail starts from the Discovery Centre parking lot.

Tablelands Trail:
This is another must-do while in Gros Morne National Park because it’s one of the only places in the world where you can walk on the Earth’s mantel that was pushed to the surface by colliding continents millions of years ago. Due to this, it creates a terrain, unlike other trails in the park. This trail is a 7.7km out-and-back trail. If you aren’t interested in the longer hike, you can always walk to a point that you feel comfortable with and turn around. We visited on a very rainy day so we did just that!

Green Gardens Trail:
We did not make it to the Green Gardens Trail on our visit to Gros Morne, but it’s worth it if you have the time. It’s a 10km out-and-back trail that is one of the most popular in the park. The trail descends to the coast and continues along the cliffs and meadows of Steves Cove.

Gros Morne Mountain Trail:
If you are looking for a real adventure, this trail is it, however, it’s not for the inexperienced. The Gros Morne Mountain Trail is 16.9km hard trail that takes you to the top of Gros Morne Mountain with amazing views.

Western Brook Pond Day Hike:
Another challenging hike you can join is the Western Brook Pond trail hike. This one you can do on a tour and will take about 10-12 hours. Get the best panoramic views and pictures of the fjords, but it comes with a lot of effort! This tour is only available from June to September.

What to do other than hiking

Boat tour
You most definitely want to leave space in your itinerary for the Western Brook Pond Tour. This is a boat tour that takes you through the fjords on Western Brook Pond. You won’t believe the views. It seriously feels like you aren’t in Canada. It’s good if you book this tour in advance, and leave yourself a few days in Gros Morne because if the weather is bad, your boat tour will be canceled and rescheduled.

Cod jigging is a popular activity in the park and you can join in on a tour that lets you experience it firsthand. There are also other fishing you can do such as fishing for local mackerel or halibut, and even shark fishing!

An underrated activity in the park during the summer months is to hit up one of the beautiful beaches. The most popular is Shallow Bay Beach, a long sandy beach that is perfect for the whole family. There’s also Norris Point Beach and Lobster Cove Head Beach.

Food Tour
I wanted to do one of these food tours so badly but we did not have the time. Taste of Gros Morne offers a variety of food tours that allow you to experience the local cuisine, from a fine dining food tour to a seaside food tour of local seafood. Wild Gros Morne also offers some great food tours like a traditional beach boil-up.

Live music
One of the most fun things you can do in Newfoundland is experience live music. In the Gros Morne National Park, the go-to show is Anchors Aweigh. This show plays every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from June to September at the Ocean View Hotel. It is part comedy show, part concert, and it is so fun!

Gros Morne has some of the darkest skies in North America which makes it the perfect spot to stargaze. Each October the park hosts the Dark Sky Festival.


What time of year should I visit Gros Morne National Park? The park is truly magical and different any time of year, but the best time to visit is late spring (May) to mid-October for the best weather.

How many days do I need in Gros Morne? You can spend anywhere from three days to two weeks here. There is so much to do and see.

Do I need a car to get around Gros Morne? Yes! You will need a car to get around. Trailheads, visitor centers, towns, etc. are all very spread out. You can rent bikes, or take water taxis or taxis, but in general, it’s pretty challenging to get around without a car.

Is Gros Morne family-friendly? Totally! There is so much more than just hiking in the park. There are also lots of family-friendly trails for adventurous families too.

Are there a lot of moose in Gros Morne National Park? Yes. There are a ton of moose in this area, and you are most likely to see them in the early morning or at dusk. This means that it’s very important to be mindful of not just the roads, but also the sides of the road and forest. You do not want to come head-to-head with a moose while driving. That being said, we didn’t see any when we were there.

Other Newfoundland content to read:

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply