Canada, Newfoundland: Viking Trail Bike Tour
Eight nights; nine days of spectacular bicycle touring and hiking on the Viking Trail in Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse aux Meadows.
“I still think of all the bike trips we have ever done around the world the Viking Trail was the best.” – Cliff G.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Long oceanside rides with prevalent tailwinds.
- Spontaneous moose encounters on the roadside – not guaranteed, but common.
- Fjord exploration by boat, with waterfalls from the clifftops.
- Good chances of whale and/or iceberg sightings.
- Newfoundland fishing culture and friendly, generous locals.
- L’Anse aux Meadows historical site – the first Viking settlement in North America.
- Full day mountain hike.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gros Morne National Park. See Earth’s mantel exposed, and see evidence of plate tectonics.
- A night on a spectacular island, at a lighthouse.
There are some big hills, long rides, and challenging hikes, which include steep ascents and descents. Relaxed riders may choose shorter options, but will require some van support. Advanced cyclists will enjoy the challenge. One day is over 100 miles, but is helped with wide, not so hilly roads, and usually a tailwind.
- DAY 1: Arrival
- DAY 2: Long: ~63km/Short: ~34km
- DAY 3: ~36km
- DAY 4: Long: ~101km/Short: ~58km
- DAY 5: Up to 280km
- DAY 6: ~10km
- DAY 7: Bike ~16km, Hike 3-8km
- DAY 8: Hike ~17km or Bike ~76km
- DAY 9: Farewell & Transfer
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Deer Lake, Deer Lake Motel, day one. You will meet your guides here or another pre-determined location at 09:00 on the morning of day two. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Finish: Deer Lake, Deer Lake Motel, ~09:00, day nine.
Optional finish at St. Anthony with Provincial Air flight available to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Update: 2022 PAL schedule has changed; now requires waiting a day in St. Anthony. Private charters can be arranged; call us for details.
Your room will be waiting for you at the Deer Lake Motel, 4km from the airport. This is simple, clean lodging with a restaurant, well situated at the very beginning of the Viking Trail. Your guides/driver will meet you here tomorrow morning.
Deer Lake Motel, Deer Lake
Bike into Gros Morne National Park. Long: 63km/Short: 34km
From Deer Lake, bike past the Newfoundland insectarium and the Wiltondale Pioneer Village en route to lunch near the entrance to Gros Morne National Park. Spend the afternoon riding the hilly and exhilarating approach to the shore of Bonne Bay, finishing in the tiny fishing village of Woody Point. BLD
Bonne Bay Inn, Bonne Bay
Riding the Tablelands, plus hiking options. 36km
Today’s ride takes you to Trout River for lunch overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On the way, stop at the Discovery Centre to learn about the fascinating geographical history of the Tablelands. You can take a steep one-hour hike up Partridgeberry Hill along the Lookout Trail, or continue to the geological curiosity of the Tablelands themselves – an exposed section of the earth’s mantle, of particular fascination to geologists, and a unique phenomenon earning this park its UNESCO designation. After an afternoon exploring the Tablelands or enjoying the Green Gardens hike, return to Woody Point for dinner overlooking Bonne Bay. BLD
Bike to Portland Creek via Cow Head. Long: 101km/Short: 58km
Start with a water taxi across Bonne Bay, or a van transfer to Norris Point if you prefer. The long option makes this a hilly ride to the other side of the bay. From there, ride north through Rocky Harbour and Gros Morne National Park. North of the park, stop at Cow Head – a fishing village with a lighthouse, and a short coastal hike that reveals an abundance of fossils and a record of marine life through the ages. Continue past Parson’s Pond to your waterfront inn or cabins – a genuine Newfoundland retreat! BLD
Mountain Waters Resort, Portland Creek
The long ride north. Up to 280km (for most, this ride is vehicle assisted)
A very long ride today, assisted (we hope!) by the prevailing tailwind and the wide flat road leading you north. Most cyclists will accept a boost or two from the van while others will be determined to complete the entire ride. Either way, following an evening of fresh local cuisine, you’ll rest well tonight at your lodge in its fabulous wilderness setting near the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. This scenic retreat is well out of the way; be prepared to enjoy comfort in the northern wilderness! BLD
Valhalla Lodge, L’Anse aux Meadows; or Burnt Cape Cabins, Raleigh
Anse aux Meadows, Zodiac boat trip and Quirpon Island 10km
Arise early this morning to visit the profoundly stirring site of L’Anse aux Meadows, where Vikings landed more than five centuries before Columbus. Believed to be Leif Eriksson’s Vinland of the Norse sagas, this is the site of the birth of the first European descendant in the New World: “Snorri”. The archaeological and historical significance of L’Anse aux Meadows has earned it recognition by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site; it does not disappoint. You will hear sagas of ancient times and hardy people who sailed forbidding seas to inhabit this wild and beautiful place. You can also visit Norstead, and experience life in a Viking port of trade in a setting described as one of Canada’s top ten local experiences. After lunch, a 90 minute boat trip* will take you through iceberg alley to Quirpon Island Lighthouse. You will learn about the shipwrecks, history, and natural attractions, often sighting whales and icebergs. Your destination is a private island with fantastic coastal trails, wide views, and an exceptional lighthouse lodge. You may even find ruins of unexcavated Viking sod houses. Overall, this is a magical experience, often considered the highlight of this trip. BD
*Please note a 25 pound luggage restriction for today’s boat trip to the island.
