Distance: 16km roundtrip
Elevation gain: 806m
Location: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
As the second highest mountain in Newfound, hiking Gros Morne Mountain is no joke, but it is well worth the challenge. I visited Newfoundland back in July 2018 and Gros Morne Mountain was easily one of the highlights from my trip.
The timing of our visit to Gros Morne National Park coincided with the opening of the trail for the summer season. It is usually closed during the spring from May 1 until the last Friday in June to protect the wildlife. When we had a nice window in terms of the weather, we took the opportunity to summit Gros Morne Mountain.
The first 4km of the hike winds through a forest to the base of the mountain. The path is relatively straightforward and there were a number of built-in steps to warm you up for the main event. See that snow patch up in the mountain in the below picture? That’s where the path leads to next. Cool.
At the base of the mountain the trail breaks off into two paths that eventually loop back together. It’s recommended to ascend via the boulder gully (where that snow patch is in the above picture) and return back through Ferry Gulch.
There’s a sign where the paths diverges and cautions hikers against summiting in inclement weather. There are no markers on the next stretch of the path, which would make having to navigate through this heap of rocks super challenging with reduced visibility. At this sign it’s also advisable to turn around if you don’t have 4 to 6 hours of daylight left to complete this section of the trail.
The gully was easily the most challenging section of the hike. It’s pretty much a solid 500m of vertical climbing through a pile of loose and unstable rocks for about a kilometre or so. And since we were hiking the trail early in the season we even got to navigate through a large snow patch, which put an interesting spin on things. We were definitely doing some slippin’ and slidin’ while scrambling through the snow. It was unavoidable.
Soon after reaching the peak of the gully it’s a short hike up to the marker for the summit. 806m. No big deal.
From the summit sign there are a number of markers to help navigate through the barren wasteland of rocks and stunted vegetation up on the peak. The trail leisurely descends down the other side of the mountain through Ferry Gulch and provides sweeping vistas of the Long Range Mountains and the Ten Mile Pond fjord.
On our journey down the mountain we came across a moose. For hearing so much about the overabundance of moose in Newfoundland, and in Gros Morne in particular, you’d think I’d come across one sooner. I’ll take what I can get. Especially since this was the one and only moose we saw on our entire trip.
The descent down, while significantly easier than the climb up, was lengthy and almost entirely in the sun. We were happy to reach the base of the mountain as the remaining 4km of the trail winds through a forest, providing ample shadows to cling to.
We started our hike up Gros Morne Mountain at 8:15a.m and finished at around 3:30p.m. Needless to say, I slept very well that night.
To read more about my adventures in Gros Morne National Park, click here