Cape Breton - Gros Morne, Newfoundland and Labrador
Two of Canada’s most beautiful and rugged islands can be understood through stories. These stories are told by the ancient lands that form majestic mountain ranges, fjords and ever changing scenic vistas. Stories that elders have shared with this generation in the form of music and storytelling, the wildlife that makes the North Atlantic one of the worlds most wild seascapes and the herds of moose and caribou that roam freely through aging forests. Our journey will include hiking, sea kayaking, boat tours and cultural experiences. A cultural melting pot are these islands having been influenced by the first European settlement and the Indigenous people who have occupied these lands for more than 10,000 years; all contributing to a story. What story will you have to tell?
“The place where land, water and sky embrace like old friends.” – Newfoundland saying
Whycocomagh, Cape Breton – Day #1
Departing from Halifax we drive to Cape Breton Island where we spend our first day together; travelling past rolling hills and the open waters of the Bras D’or Lakes to the base of Salt Mountain. Here at the Whycocomagh Provincial Park a 4 km trail climbs to series of look-offs with views to the town below, the surrounding highlands and the lakes below where bald eagles frequently soar through the skies. We then make our way to the lakeside town of Baddeck where we will catch a live evening Ceilidh to enjoy traditional and Celtic influenced tunes.
Baddeck, Cape Breton – Day #2
A short drive in the morning brings us to the Usige Ban Falls trail which leads to a 50 ft waterfall tucked away in a glorious valley. This easy 4 km hike winds through a mixed forest mostly dominated by white and yellow birch and the ever present sounds of song birds and the brook make for a pleasant morning hike. In the afternoon we board a vessel that takes us to the Bird Islands where from our boat we witness flocks of puffins, bald eagles, cormorants, murres, guillemots and seals. Rated as a “must-see” destination in the “Unforgettable Atlantic Canada” guidebook.
Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland – Day #3
Today is our travel day by ferry to the island of Newfoundland. Boarding the car ferry in the morning the crossing is approximately 7 hours. We will arrive in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland around dinner time. After dinner you will have the evening to explore the town.
Corner Brook, Newfoundland – Day #4
Just outside of town the Long Range Mountains begin which stretch almost the entire length of western Newfoundland. Most of the drive from here to Corner Brook could easily be mistaken for a national park it’s that beautiful. We will make numerous stops for photos along our journey. Once in Corner Brook we head to Marble Mountain to try our hand at zip-lining or the spider challenge. The zip-line consists of 9 runs, with one almost 2000 ft long and 285 ft in height crossing over the 200 ft Steady Brook Falls. Adrenaline junkies line up! The alternative for those interested in something a little less adventurous is the spider challenge – a three-storey high obstacle ropes course which is suitable for the entire family. Our evening will be spent in the town of Corner Brook.
Gros Morne, Newfoundland – Day #5
Prepare to be amazed! Today we enter Gros Morne National Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; renowned for its’ captivating and raw natural beauty. Hundreds of millions of years have shaped and sculpted a landscape unlike anything else found on the planet. Here the earth’s mantle has been forced to the surface to reveal an unworldly desert-like landscape known as the “Tablelands.” An easy pace during this 4 km hike allows for great photo opportunities and time to lose yourself in thought imaging the great forces behind creating such a unique and wild landscape.
In the afternoon we hike the 9 km Green Gardens Trail where the wild open waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence are on full display. Here lush green mountains meet the sea where a coastline full of adventure awaits! Here we will be rewarded by waterfalls, sea-caves and spectacular sea-cliffs after crossing over serpentine barrens and coastal forests; a very diverse hike that will fill your heart and cameras with memories for years to come.
Gros Morne, Newfoundland – Day #6
Today’s boat tour is a “bucket list” experience. The Western Brook Pond is a landlocked fjord where the sheer rock walls rise nearly 2000 ft towards the sky – that’s nearly 400 ft taller than the CN Tower, Canada’s tallest building. An easy 4 km hike along a flat path and boardwalk brings us to the waters edge where we board our vessel and cruise the 16 km long fjord where waterfalls leap from the granite cliffs showing off rainbow coloured misty veils before touching down thousands of feet below. The folks at BonTours are always willing to share their knowledge of the natural history of the area and eager to get everyone on board stomping their feet to some local tunes. Newfoundlanders are well-known for their humour and showing people a good time and today’s journey is no exception.
Gros Morne, Newfoundland – Day #7
The national park is named after the very mountain we are setting out to climb today, that being Gros Morne which means big lone mountain. This is the 2nd highest point on the island of Newfoundland and is a difficult and demanding trek even for an experienced fit hiker. The trail conditions are rocky with many exposed roots and the hike involves a lot of climbing to the exposed sub-arctic alpine summit, which stands 2645 ft (806 metres). As we near the summit the views of Ten Mile Pond and across the fjord towards Bonne Bay are unsurpassed in all Atlantic Canada. This unique arctic-tundra like mountain is home to some interesting wildlife in the form of rock ptarmigan, woodland caribou and arctic hare which are usually found in the far northern parts of the country. This hike will take us 8-10 hours to complete which will allow us enough time to rest and enjoy one of eastern Canada’s most spectacular landscapes.
Gros Morne, Newfoundland – Day #8
Our last day in Newfoundland together so let’s make it a good one! In the morning we will take a 2 hour paddle in sea kayaks on Bonne Bay. Here we will not only learn about the aquaculture of the area and its livelihood to many of the local residents, but also have stunning views of the Tablelands across the bay and Gros Morne Mountain peeking over the trees in the distance; offering us a chance to admire our accomplishments we have earned during our time in Gros Morne. As we make our way out of the park we will stop at Southeast Brook Falls to marvel at this 120 ft waterfall before heading to Deer Lake airport to say our final farewells.
- Moderate Overall Difficulty
- 8 Days Tour Length
- 45.0+ km Walking Distance