Rocks covered in green moss and tall cliffs along the coast of Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland

Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

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Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park was a huge part of our interest in visiting the Canadian province of Newfoundland. We had heard stories of its beautiful scenery, untouched mountains, and magnificent hiking trails. We had to experience it for ourselves. An opportunity came up for us to head to Newfoundland to witness the annual iceberg season, so it was with excitement that we booked some time in spectacular Gros Morne National Park to see these views for ourselves.

Gros Morne National Park

Gros Morne National Park is a part of the Long Range mountains, which are an extension of the Appalachians. The park is on the western coast of the island of Newfoundland. Gros Morne features an impressive and wild landscape. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Gros Morne National Park is full of incredible beauty, closet fishing villages, and incredible wildlife. Gros Morne, the mountain of its namesake is the second highest point in Newfoundland at 806 metres (2,644 ft).

Gros Morne National Park has an abundance of wildlife including moose, caribou, black bears, red foxes, Arctic foxes, snowshoe hares, red squirrels, lynxes, river otters, and beaver. Also, harbour seals are commonly found in St. Paul’s inlet. Often, whales can be spotted on the coastal trails too. These may include pilot, minke, humpback, and fin whales.

Two caribou graze on the side of the road in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Hiking Gros Morne National Park

The trails in Gross Morne are a hikers paradise. The park has trails for all skill levels including coastal and interior trails. The landscapes vary extensively from trail to trail so you’ll never get bored! Some of the best hikes in Gros Morne include:

A woman and a toddler hold hands in large red muskoka chairs while watching the sunset at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

Green Garden Trail Viewpoint

  • Green Gardens
    • Green Gardens has two options, a short (9 km return) and a long (15 km loop).
  • Tablelands (4 km return)
    • Tablelands marks one of the only places in the world where you can walk on the Earth’s mantle.
  • Lookout (5 km return)
    • Offers one of the best panoramic vistas in the park.
  • Gros Morne Mountain (James Callaghan) Trail (16 km return)
    • This hike will take you up and over Gros Morne mountain. It features breathtaking views of the Long Range mountains and Ten Mile Pond gorge. (This trail is closed between May and June due to dangerous conditions.)
  • Lobster Cove Head (2 km return)
    • An easy hike starting and ending near the picturesque Lobster Cove Lighthouse. Lobster Cove Head trail offers great views of the tidal pools at low tide and the light keeper’s house is open to visitors from mid-May to mid-October
  • Western Brook Pond (6 km return or 1.8 km scenic loop)
    • The Western Brook Pond loop follows a picturesque boardwalk over the lowlands and bogs of Gros Morne with the scenic backdrop of the Long Range mountains. At the end of the boardwalk is where you can board the boat for the Western Brook Pond boat tour that brings you through Western Brook Gorge to Pissing Mare Falls.
  • Snug Harbour Trail (9 km return)
    • This hike brings you to the base of the cliffs at Western Brook Pond and at it’s peak features a small beach that’s perfect for a picnic or camping.

A gnarled log lies in a pond with a spectacular cliff backdrop in the distance

Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park with Kids

Newfoundland had been a bucket list item for my mom, and when we asked her to join us on the trip, she didn’t miss a beat in saying yes. In retrospect, we started our hike to the Green Gardens too late in the day. We were thwarted by an errand and a stop at a food truck that took 2 hours to serve up a few hot dogs. Apparently, we visited the town of Bonne Bay during a town festival and completely underestimated the popularity of the event. We arrived at the Green Gardens hike, just past the Tablelands at about 4:30 and began making our way across the rock-strewn grasslands on a path that snaked along towards the mountain peaks.

 

Boy Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park at Sunset

Rocky Ground – Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

The initial walk across the plains was pretty easy for the adults but tough on D. His little legs had a hard time scrambling over all the rocks strewn along the path. He’s such a determined little guy that it took a while to convince him to let me carry him until we reached the top of the first lookout.

