Gros Morne Overview

Gros Morne National Park, located on the west coast of Newfoundland, Canada, is a stunning showcase of natural beauty and geological diversity. Spanning an area of approximately 1,805 square kilometers (about 697 square miles), the park was established in 1973 and later designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its exceptional geological features and the insight it provides into the process of continental drift. Gros Morne’s dramatic landscape encompasses towering cliffs, deep inland fjords, and the striking Tablelands, a barren, orange landscape of exposed earth’s mantle, offering a rare glimpse of the earth’s interior.

The park’s name, Gros Morne, is French for “large mountain standing alone,” a fitting description for the park’s highest peak, Gros Morne Mountain, which reaches 806 meters (2,644 feet) and is a popular destination for hikers seeking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. This diverse terrain supports a rich variety of ecosystems, from coastal lowland to alpine tundra, home to an array of wildlife including moose, caribou, and black bears, along with numerous bird species.

Gros Morne National Park is not only a paradise for geologists but also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking on its extensive trail network, kayaking and boat tours on its fjords, and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months. The Western Brook Pond, a landlocked fjord with towering 600-meter (nearly 2,000 feet) cliff walls, is one of the park’s most iconic attractions, accessible through a scenic boat tour that provides an unforgettable experience of the park’s majestic beauty.

Gros Morne National Park serves as a testament to the power of natural forces in shaping our planet. Its unique geological formations, combined with its stunning landscapes and biodiversity, make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers, adventurers, and anyone seeking to explore the natural wonders of Canada’s Atlantic coast.

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Gros Morne National Park Highlights


Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, captivates visitors with its dramatic landscapes and diverse wildlife, showcasing species adapted to life in its unique environments, from coastal shores to forested valleys and rugged mountains.

Moose – Introduced to Newfoundland in the early 20th century, Moose are now commonly seen throughout Gros Morne, browsing the park’s forests and wetlands.

Caribou – The park provides a refuge for the threatened Woodland Caribou, majestic animals that roam its barrens and wooded areas, a vital part of the local ecosystem.

Black Bear – Solitary and omnivorous, Black Bears inhabit the park’s dense forests, foraging for berries, nuts, and occasionally seen by visitors on the trails.

Arctic Hare – Well adapted to the harsh climate, Arctic Hares, with their white winter coats, are spotted in the park’s more barren, rocky areas, especially in winter.

Red Fox – Cunning and adaptable, Red Foxes are a colorful sight within the park, easily identified by their reddish fur and bushy tails, active at dusk and dawn.

Snowshoe Hare – Known for their large feet and seasonal color change, Snowshoe Hares are a common sight, blending into the park’s snowy landscapes in winter.

Minke Whale – Visitors to the coastal areas of Gros Morne may spot Minke Whales, the smallest of the baleen whales, feeding in the rich waters off the coast.

Atlantic Puffin – Though more commonly seen on the islands off Newfoundland, Atlantic Puffins can sometimes be spotted from Gros Morne’s coastal cliffs during breeding season.

Bald Eagle – A symbol of power and freedom, Bald Eagles are often seen soaring above Gros Morne’s dramatic landscapes, a breathtaking sight for park visitors.

River Otter – Playful and aquatic, River Otters are seen in the park’s freshwater systems, their sleek bodies adapted perfectly for a life of swimming and diving.

The wildlife of Gros Morne National Park, from the stately Moose to the playful River Otter, offers visitors a glimpse into the rich tapestry of life that thrives in one of Canada’s most stunning natural settings.

Gros Morne National Park Pictures

Engaging Gros Morne

Gros Morne National Park offers an extensive network of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. Explore the dramatic landscapes of the Tablelands, traverse lush forests, and summit towering peaks for breathtaking panoramic views.

Highlights include the Gros Morne Mountain Trail, a challenging ascent to the park’s second-highest peak, and the scenic Green Gardens Trail, which leads to picturesque coastal cliffs and sea caves. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, hiking is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the park’s stunning natural beauty.

Explore Gros Morne National Park’s stunning landscapes from the comfort of your car on one of its scenic drives. Take the Western Brook Pond Boat Tour offers a guided boat excursion through the park’s spectacular freshwater fjord, surrounded by towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

Alternatively, drive along the coastal Route 430, known as the Viking Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the park’s rugged coastline, picturesque fishing villages, and ancient geological formations. Scenic drives provide a convenient way to experience Gros Morne’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes at your own pace.

Embark on a boat tour of Gros Morne’s stunning fjords and coastline for a unique perspective of the park’s rugged landscapes. Cruise past towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and ancient rock formations as knowledgeable guides provide insights into the area’s geology, wildlife, and cultural history.

Keep an eye out for marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, and seabirds, which frequent these rich waters. Boat tours offer a relaxing and informative way to experience Gros Morne’s breathtaking scenery while learning about the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

Gros Morne National Park Trails

Gros Morne Mountain Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 10 miles (16 km) round trip with about 2,500 feet (762 meters) elevation gain

Description: This challenging hike leads to the top of Gros Morne Mountain, the park’s second-highest peak, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape. The trail includes a steep ascent up a rocky gully. Hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of Ten Mile Pond fjord and the alpine plateau. It’s a must-do for experienced hikers seeking adventure.

Green Gardens Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 9 miles (14.5 km) round trip with about 1,000 feet (305 meters) elevation gain

Description: The Green Gardens Trail showcases Gros Morne’s diverse landscapes, leading hikers from coastal meadows to volcanic cliffs and down to a beautiful beach. Along the way, you’ll encounter spectacular sea stacks, lush vegetation, and possibly grazing sheep. The trail offers a mix of scenic views and the chance to explore the park’s unique geology up close.

Western Brook Pond Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles (9.6 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This easy, flat trail leads to a boat tour on Western Brook Pond, a landlocked fjord with towering cliffs and waterfalls. The trail itself offers stunning views of the pond and the Long Range Mountains. It’s an accessible hike for all ages and skill levels, providing a glimpse into the park’s glacial history.

Tablelands Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: Walk on the Earth’s mantle at the Tablelands, a unique geological wonder of exposed peridotite rock that usually lies deep beneath the Earth’s crust.

This easy trail offers interpretive panels explaining the area’s geology. The barren, orange landscape is strikingly different from the rest of the park, offering a lunar-like hiking experience.

Lookout Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (5 km) round trip with about 1,200 feet (366 meters) elevation gain

Description: The Lookout Trail provides one of the best views in Gros Morne National Park, offering a panoramic vista of Bonne Bay, the Tablelands, and Gros Morne Mountain.

The trail is steep in sections but well-maintained, leading to a lookout platform at the top. It’s especially beautiful at sunset when the landscape is bathed in golden light.


1. What is Gros Morne National Park known for?

Gros Morne National Park, located in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and unique geological features.

It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptional examples of plate tectonics and glaciation. The park is characterized by towering cliffs, fjords, rugged coastline, and ancient mountains.

One of its most iconic features is the Tablelands, a striking landscape of exposed mantle rock that resembles the surface of Mars.

Gros Morne is also known for its diverse ecosystems, including boreal forests, tundra, and freshwater fjords, which support a wide variety of wildlife, including moose, black bears, and rare bird species.

Additionally, the park offers excellent hiking opportunities, with trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks, allowing visitors to explore its breathtaking scenery up close.

  • All Trails, Best Trails in Gros Morne National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Gros Morne National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
  • Newfoundland Labrador, Gros Morne National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Parks Canada, Gros Morne National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Gros Morne National Park,, retrieved April 2024.