Challenging
Difficulty level
Hiking/Walking
Activity (Hike)

Canada, Newfoundland: Viking Trail Hike

Six days of hikes in Gros Morne National Park and points north along Newfoundland’s rugged western coast to L’Anse aux Meadows.


“Picnics were inspired. Guides were superb and enriched everything we did with their care, attention to detail, passion, encouragement, humour, and kindness. They were brilliant ambassadors for both Freewheeling and Newfoundland.” – Rob S.

WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Spectacular hikes with unique geology and panoramic sunset views.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gros Morne National Park.
  • Common whale and iceberg sightings.
  • Western Brook Pond waterfall boat tour.
  • Fresh, abundant seafood.
  • Newfoundland fishing culture and friendly, generous locals.
  • L’Anse Aux Meadows historical Viking site.
  • A night at an exceptional lighthouse lodge!
  • Join this itinerary with our Labrador Hike for a two-week, spectacular experience.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

The most challenging trips, these include longer distances, bigger hills, long hikes, exposed paddling, and full days of activity. We recommend a higher degree of fitness and training to make the most of the experience.


There are some big and challenging hikes, which include steep ascents and descents. Relaxed walkers may choose not to climb Gros Morne Mountain, which requires some boulder scrambling. The other hikes are manageable with sturdy footwear and good stamina.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions
  • DAY 2: 5 km and/or 14 km
  • DAY 3: Up to 10 km
  • DAY 4: 15 km
  • DAY 5: 6 km hike, 2h boat tour, 5 km hike
  • DAY 6: 7 km
  • DAY 7: Variable
  • DAY 8: Farewells


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, ~18:00, day eight.

1

Arrive at Deer Lake

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

2

Introductions and Hike Lookout Hill (5km) and/or Tablelands Hike (up to 14km)

You will be collected this morning from Deer Lake for a 60-minute drive to Gros Morne National Park and Woody Point. Leave luggage at your inn, then become acquainted with the park and warm up your legs for the walks to come with two introductory hikes. The Lookout Trail will take you to the top of Partridgeberry Hill, and will give you an expansive overview of the region. You can see the Tablelands, the coastal lowland, the Long-Range Mountains, and Bonne Bay’s picturesque villages of Norris Point and Woody Point. After lunch and a visit to the Discovery Center, hike the Tablelands, an eerie, alien landscape remnant of rock that once lay beneath the ancient Iapetus Ocean, and is now a visible part of the earth’s mantle. This hike along the shores of Trout River Pond Fjord explores this rocky terrain so geologically and naturally unique that it is a key component to Gros Morne National Park’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Mostly treeless because of the toxicity of the soil and the exposed landscape, trees that do survive are stunted and very old. LD

Bonne Bay Inn, Woody Point

3

Green Gardens Hike: Up to 10km; one hour transfer.

Today’s hike takes in the volcanic coastline of Green Gardens, a spectacular walk, partly along the ocean’s edge, where temperate, boreal, and arctic species co-exist. Brook trout and Arctic char find a home together, as do rhododendrons and Lapland Rosebay. The hike traverses an ancient sea floor and descends into a lush boreal forest to a coastline of sea-stacks, cliffs and grassy meadows. At day’s end, transfer around Bonne Bay to Rocky Harbour for the night. BLD

Java Jacks, Rocky Harbour

4

Gros Morne Mountain: 15km/8-hour hike; 806m/2600 ft. elevation gain.

A full-day, challenging hike to the top of Gros Morne Mountain, where caribou are sometimes seen in the arctic alpine landscape atop the Long Range Mountains. Rock ptarmigan and arctic hares are also frequently seen. 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. Return to your inn to freshen up before exploring independent dinner options in Rocky Harbour – a pretty community with gorgeous sunsets! If you would like a less strenuous hiking challenge, there is an option to turn around at the base of the mountain, above the tree line. BL

Same Lodging

5

Western Brook Pond: 6km hike and 2 hour boat tour; Lighthouse Trail at Cow Head 5km.

A transfer north to a coastal lowland walk, across bogs and limestone ridges, takes you to Western Brook Pond fjord, a spectacular freshwater lake hemmed in by 650m high rock walls, where a boat awaits. This fascinating boat tour explores the fjord’s 16km length from which you will see spectacular waterfalls that tumble from the alpine plateau. Afterwards, the Lighhouse Trail in Cow Head is a geologist’s paradise. The 500-million-year-old rocks are world renowned as the only rocks showing the boundary between the Cambrian and the Ordovician Eras. The strange landscape looks out of place, even in Newfoundland and is a great place to explore. You may also come upon evidence of archaeological digs. Over 200 artifacts have been discovered from three sites on the head, representing three groups: the Maritime Archaic, Groswater, and Dorset Eskimo peoples, dating back over 4500 years. This is a beautiful, highly under-rated hike. BLD

Sea Breeze B&B, Cow Head; or Entente Cordiale, Portland Creek

6

Transfer north up to 4 hours; Port au Choix hike: 7km

On your drive north, your first stop is at Port au Choix – the crossroads of 6000 years of human history. The sea’s bounty drew Maritime Archaic Indian, Dorset and Groswater Palaeoeskimo here long before Europeans arrived. Seals on passing ice floes were hunted by the Dorset and used for food, shelter and clothing. This is a fascinating archaeological find amid a rugged coastline of unique limestone barrens, forests, and bays. You can tour ancient burial sites and settlements, and view original artifacts from slate spears to harpoons. After lunch in Port au Choix, you will transfer all the way up the Northern Peninsula to your inn at Gunner’s Cove. BLD

Valhalla Lodge, Gunner’s Cove

7

L'Anse aux Meadows & Quirpon Island

Start early today with 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. Following a picnic lunch, you will transfer to Quirpon for a Zodiac boat trip through iceberg alley. The Zodiac will dock on a private island with fantastic coastal trails, and wide views at your exceptional lighthouse lodging. You may even find ruins of unexcavated Viking sod houses! BLD

Quirpon Island Lighthouse, Quirpon

8

Return to Deer Lake. Optional transfer to Labrador Hike.

Spend an early morning exploring more of Quirpon Island before a 5 ¼ hour van transfer back to Deer Lake arriving by 18:00. There are late afternoon flights from St. Anthony airport to St. John’s, as an oft-preferred alternative to taking the van back to Deer Lake. B

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

SCHEDULED DATES

2023 Guided:

  • Jun 23 – 30
  • Jul 7 – 14
  • Aug 4 – 11
  • Aug 18 – 25

2024 Guided:

  • Jun 28-Jul 5
  • Jul 12-19
  • Jul 26-Aug 2
  • Aug 9-16

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.



PRICING

Guided: C 4995 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, ground transportation, full time guide support, Western Brook Pond boat tour (weather permitting), entrance fees to Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse aux Meadows, Quirpon boat tour, luggage handling, 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-Drive: C 2495 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 6 breakfasts, 15% sales tax. Does not include ground transportation, Western Brook Pond boat tour, entrance fees to Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows and Port aux Choix Historic Sites, or luggage handling.

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: 895


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


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, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. 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.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. If this is not provided by your credit card or elsewhere, please let us know and we can provide recommendations.

BEFORE & AFTER THE TOUR

Getting There:

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.

To Do:

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.

Finish:

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.

More Reading:


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.