A father smile at the camera while giving a piggy back to a toddler on a hike through Gros Morne National Park - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

We exited the plains through a dried up creek bed and into some trees where we arrived at the first lookout. It’s marked by a pile of rocks that hikers add to when they do the hike. We stopped for a quick snack and continued on to the second overlook. This is where the path divides between the long 15 km loop and the shorter 9 km return. There is a fantastic view of the long range mountains and a small lake that runs the length of the valley below. I brought out my drone excited to get some great aerial shots, only to realize I forgot my propellers back in the car. Doh!

From here, the hike rolled up and downhill with stairs on some of the hills put in place to stop erosion. We wandered through low-lying forests and up onto some incredible stone lookouts. Finally, we began our descent through a coastal forest and some waterfalls to the amazing lookout over the Green Gardens.

One of the Best Views Around – Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

The cliff at Green Gardens has a pair of Gros Morne’s signature red Muskoka chairs. They’re located perfectly for a photo overlooking the volcanic stacks on the rocky beach below.

two red muskoka chairs sit on green grass on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Gros Morne National Park - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

We climbed down some rickety steps and hiked about a half a kilometre to the left of the stairs. We found a stream with a beautiful tree shaded waterfall and a stream leading out into the ocean. The stream was a perfect place for the kids to toss rocks and splash in the clear waters.

A waterfall pours from the forest and into a rocky stream in Gros Morne National Park - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

The volcanic stacks make for an epic view at sunset.

Volcanic stacks and rocks covered in green moss line the coast of Newfoundland with a spectacular sunset as a backdrop - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

The Long Trek Back – Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

With the sun beginning to set, we knew that we needed to get back to the car as quickly as we could. Our day started late and now we were concerned we would lose the sun before our hike was over. My Mom found her strength beginning to fade, and D, exhausted, agreed to let me give him a shoulder ride, where he promptly fell asleep for the entire 4.5 km hike back (At this point I really wish we had brought our Kid-Carrier!)

Purples, reds and blues light up the sky in a beautiful sunset over the forests of Gros Morne National Park - Hiking Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park

To no surprise, we soon lost the sun and were hiking back in the pitch black. We had definitely underestimated the hike and our ability to complete it quickly. It was nearly midnight before my constant key fob clicking finally graced us with the view of the headlights of our rental. We did not bring flashlights. So, we navigated the last stretch of rock-strewn land by the light of our cell phones.

We kept up our fading spirits by singing rounds of kids songs, they helped to give us some much-needed energy for our last stretch. C made it almost the entire hike before being carried by Christina and promptly falling asleep with about half a kilometre to go. We packed the snoring tots into the van, got everyone settled and began the hour-long drive to Rocky Harbour so we could sleep for a few hours before heading to Western Brook Pond.

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We can’t wait to get back to Newfoundland and Gros Morne National Park. We hope to experience the Tablelands and experience more of the incredible scenery that this Canadian treasure has to offer!

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Kevin Wagar

Kevin Wagar is a creative designer and technology expert living in the Greater Toronto Area. His beautiful wife Christina impressed on him her love of travel and they have made exploring the world an integral part of their life.
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.
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97 Comments

  1. The colours and some of those rock structures are absolutely amazing! I can just imagine sitting in those two pink chairs watching the sunset. So jealous!

  2. I feel like the flashlight is *always* something I overlook! I too had to complete a hike in the dark (because the trail lights just never came on) sans flashlight/cell phone. And I love the boogers commentary in the video, makes it so very authentic lol

  3. Hahha I love the red chairs there! I would imagine you wouldn’t get too much time in the chairs to enjoy the view as many people will probably also be around trying to take pictures. I am adding this hike to my bucket list. I recently hiked two separate parts of theAppalachian Trail in the US and although they were nice, they did not have such a beautiful view.

  4. Great information and really stunning images. I also appreciate that you took the little one. Now that are 19 month old is all over the place, we’re getting a bit more out there with our adventures. Great post.

  5. It looks so stunning! Every post of yours that I read about Newfoundland makes me want to book at trip right now, I can’t wait to visit! Great tips for hiking with the kids too. Thanks!

  6. I love hearing about National Parks I’ve never been to! This looks and sounds awesome. We may be in Newfoundland in the spring, so will definitely add this to our itinerary if so!

  7. Some beautiful photos here, that really complement the experience.

    I can’t wait to return to Canada and hit some of the east coast now!

