Top 11 Adventures in Newfoundland

Views in Gros Morne National Park

Newfoundland is a phenomenal province to visit for outdoor adventures. Not only is the scenery exceptional, especially along the coast and in Gros Morne National Park, but the people are so friendly and welcoming that they are reason enough to go. Over a couple of summers, I have spent almost a month in Newfoundland. Here are what I think are the top 11 outdoor adventures in Newfoundland – not including fishing, whale watching or diving.

And I know there is exciting adventures to do over in Labrador but I haven’t included anything there either.

Location map of the top adventures in Newfoundland


1. Hike or backpack the East Coast Trail – one of the must do adventures in Newfoundland

Running from Cape St. Francis in the north to Cappahayden in the south, the East Coast Trail offers 336 kilometres of rugged coastal scenery via a series of 25 connected paths, each with its own northern and southern trailhead.

Along the length of the East Coast Trail you are treated to fjords, cliffs, headlands and sea stacks. You hike past Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada and with luck, and depending on the time of year, you’ll see icebergs and whales. Lighthouses, ecological reserves, abandoned settlements and wildlife encounters are also in the cards.

You can hike sections individually or you can take 10 – 14 days and hike the whole trail. Join a scheduled day hike led by a member of the East Coast Trail if you’re just visiting St. John’s for a few days.

A flowery section on the East Coast Trail - one of the beautiful adventures in Newfoundland
A flowery section on the East Coast Trail

2. – Hike the Skerwink Trail

Located on the Bonavista Peninsula, the 5.3 km Skerwink Trail follows the north and south coasts of Skerwink Head, a beautiful peninsula separating Port Rexton from Trinity Harbour.

According to John Vivian, the founder of the trail, it offers more scenery per linear foot than any other trail in Newfoundland. It’s best hiked in a clockwise direction so you can take advantage of the views of Trinity Harbour as you hike south from Skerwink Head.

Gorgeous hiking on the Skerwink Trail
Gorgeous hiking on the Skerwink Trail

3. Cycle the Viking Trail

Starting in Deer Lake and finishing in St. Anthony’s near the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, the challenging 600 km Viking Trail takes you by road along the rocky, barren coast through a series of sparsely populated but picturesque fishing villages. This is one of the tougher adventures in Newfoundland!

Allow a week to do it but if you have time, add another two days – for a side trip to Labrador and a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO site. For yet another diversion, take the super scenic boat ride on Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park.

Boat ride on Western Brook Pond
Boat ride on Western Brook Pond

4. Kayak with Icebergs in the Twillingate area

Twillingate is one of the few towns in Newfoundland where iceberg viewing and kayaking come together. The peak viewing time is late June though the number of icebergs varies greatly from year to year.

Hire a guide for a safe experience – and revel in the majesty and the beauty of these behemoths as you approach at eye level. Keep a respectable distance away – either twice the height or the length of the iceberg.

Getting closer to the iceberg than I care to be
Getting closer to the iceberg than I care to be

5. Hike the Coastal Trail in Terra Nova National Park

Although Terra Nova National Park lacks the grandeur of Gros Morne National Park, it does offer the chance to see the Boreal forest where it meets the North Atlantic Ocean. With over 100 km of trails, you can choose from short strolls to an epic 48 km backpacking trip.

But for a taste of ocean and forest, you’d do well to choose the 9 km Coastal Trail. It can be completed in half a day, but you might find yourself lounging on a beach and getting back to the trailhead later than expected.

Hiking the easy Coastal Trail in Terra Nova National Park
Hiking the easy Coastal Trail in Terra Nova National Park

6. Hike to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain

If you only have time for one hike in Gros Morne National Park and you’re fit, then hike to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain. You will be rewarded with stupendous views of Ten Mile Brook Pond, the Long Range Mountains and Bonne Bay.

To reach the summit, you must hike for the better part of four hours, and climb 800 m (2,2625 ft). The return is no picnic either. But for incomparable views and the chance to stand on the second highest peak in Newfoundland at 806 m (2,644 ft), it’s well worth the effort. This is certainly one of the top adventures in Newfoundland if you’re a hiker – especially in the fog.


7. Kayak the fjord of Bonne Bay

Hopping in a kayak and exploring the fjords of Bonne Bay in Gros Morne National Park is another one of the great half day adventures in Newfoundland.

Either rent kayaks and explore on your own if you’ve got the experience or join a guided tour with Gros Morne Adventures. Keep an eye out for minke whales and bald eagles, both of which I saw on one occasion.

Kayaks ready to go at Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park
Kayaks ready to go at Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park

8. Adventures in Newfoundland – Hike the Alexander Murray Trail

Considered one of Newfoundland’s best kept secrets, the Alexander Murray Trail in King’s Point takes you on an 8 km round-trip hike that includes 2,200 stairs and an elevation gain of 335 m (1100 feet). It’s well marked and maintained.

Don’t miss the descent to Corner Brook Gorge and waterfall, especially on a hot day. The summit offers exceptional views of the surrounding area. In fact on a clear day in late June you may even see icebergs in the distance.

My friend Judy thinking enough already with these stairs
My friend Judy thinking enough already with these stairs

9. Backpack the Long Range Traverse

If you’ve ever seen a print ad from Newfoundland Tourism, then there’s a good chance it’s a photo taken at the top of the gorge – and exactly what you’ll see on the first day of the Long Range Traverse.

