Trail infrastructure

Gros Morne National Park

Revitalizing Gros Morne’s Hiking Trails

Towering cliffs, dramatic fjord valleys, glacial lakes, coastal dunes, sweeping bogs and highland plateaus all make Gros Morne National Park a hiker’s paradise. Our network of trails is world renowned and allows hikers of all skill levels to explore the unique natural heritage of this special place. By investing in our trails, Parks Canada is working to protect and preserve Gros Morne’s habitants and their habitat while creating opportunities for visitors to safely connect with this amazing landscape! Investments in visitor infrastructure – such as trails, visitor centres and campgrounds, as well as highways, parkways and bridges – will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature.

stairs on trailsPlanned trail reconstruction

Parks Canada will continue to upgrade some of Gros Morne’s most iconic trails in 2018. Design work began in 2016 and construction began in 2017. Making the most of advances in trail design and construction expertise and technology, we will create safer, more enjoyable and sustainable trails.

Work scheduled for 2018 includes:
  • A realignment of the Lookout Trail, Green Gardens Trail, and Gros Morne Mountain Trail to address effects of erosion, improve the sustainability of these trails, reduce maintenance, and improve visitor experience.
  • Steep grades will be lowered, allowing for more gradual climbs (phew!)
  • Improved trail treads, and improved drainage will create safer and drier conditions – though waterproof hiking boots are always the best option.
  • Boardwalks and stairs will be eliminated in most areas as poorly drained areas and sensitive terrain are avoided.
  • New sections will open up new views for hikers to enjoy – thank you, Mother Nature!

Trail Design Techniques

Modern trail building machinery

  • Building good trails requires a high level of skill and experience. The use of machines to build trails is a common practice in other parts of Canada including the mountainous terrain in the Rocky Mountains. Small excavators, powered wheelbarrows, and even a portable rock crusher, allow a small team of highly skilled professionals to build the trails quickly and efficiently. This will open up new sections of trail quickly for hikers to enjoy. The use of these machines allows us to create more sustainable trails that can’t be achieved, or are more difficult, with hand building.
  • Parks Canada resource conservation staff will monitor all work occurring within park boundaries to ensure that the environmental integrity of our most treasured spaces is protected. The use of this type of equipment will allow us to complete the work more quickly at less cost than traditional methods with hand tools. It will allow us the ability to provide lasting, more enjoyable, and improved experiences for visitors to enjoy our trails.

Trail Development Principles

Parks Canada has developed a set of principles it uses when designing and maintaining an extensive network of trails at its sites all across Canada. These core trail principles and guidelines provide direction to the planning, development, and management of trails to ensure an integrated approach fundamental to sustainable trail systems. The principles and guidelines flow from Parks Canada’s mandate, which contains three key elements:

  • Protection
  • Education
  • Visitor experience

The principles integrate the four elements of successful and sustainable trail systems:

  • Natural and cultural resources
  • Visitor needs
  • Trail design
  • Trail management.


Work will occur on these trails throughout 2020 and conclude this year. Parks Canada has planned the work to minimize the impact on visitors, and in many cases it will be unnoticeable. In areas where trail realignment is occurring, the existing sections of the trails will remain open. As work is completed, newer areas will be opened and older sections will be closed to allow the areas to be reclaimed by nature. In keeping with our commitment to all Canadians to protect the natural and cultural heritage of our special places, proposed trail work will receive rigorous scrutiny to mitigate environmental impacts.

Information on this project and others happening in 2020 can be found by contacting us at (709) 458-2417 or

Fact Sheet: Revitalizing Gros Morne’s Hiking Trails

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