  8. Omg, you tease us so with these beautiful photos that just make you feel like running out to see them for yourself, and then all of a sudden I realize it requires “hiking”. Darn you! LOL I may need to start moving a bit more to see greatness like this! 😉

  9. This place sounds amazing and the photos are beautiful! I know how easy it is to underestimate hikes, so I feel for you having to hike in the pitch black. Kudos to you all for keeping your spirits up! Do you know if there are guides that will take you on longer hikes or on camping trips? Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. There are guides available, although from what I’ve seen, they would need to be booked well in advance. Many of the hikes can easily be done by both experienced and inexperienced hikers. The park has several longer hiking routes including one that leads over Gros Morne Mountain to the lookout over Western Brook Pond

    1. It is certainly a long one. Our 5-year-old handled it very well. He loved scrambling over the large rocks and exploring the stream. I think what did him in in the end was just how late it was 🙂

  10. Beautiful! I want to visit for Iceberg season, too! I adore Western and interior Canada, but have not made it over to the East side, yet. Looks like a great spot for hiking and exploring!

  11. Looks amazing Big Kev another outstanding adventure for Wagars. Those red chairs really stand out and what a view from them. What an adventure cell phone hiking you might start a whole new fad their pal.

  12. What a beautiful place to hike! It seems so unspoiled. I’d love to try spotting an arctic fox, though I think my chances would be pretty unlikely…Thanks for introducing me to a new place!

  13. OMG these images are absolutely stunning! I love that cliffside view with the chairs! You should sell that one 🙂 you guys keep reminding me that Newfoundland should be on my bucket list, too!

  14. Love the video! I had no idea the variety of hikes available in Gros Morne, or that they were doable with kids but it looks like great fun 🙂 Your photos look like scenes from a movie.

  15. Have added this to my list while in Newfoundland! Looks and sounds beautiful. Love the photo of your child hiking upward with the hiking poles. Such a wonderful place to create memories with your family.

  16. Wow looks like you left for a hike and got back to the car with an adventure story of note! Cant believe you navigated back with a cellphone light and the little guy and your mom! WOW! The smile on your mom’s face at least looks like she had fun! I must just add that your pictures are awesome and I loved reading this post!

  17. Your photos are so beautiful!! Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that you started your hike later in the day because you got to catch a bit of the sunset (:

  18. Epic landcape photos. I would love to go to Canada to trek at Gros Morne Nat Park someday. And awesome video I must say! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  19. The small uncrowded places of the World are the Best. This is a little Gem. I never though about it much but I certainly didn’t know that you could find Volcanic Stone in Newfoundland. One day I must explore this part of Canada more.

  20. Such an adventurous family – the shot of your kid with the walking sticks is adorable 🙂 Very cool! I love the rugged look and remoteness of Green Gardens. Wish I could see it myself someday!

  21. Though I’m not a hiking-person, I would love my (future) kids to enjoy it – a good patience and leg exercise for them 😀

  22. I think it’s great that you’re doing this together as a family, grandparent included! The photos heavily remind me of those beautiful wallpapers for desktop computers, they seem out of the ordinary. Oh and the viewpoint with the pink chairs is simply wonderful.

  23. I am looking forward to the day I get to see Canada and see all these wonderful places with my own eyes! Love that the hike was done as a family too

  24. Ahhh…..beautiful Newfoundland, my favourite province in Canada, and why? It’s the people, they are JUST so friendly and make you feel at home straight away. The scenery is also stunning and I was lucky enough to enjoy some of the best food I’ve eaten in the whole of Canada there too, at Raymonds and CinCin. I LOVED this post, it made me feel very homesick for NFL! Karen

  25. Wow! This feels like an amazing experience, especially with kids! It’s kinda of unique for them to be able to hike in such a beautiful place. I adore hiking, and when I’m visiting a place, it’s the first thing I’d like to do because there ain’t no better way to discover a place, and also get a good workout!

  26. I love hiking and I’ve been doing so quite often during the part few years, but I must admit I’ve never hiked on a trail with such gorgeous landscapes as this one. I feel totally overwhelmed by the beauty of the view from the Green Garden, it’s breathtaking!
    It really looks like your family and you had a great time and I’m happy to hear you managed to keep up your spirits even when the sun went down and you were having a hard time hiking. 🙂
    Unfortunately I won’t be able to visit Canada soon, but I will definitely keep this place in mind.