This challenging backpacking trip – that requires a orientation session so you know what you’re getting into, takes you 3 – 5 days. In that time hike through world-class scenery that includes phenomenal views of fjords, a disorienting landscape of tuckamore (impenetrable small trees), numerous rock covered plateaus, rolling hills that are too numerous to count, and plenty of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. You’ll probably see moose, caribou, and perhaps even a black bear.

It’s one of the real adventures in Newfoundland, especially for the navigationally challenged.

At the top of the Long Range Traverse
At the top of the Long Range Traverse – one of the true adventures in Newfoundland 

10. Kayak in Witless Bay

Kayak around the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve where you can experience the rugged coastline of Newfoundland complete with puffins, whales and even icebergs in season.

Look for puffins in Witless Bay - one of 10 adventures in Newfoundland
Look for puffins in Witless Bay – Photo credit: Karen Arnold from Pixabay

11. Hike the Brimstone Head Trail, Fogo Island – one of the off-the-beaten track adventures in Newfoundland

It’s worth a trip to Fogo Island for a lot of reasons – with rocky hiking just one of them. Don’t miss the hike to Brimstone Head – one of the four corners of the world according to the Flat Earth Society.

It’s short and sweet but the views are terrific and it’s easy to combine it with other loop trails in the area. Another excellent choice is the 8.5 km Turpin’s Trail in Tilting that takes you by the first ground radar station in North America. Don’t forget your rain gear.

Hiking to the edge of the Flat Earth, Fogo Island - one of the easy adventures in Newfoundland
Hiking to the edge of the Flat Earth, Fogo Island and one of the easy adventures in Newfoundland

There are many more hiking opportunities around Newfoundland, particularly in the Corner Brook area from what I’ve heard though I’ve yet to visit. If I owned my own kayak I’d grab some charts and head off to explore some of the protected waters near Twillingate where I think there’s some magical kayaking waiting to be discovered.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

10 exceptional outdoor adventures in Newfoundland

  1. Hello! Guys, great article, and the pictures are fascinating!
    Tell me please, is it possible to get there by car?
    I flew to Toronto, but to be honest, the cities are not particularly impressive and interesting for me. I want to enjoy the beauty of Canadian nature.

    I am in Canada for the first time and no friends

  2. I absolutely love all of these!. One question though, I’m planning on traveling solo to the Canadian east coast, including New Foundland and Nova Scotia in the summer. Do you have any suggestions of travel companies that specialize / guide local hiking and kayaking trips?

    1. @Narine You can join an East Coast Trail hike on the weekend by contacting them and signing a waiver. They arrange car pools from St. John’s. I’m not much good on the kayaking end of things.

  3. I wouldn’t be able to pick just one:) I really want to kayak with icebergs but I’d need to do at least one hike too! Newfoundland is #1 wish list for Frank- I’m hoping to make the trip happen in 2018. Thank you for the must see list!

    1. @Cathy The kayaking was certainly a highlight and the hiking in the Twillingate area is also fantastic. But I REALLY recommend at least one day hike on the East Coast Trail. I did two days and both were superb. The Sugarloaf Path and the Sprurwink Island Path were the two I did.

  4. Don’t forget the South Coast! This area offers a unique coastal, rural NL tourism experience. Lots of sightseeing, walking trails. Scenery is spectacular! The fiords are absolutely amazing. Call us at The Southern Port Hotel in Harbour Breton and we’ll recommend a tour that takes you along the coast with lots to do and see. 709-885-2283.

  5. We are sailing around Newfoundland and have made a number of these hikes…it’s a fabulous place for outdoor activities!

  6. @Lee I know that there is a huge group that loves snowmobiling but it’s really not my thing so it’s not something I blog about. Bit I’ll leave the links in there in case some of my readers are interested.

    1. Thanks,
      Snowmobiling is not for everyone, and definitely requires a bit more investment in terms of time and money. But touring in the winter time, especially in Labrador, is the best adventure you can have, in my opinion.

  7. Thanks. As a Newfoundlander it was fabulous to see how many of these top ten’s I’ve done. This summer I am walking the T’railway across the island of Newfoundland, a first for a woman I think. It is 883km through some beautiful terrain,rivers and mountain ranges. It passes through over 40 communities. A friend of mine (the slow biker) recently did the trail on fat tires…what a trip…so much to do here outside!!

  8. The Egdar Baird trail along Gander Lake in Central NL is quite good. It’s about 7km round trip and hugs the rugged shores of the 26 mile long Gander Lake which is one of the deepest lakes in North America! There are spots to get down on the rocky shores of the lake and the view is beautiful.

  9. These are all great. But for a simpler time I like strolling along the beach at the end of Chaytor’s Road in Chamberlains to the bottom of the Manuel’s river trail then walking up the trail for a pleasant dip in the pockets of water in the falls below the bridge and then continue on up the river as far as you can. Then simply return with some sunning on the rocks of the falls and a bon fire on the beach.

  10. The Green Gardens hike is amazing. I have done most of the hikes in Gros Morne and Green Gardens is definitely my favourite! It’s a bit of a challenging hike (9-16km I think depending which entrance you start from) and has the most breathtaking views! It’s located in the tableands in Gros Morne National Park. I would definitely add it to your list!

    1. Definitely agree with you about Green Gardens. I live in the park and think it is the best one, too….

  11. Thanks, those are some great tips. I hope to visit Newfoundland next summer and each of your ten suggestions looks great.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop