Several months ago, 2 friends and I took a road trip from New York City all the way up to Gros Morne National Park, with no prep work or idea of what we’d find.
The trip was very impromptu and we only had 6-7 days to do everything we wanted to do.
- It took us one day to reach Maine.
- Another day to reach the end of Nova Scotia in the eastern most part of it.
- And finally, on day 3, we landed in New Foundland, which took us to the park itself.
- Then on day 4, we left back to Nova Scotia.
- The next day, we explored more of Nova Scotia.
- The day after, we headed back to the States and then visited many other beautiful spots there.
- On the last official day, we ended the trip on in Boston, where both my friends flew off, and I returned to NYC the day after.
- If you want to see the details, I’ve provided a whole article documenting this east coast road trip here.
The trip was crazy, VERY fast paced and in the span of 7 days, we traveled over 4,000 miles and saw plenty of beautiful spots. However…
Here are 10 things we saw and learned about Gros Morne National Park that you need to know before you go:
Trust me when I say, that if you read these things, you will enjoy your trip there even more than we did (and avoid the annoying negative things we experienced too).
1) The road trip isn’t a big deal, but the ferry ride is annoying.
If you wish to get to New Foundland from the south (where we came from), you need to take a Ferry from a place called North Sydney and register your car and your group in advance. We did and the RIGHT move was registering for a night ferry since we would get to New Foundland in the morning and not waste anytime continuing our trip.
However, the ferry ride itself is about 7-8 hours, and unless you register a cabin, you’re likely not going to have a very pleasant experience. On the boat ride there, we slept in seats and on the carpet floor. The heater was also turned on very high so it wasn’t very pleasant, not to mention all the snoring for all those hours.
The food wasn’t that good either, and overall, it’s an experience I do not wish to repeat (but we had to on our way back so we could get home).
Trust me, register a cabin on the ferry if you go and you may have a better experience than we did.
And on the ferry ride BACK, it was even worse, there was basically no heater and we were all freezing for hours before we finally got back.
2) Fly in, it’s more convenient.
We didn’t know that New Foundland had an airport (St. Johns), but it does exist and it’s located on the eastern most part of the province. Use that.
3) There are only 2 roads which lead to Gros Morne National Park.
The road from the south where we came in from and the road from the east from where the airport is so you really can’t get lost there. The road to this park will take you through some small and relatively large towns, some of which are inside the park such as Norris Point and that place has a bunch of accommodations from hotels to restaurants.
4) It isn’t just the mountains and trails you want to see…
We also very much enjoyed the coast area in this spot, because it had beautiful beaches and incredible sunsets. Here’s one from Rocky Harbor, near Norris Point:
And if you like sunsets, check out my Pinterest channel where I have a whole board on them.
5) Go to Western Brook Pond.
The truth is, most people visit this place for a specific location called Western Brook Pond (it’s the most famous). It is a gorge that has gigantic mountains and a boat ride you can take in between that gorge as well as see plenty of waterfalls from these mountains as well as a scenic view that is the most advertised location in this area.
Here are beautiful photos of Western Brook Pond we took while we were there.
6) Gros Morne has a “dessert” called Tablelands.
A huge chunk of this park (the southern part) is apparently made up of post volcanic landscapes and hardly has any life there, so this section of the park literally looks like a dessert with mountains and trails there too, and right next to it, is the other section which is the green area:
7) The large cove section of the park is worth checking out for the high tide experience.
Something I didn’t see talked about when I was looking into this park was the high tide experience. Basically a large section of it fills up with water whenever the high tide comes in and it looks amazing. Unfortunately it’s something we missed, BUT it was pretty obvious to see how amazing it could look.
There’s even hotels in these spots where you can see this happening up close.
I’ve included a link to the map, but you can see the specific sections below. We were even told whales swim in these areas:
8) Are there northern lights at Gros Morne? Yes, but seasonally and rarely.
Our trip took place in early September, and there are images on Google which show that Gros Morne does have northern lights. My friends and I even considered camping out on the beach if we would see the lights. Sadly, we weren’t there at the right season and if you really want to have a strong chance of seeing these lights in this province, head further north to St. Anthony.
That town is said to have good chances of seeing them, but it is 400 km away from the park, so plan wisely. Otherwise, you can see the lights within the park, but it has to be during wintertime.
If you have the option and love mountains and want to see the Northern lights, there are 2 options:
Iceland, which I will visit and document one day.
And the Canadian Rockies, where places like Jasper and Banff have them after Sepember.
9) There are many moose in this area.
I’ve never seen so many warning signs for them until I hit this area. If I were you, I’d only travel during the day and keep your eyes open anyway.
10) Visit Trout River!
One of the last locations my buddies and I visited before leaving the park was Trout River, a cove like location similar to Rocky Harbor and it is located south west of Tablelands. It’s officially not part of Gros Morne, but the landscape is amazing and worth the visit. Basically the cove itself is a beach with large cliffs, wild sheep and great restaurants:
Overall, would I recommend this place to you?
Yes. It’s an amazing location and considering we literally only spent 1-2 days there, we didn’t get a chance to explore it as much as we wanted, but the lessons we learned and from what we saw, we really did enjoy the experience.
I would say there’s better parks I’ve been to and recently, taking a trip to the west coast of the U.S, it really made me wonder if I had a choice to revisit that spot or Newfoundland, the answer would easily be the west coast.
Gros Morne National Park as of now is a one time visit for me and this is mainly due to the logistics of reaching it and I prefer to see other places in Canada, such as it’s western area, which I think are FAR more beautiful!