  27. What a lovely and adventurous experience. You experienced some amazing moments, loved the sunset. Your experience in the dark reminded me of a similar one we had a couple of years when we hiked down from a mountain in pitch darkness with the help of our cell phone lights.

  28. The photos are as always very beautiful, showing with understated elegance the beauty of the place. Your mom is a trooper, going on a hike like this. It must have made you very happy to have her there with your family.

  29. Awesome post! The pictures are beautiful, and the video is really great. I don’t live close by, but it definitely gives me wanderlust to head up to that area. I would love to see all of that nature 🙂

  30. Amazing captures of the Volcanic Stacks. We are completely in awe of the view at the cliff at Green Gardens. Sitting on that pair of red chairs taking in those incredible views is surreal.

  31. The national park looks gorgeous! Good on D for trying the hike 🙂 I had no idea that there were red squirrels in Canada. They’re a native species here in Ireland but are being outnumbered by the grey squirrel unfortunately.

  32. I like hikes. Looks like a ton of fun was had. Love the photos I would love to sit in one of those chairs and just relax and enjoy the view.

  33. If I get to Canada and have the opportunity to visit this Park, your great post has made me definitely want to do it. I love the fact there’s so much variety of landscape and wildlife. June 🙂

  34. Wow. As much as I adore all the greens out there, I find myself wanting to take an adventure hike among those Rocky Grounds or maybe it just reminds me of some ancient site trips that I had. About that point where you thought of using a kid carrier, do you have any suggestions as to what to use?

  35. Wow, what gorgeous photos, especially of the sunset. Newfoundland really is amazingly beautiful. And I’m impressed that you went with your son and that he did such a good job hiking. I’m not sure I would have been able to at his age!

  36. Wow, Gros Morne National Park It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage. I want to see wildlife that is there. but I’m afraid of the black bear. maybe a black bear will eat me

  37. Your kids are having such an amazing childhood experiencing all these different places, hiking and exploring around the world. I love your photos too, especially the one with the chairs!

  38. looks like a gorgeous hike, but oof hiking in the dark sounds like my nightmare. Thank goodness for cellphones though. I can’t even remember life before flashlight apps – they are such lifesavers. Sounds like you guys handled it well though and kept your cool 🙂 I don’t think I would have haha.

  39. Look at those cute kids with their own mini sized walking poles. LOL They are so adorable. The Tablelands sound very interesting. I love that you described it as one of the only places to walk the Earth’s mantle. That sounds so cool. 😉

  40. The view from the cliff garden is soo beautiful, its heaven on earth. I was amazed to discover this green part of Canada. I thought what they have is pure snowy mountains:)

  41. Funny story! I have been caught on trail too many times in the dark- I always have a headlamp now;) Sometimes those trails that don’t seem too big are time consuming. I’d be on that trail a long time taking photos! Frank will be excited to see this beauty of NewFoundland, it is still #1 on his list!

  42. Newfoundland is always full of surprises. I just love our National Parks. I love hearing and reading fellow bloggers enjoying Canada and what we have to offer. Your posts always make me want to go home that much sooner to take a look at what I’ve been missing all this time lol. My mother would be proud of you.

  43. I didn’t know that you could walk on the Earth’s mantle! that alone is worth going to the park for. I love that many of the hikes are short – so much easier with kids if you can do shorter hikes and they can dawdle if they want without fear of having them get too tired before the end.

  44. This is such a beautiful place. For a hiking/trekking lover like me, the landscape is jut perfect. I can imagine myself being in peace and solitude there 🙂

  45. I have not made it all the way north to Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, but it is definitely one of those places on my list. Your photos make it look almost other-worldly. Glad you made it back to your rental without getting hurt in the darkness. Whew! Still it sounds like you all had a fun time there.

  46. Interesting read, but I feel that your undertaking of the hike so late in the day, after prioritizing hot dogs over a timely start, was irresponsible and foolhardy. It could have ended in tragedy – you were lucky. I would title your tale “How NOT to hike the Green Gardens”.

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