Six Must-Do Hikes in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Vikings, ice­bergs, and rugged coastlines—oh yeah!

In a coun­try with no short­age of epic hikes, the Cana­di­an province of New­found­land and Labrador holds its own in terms of unique land­scapes, wildlife sight­ings, and vis­tas that will leave you weak in the knees—that is, when the infa­mous New­found­land fog permits.

While win­ters are windy and on the blus­tery side, sum­mer and ear­ly fall offer great con­di­tions for explor­ing the pair of islands by hik­ing boot. Whether you’re after a reward­ing day hike or a mul­ti-day jour­ney that will test your lim­its, you’ll have no trou­ble find­ing a trail in New­found­land and Labrador that hits the spot.

East-Coast-TrailEast Coast Trail
The 190-mile-long East Coast Trail fol­lows the shores of the Atlantic along the Aval­on Penin­su­la, rang­ing in dif­fi­cul­ty from mel­low walks to more gru­el­ing, tech­ni­cal ter­rain. The trail pass­es through sev­er­al com­mu­ni­ties, mak­ing restock­ing an easy task for those tack­ling the entire route.

There’s a rea­son that Nation­al Geo­graph­ic pegged this as one of the world’s best adven­ture des­ti­na­tions. With vir­tu­al­ly con­stant views of the ocean, you’re in for plen­ty of rugged cliffs, crash­ing waves, jaw-drop­ping sun­ris­es, and per­haps a few whale sight­ings if you luck out with your timing.

If you don’t have the time to trek the entire thing, which takes any­where from one and a half to two+ weeks depend­ing on how many miles you’re will­ing to tack­le per day, it’s still worth check­ing out short­er sec­tions of the trail.

Western Brook PondLong Range Traverse
Adven­tur­ers, this ones for you: unmarked, untamed, and unbe­liev­able is the best way to sum up the point-to-point, 21-mile Long Range Tra­verse, a back­coun­try route in Gros Morne Nation­al Park on the west­ern side of New­found­land. The entire trek takes three to four nights to com­plete, and there are five dif­fer­ent camp­sites along the way invit­ing you to pitch your tent and rest your weary legs.

Start­ing off with a steep climb, it doesn’t take long to reap the rewards of this hike: there is an infa­mous view of West­ern Brook Pond that you’ll get to expe­ri­ence on Day 1 as you make your way up to the top of the West­ern Brook Gorge.

Plan ahead: the Long Range Tra­verse allows a lim­it­ed num­ber of hik­ers on the trail at a time and there is a manda­to­ry ori­en­ta­tion ses­sion, along with a reser­va­tion fee. You’ll also have to make arrange­ments for transportation.

Mount Gros Morne, NewfoundlandGros Morne Moun­tain Hik­ing Trail
Anoth­er hike sit­u­at­ed in Gros Morne Nation­al Park, Gros Morne Moun­tain is a rel­a­tive­ly chal­leng­ing 10-mile day hike that rewards hik­ers as it pass­es along­side scenic ponds and offers views of sur­round­ing moun­tains (when not socked in by the fog, of course). The trail trav­els in a loop, is well-marked, and is gen­er­al­ly a fun trek for expe­ri­enced hik­ers or those look­ing for a bit of a challenge.

The trail pass­es through eco­log­i­cal­ly sen­si­tive Arc­tic-alpine ter­ri­to­ry, so stay­ing on the des­ig­nat­ed path is a must and clo­sures must be respect­ed (the trail is typ­i­cal­ly off-lim­its in the spring­time to pro­tect the local wildlife). Wear good footwear, as part of the trail requires scram­bling through rocky scree, which can be slip­pery in wet conditions.

Outport TrailOut­port Trail
Newfoundland’s oth­er nation­al park, Ter­ra Nova Nation­al Park, is anoth­er wor­thy des­ti­na­tion for hik­ing fans. The Out­port Trail is a 21-mile out-and-back trail that has a lit­tle bit of every­thing: paths that mean­der through forests and along the coast, a note­wor­thy climb up Mount Stam­ford, aban­doned set­tle­ments with relics from yes­ter­year, and some back­coun­try camp­ing sites to rest your weary head before mak­ing the trip back.

Bring your good boots—there are sev­er­al wet, mucky sec­tions along the trail.

Labrador-Pioneer-FootpathLabrador Pio­neer Footpath
Before there were roads, there were footpaths—and the Labrador Pio­neer Foot­path was the trail of choice for peo­ple who need­ed to get around when the sea was too gnarly for trav­el. Today, the trail links L’Anse au Clair and Pin­ware along the coastal shore­line, pass­ing through five oth­er com­mu­ni­ties along the way and with plans to expand the trail to cov­er 68 miles total.

High­lights include aquat­ic ani­mal spot­tings (seals! dol­phins!), lush land­scapes, beau­ti­ful beach­es, and a bliss­ful lack of crowds—Labrador is one of the few true hid­den gems left on the world.

Bay-du-Nord-Wilderness-ReserveBay du Nord Wilder­ness Reserve
If you’re look­ing to get as far away from civ­i­liza­tion as pos­si­ble and to immerse your­self in true New­found­land wilder­ness, this is it. You won’t find trail mark­ers, ameni­ties, or hand-hold­ing of any kind in Bay du Nord Wilder­ness Reserve—but you will find rivers, moun­tains, cari­bou, and a whole lot of solitude.

There isn’t real­ly such thing as a des­ig­nat­ed hike in this wilder­ness reserve, but the trek from Dia­mond Lake to the sum­mit of Mount Sylvester is a favorite for back­coun­try enthu­si­asts. If you’re look­ing for an adven­ture off the beat­en path, this is it.