Quirpon Island Lighthouse, Quirpon
Transfer to Port aux Choix 2 ½ hours, bike 16km. Hike 3-8km. Transfer 2 hrs. Optional flights available to transfer to our Labrador Hike.
After breakfast, board your boat to return to mainland. There is a transfer from there to Hawke’s Bay, from where you can ride your bike along the coastal road to Port- aux-Choix to see the burial grounds and history of the extinct Paleoeskimo peoples. The hike from Port-aux-Choix National Historic Site takes you to the lighthouse, and teaches you about the Maritime Archaic people – now extinct – who lived here 6000 years ago. You will also have a chance to learn the process used to prepare seal skins, using ancient tools (stretchers, scrapers, and endblades). Finish the day with a transfer to your comfy lodge in time for an excellent dinner. BLD
Neddies Harbour Inn, or Sugar Hill Inn, Norris Point
Hike Gros Morne Mountain 17km; 796m/2612ft. Optional alternative boat tour on Western Brook Pond available, or independent 76km bike ride for those who prefer not to hike or boat
Following breakfast, Hike to the top of Gros Morne Mountain where caribou are sometimes seen roaming the Long Range Mountains. This is a difficult eight-hour hike rewarded (weather permitting) by phenomenal views over Ten-Mile Pond, the Long Range Mountains, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The alternative activity today is a very scenic afternoon boat trip up the fjord at Western Brook Pond (in Newfoundland, even the largest lakes are usually called ponds). Finish the day with a return to Deer Lake in time for a well-earned independent dinner. Your guides/driver will normally say farewell this evening. BL
Deer Lake Motel, Deer Lake
Deer Lake airport is 4km from your hotel. Transfers are available through the front desk.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
- Aug 27-Sep 4
- Jun 29-Jul 7
- Jul 13-21
- Jul 27-Aug 4
- Aug 10-18
- Aug 24-Sep 1
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 5395 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 9 days, 8 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, van and guide support, entrance fees to Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows and Port aux Choix National Historic Sites, Quirpon boat tour, luggage handling, maps, route instructions, 15% sales tax.
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Self-Guided: C 4995 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 9 days, 8 nights, 7 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, all ground transportation as outlined including an afternoon pick up on day 5, emergency on call support, Quirpon boat tour, maps, route instructions, 15% sales tax.
Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 995
Flat bars. Trek FX3 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.
Drop bars. Trek Domane AL5, SL5, or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag (no rack/bag on carbon frames).
Flat bars. Trek Verve+ 2 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
The best time to enjoy this tour is mid-June to mid-October.
Spring daytimes warm up to 10 to 20 °C (50 to 70 °F) by mid June. Note that seasonal businesses may still be closed, or on off-season hours, until late June.
Summer, mid June to mid September, is normally 20 to 25 °C (70 to 80 °F). Freshwater and saltwater swimming is encouraged.
Autumn, mid September to mid October, daytimes 10 to 20 °C range (50 to 70 °F). Nights can be chilly, but rarely down to freezing. Mid-October is the best time to see spectacularly colorful fall foliage.
BEFORE & AFTER THE TOUR
If you fly:
Fly to Deer Lake Regional Airport (YDF), connecting from an international airport – St. John’s (YYT), Halifax (YHZ), or Toronto (YYZ).
If you drive:
Access the province by Marine Atlantic ferries, which operate between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. These superferries carry hundreds of vehicles and passengers to two entry points. There is a year-round, daily service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, in southwestern Newfoundland, and a June to September service operating three days per week between North Sydney and Argentia, Newfoundland (which is a 90-minute drive from the capital city of St. John’s). Please view Marine Atlantic’s website for schedule times, or to reserve your crossing at: www.marineatlantic.ca/en, or call 800-341-7981.
If you have one day:
Rent a car and go tidal bore rafting, visit Peggy’s Cove, or explore the waterfront city of Halifax. The Citadel is a good place for a scenic overview, and to learn about its history.
If you have several days:
Extend your trip by joining one of our other rides in Nova Scotia, or the adjacent provinces, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland.
We recommend the following accommodations in Halifax for before or after your tour; please let us know if we can assist with reservations:
Transfer back to Deer Lake at the end of day seven (5 hour). Participants looking to skip the van ride might consider an optional finish at St. Anthony with flights available to St. John’s, Newfoundland operated by Provincial Air (www.provincialairlines.ca). Note that these flights leave St. Anthony late afternoon, and our van leaves as soon as you get ashore. You will have part of the day to relax or visit St. Anthony, and will need to use taxis to get around and to the small airport.
This is a fabulous trip, well suited to intrepid explorers with lots of energy for the hills, distances, and sheer joy of hiking and traveling through such an undeveloped and exciting landscape. You will encounter people whose unabashed friendliness is truly extraordinary.
Begin in Gros Morne National Park, where the incomparable landscape and unique natural history have earned it a place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Climb Gros Morne Mountain and take a boat into a fjord akin to those of Norway. Later, transfer to the remote reaches of the Great Northern Peninsula, to see where the Vikings landed over a millenium ago.
The coastal hikes here are superb, and the final night in a lighthouse, from where whale and iceberg sightings are common, is the jewel on top of a week of breathtaking exploration.