Have you been hiking in Gros Morne National Park? It’s pretty hard to beat everything Gros Morne has to offer! Where the ocean meets the mountains, the fjords, hills, and coastaline are sights to behold. If you’re looking for a moderate day trip, check out Green Gardens Trail and find some of the best views in the park.
On my first-ever trip to Newfoundland this summer, I packed in as many hikes and outdoor adventures as I possibly could. Exploring Gros Morne National Park was definitely part of my itinerary. And Green Gardens Trail had to make the list as one of the most popular hikes in the area. Overall, I’m glad to have experienced the Green Gardens hike. Many others will enjoy this one, too!
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About Green Gardens Trail
Location: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
Distance: 9.5 km out and back
Elevation: 360 m elevation gain
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Dog-friendly: Dogs must be on a leash.
Features: Green Gardens Trail is a well-maintained and popular hike in Gros Morne National Park. The trail descends down to the coastline and continues along impressive cliffs and green meadows to Steves Cove. You may catch a glimpse of sheep grazing. The beach is possible to access via stairs, too.
Finding the Trailhead
The Green Gardens Trailhead is easy to find. From Rocky Harbour, drive south on Highway 430 (The Viking Trail) for about 37 km. Then turn right onto Highway 431 (Bonne Bay Rd). Continue west for about 33 km and then take a sharp left to stay on Bonne Bay Rd. If you reach the town of Woody Point, you’ve gone too far. Continue on Bonne Bay Rd for about 12.5 km and find the Green Gardens Trail parking lot on your right hand side. You’ll see signage and a paved parking area at the trailhead. There’s an outhouse toilet here, too.
Read more: 4-Day Long Range Traverse Hike in Gros Morne National Park
Green Gardens Hike
A highly-maintained trail, Green Gardens is one of the most popular hikes in Gros Morne National Park. For the first kilometre, you’ll hike a gentle grade similar to the Tablelands. After that, the trail turns into a series of switchbacks leading down to the coast for about 2 km. Be prepared for some fairly steep sections (and remember, what goes down must come up). You’ll probably hear the waterfall on your left before reaching Old Man Cove.
Along the coastline, you can hike from Old Man Cove to Steves Cove. You may encounter sheep grazing on the long grass, owned by locals in Trout River. The volcanic rock creates an impressive landscape, and you can head down to the beach via a staircase. At low tide, it’s possible to hike over to the waterfall (though I didn’t do this). On the trail, you’ll pass a backcountry campground (with an outhouse toilet), Parks Canada’s iconic red chairs, and a couple of information signs. These coastal views are quite something!
Give yourself a couple of hours to get from Steves Cove back up to the trailhead. Enjoy Green Gardens Trail in about 3 to 4 hours and hike 9.5 km out and back. I took about 3 hours with some breaks for photos. If you plan to explore the beach, you may want to budget some extra time.
Note: The section of the Green Gardens Trail from Steves Cove to Wallace Brook has been closed since 2017. Parks Canada closed this section due to concerns related to visitor safety.
Green Gardens Backcountry Camping
Looking for a beginner backpacking trip? Green Gardens Trail has three tent platforms, an outhouse toilet, bear-proof food locker, and several picnic tables located at Old Man Cove. For novice multi-day hikers, Green Gardens offers an easier option compared to some of the other backcountry camping possibilities in Gros Morne National Park. Personally, I’d choose this one just to sleep by the ocean!
If you’re interested in camping in Gros Morne, contact Parks Canada to book your site at 709-458-2417 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: Fishing Cove Backcountry: One of the Best Cape Breton Campgrounds
Know Before You Go
Trail Closure: As of 2017, Green Gardens Trail ends at Steves Cove and is completed as an out and back. Parks Canada has officially closed the trail from Steves Cove to Wallace Brook due to safety concerns for hikers. If you hike the closed section, you do so at your own risk.
Parking: Green Gardens has an established parking area. Check out Google Maps for directions.
Toilet: You’ll find an outhouse in the parking lot and another at Old Man Cove.
Hiking Essentials: I highly suggest carrying a day pack (like this one) with hiking essentials. Bring water with you (I use this bladder bag), rain gear (I use this jacket), some snacks, and more. Read about the 10 hiking essentials before you go.
Dogs: You can bring your four-legged friend along, but dogs must be kept on-leash.
Bikes: Bicycles are not permitted on this trail.
Backcountry Camping: Green Gardens has backcountry camping at Old Man Cove, with three tent pads, two picnic tables, a pit toilet, and a bear-proof locker. Contact Parks Canada to make a reservation.
When you’re on the trails, remember to practice hiking etiquette. What does hiking etiquette look like? Say a friendly “hello” to those you pass on the trail. Stay on the trail and don’t take shortcuts. Enjoy the sounds of nature and be respectful to those around you. Practice Leave No Trace principles and minimize your impact as much as possible. Pack out what you bring in. Be respectful of nature and wildlife, including maintaining distance and not feeding wild animals. Help ensure a great hike for yourself and those around you.
Read more: 10 Day Hiking Essentials: What to Bring on a Hike
Green Gardens Trail Map
Are you planning to hike the Long Range Traverse? Did you find this guide helpful? Is there anything else you want to know? Let me know in the comments below!
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