The Long Range and Northern Traverses are multi-day hikes over unmarked and difficult terrain posing greater visitor safety risks. Every year, Parks Canada conducts rescues on the Long Range which would be especially challenging in the context of the pandemic. We are, therefore, encouraging visitors to opt for less risky adventures such as an overnight backpacking trip to Ferry Gulch and a day hike to Crow cliff. Or overnight at Snug Harbour and hike to the North Rim of Western Brook Pond. Visitors interested in these backcountry hiking opportunities must obtain a permit by calling (709) 458-2417.
The Northern Traverse (formerly the North Rim Traverse) is an unmarked and rugged backcountry hiking route. It is known to be a demanding hike, because of its terrain and the large tracks of tuckamore* that hikers need to navigate around and through. This is a route more suited for those hikers looking to experience challenging terrain and testing their route finding skills. Although shorter than the Long Range traverse, the Northern traverse is considered to be significantly more difficult. Unlike many portions of the Long Range Traverse, this route does not follow large valleys or have obvious natural landmarks to follow. Hikers should not underestimate the difficulty of this route. Do not expect an open landscape that is easy to navigate. GPS trackfiles and waypoints are strongly recommended for this route. Be sure you are proficient using a GPS.
As with the Long Range traverse, the Northern traverse starts by climbing onto the Long Range plateau through the rugged gorge at the east end of Western Brook Pond. The route then returns to Snug Harbour and the western end of Western Brook Pond by a westerly route to the north of the pond. The route is 27 kilometres long and usually takes 3 nights to complete. The suggested route offers spectacular views of Western Brook Pond only at the eastern and western ends of the hike. The rest of the hike you are travelling the sub-arctic terrain of the Long Range Mountains.
Reservations, Quotas, and Fees
UPDATE FOR 2021 Season - Plans for the Long Range and Northern Traverse will be finalized in May. Once confirmed, we will announce a launch date for reservations.
Reservations, when open, can be made Monday through Friday (except holidays) between 8:00am and 4:30pm (NST) by calling: 709-458-2417.
Note: In order to keep your reservation you must report to the Visitor Centre by 2:30pm on the day before your scheduled departure date and attend the orientation session scheduled at that time.
Quota: To maintain a high quality hiking experience and to minimize the impact of hikers on the environment, the park uses a quota system. Only 3 groups (with a maximum of 4 people per group) per day are permitted to depart on these routes. Hikers are encouraged to book early as the peak season of mid-July to the end of August is often fully booked. Reservations are required to guarantee your departure date.
Fees: There is a non-refundable reservation fee payable when you book. The Wilderness Hiking Fee is payable after you attend the mandatory orientation session and pick up your permit at the park Visitor Centre on the day prior to your departure.
Season: Reservations will be accepted only for departures between June 25 and September 30 *CLOSED IN 2020* Outside these dates seasonal conditions and the availability of the boat on Western Brook Pond may limit access to these hiking routes.
Mandatory Orientation Sessions:
All hikers doing the Long Range or Northern Traverse must attend a backcountry briefing in order to receive their backcountry hiking permit. Briefings are offered daily at 2:30pm at the Visitor Centre near Rocky Harbour.
*Tuckamore – a Newfoundland term for dense stunted forest consisting of mainly spruce and fir. This forest is shaped by the wind into a matted mix of twisted and sturdy tree branches and trunks. It is virtually impassable to hikers.