Gros Morne National Park of Canada
The Long Range Traverse
The Long Range Traverse is known across Canada for its challenge and beauty. Reaching 800 metres out of the bogs along the Atlantic coast, the ancient Long Range Mountains mark the north end of the Appalachian mountain range. The arctic-alpine bogs and barrens are home to caribou, moose, arctic hare, and black bear
The Long Range Traverse is an unmarked route that connects the eastern end of Western Brook Pond to the Gros Morne Mountain hiking trail. To reach the gorge at the end of the pond, hikers must complete the North Rim Traverse or take the Western Brook Pond boat tour. Tickets are required and the boat runs from mid-June to October. A series of primitive campsites serves as waypoints. (Plan, prepare, & equipment)
Route Description & Campsite Locations
Coordinates projection: UTM (Zone U21, Datum NAD 83). They are accurate to approximately 40 metres.
Campsite 1: Western Brook Pond
Coordinates: 21U 452380m E / 5507076m N
This site is located just in from the dock where hikers are dropped off by the Western Brook Pond boat tour. It is very sheltered but is often “buggy.” There are picnic tables and an outhouse, but no tent platforms.
Route: Western Brook Pond to Little Island Pond
As you travel up the gorge, you should stay close to the brook. You will see sections of trail, which sometimes tend to disappear. This is not a maintained trail, it occurs due to the passage of people and animals, and not everyone chooses the same path. Depending on the water level, you will cross the brook several times. Watch for where the “trail” starts after crossing; there is no need to go very far from the brook. Eventually you will end up at the waterfall at 21U 454800m E / 5506121m N. Now is the time to stay to the right, or south side, and climb the steep section to get above the falls. Once above, choose a path that takes you slightly to your left (NNE), until you start out onto the big rock slab that leads to the top. There are several ways of getting to the very top. The easiest passes to the north side of the ridge at the far eastern end of the Gorge. You will be rewarded with a great view before heading on to Little Island Pond. The top of Western Brook Pond Gorge is at 21U 455782m E / 5506005m N
Campsite 2: Little Island Pond
Coordinates: 21U 455426m E / 5503813m N
This site is located on the western shore of Little Island Pond, 2 km south from the top of Western Brook gorge, approximately six hours from the dock. A sheltered site with two tent platforms by a small brook, it is often “buggy.” There is a “bear box” for food storage.
Route: Little Island Pond to Marks Pond
Watch your navigation here to avoid going southeast down Glanders Gulch. When you reach the river that connects Marks Pond to Glanders Gulch, head west or southwest, depending on where you are, to avoid being drawn down the gulch. Then you either stay on the north side of the brook to head to Marks Pond, or cross the brook and head south (passing to the east of Marks Pond) to continue to Hardings Pond.
Campsite 3: West side of Marks Pond
Coordinates: 21U 454721m E / 5501255m N
2.5 km south of Little Island Pond, this site has grassy areas for tenting and can be wet. There is a “bear box” for food storage. You can cross the brook here to head to Hardings Pond.
Route: Marks Pond to Hardings Pond
After rounding Marks Pond, make sure you head south to climb the hill. Aim for the notch at 21U 454718m E / 5499677m N. This will put you on track for Hardings Pond. If you find yourself heading southeast after passing a small pond just south of Marks Pond, you are heading toward Candlestick Pond. Retrace your route to head for the notch, otherwise you will end up at Candlestick and the hike to Hardings Pond past Black Cliff is not considered to be fun by those who have made that navigation error. You are better off backtracking.
Campsite 4: Hardings Pond
Coordinates: 21U 453863m E / 5497462m N
This often muddy site is 4.5 km south of Marks Pond on Hardings Pond. There are two tent platforms and a “bear box” for food.
Campsite 5: North of Green Island Pond
Coordinates: 21U 448869m E / 5494669m N
This site is located on the east side of a small pond north of Green Island Pond, 6 km WSW of campsite four. You will come down a steep hill into a small valley by the brook from Green Island Pond. There are three tent platforms and a “bear box.” The next day you cross the brook on the way to Ferry Gulch.
Campsite 6: Ferry Gulch
Coordinates: 21U 444338m E / 5493808m N
The Approach to Ferry Gulch is at 21U 444602m E / 5493695m N. The campsite is located off the Gros Morne Mountain hiking trail in Ferry Gulch. There are three tent platforms, a “bear box,” and an outdoor toilet.