Terra Nova National Park is an excellent vacation base for sightseeing in the
east-central region of Newfoundland. The park's 400 square kilometers protect a
typical Newfoundland habitat of sheltered bays, rugged shores along the ocean
and rolling forested hills with numerous ponds and bogs. Keep an eye out for
ospreys, eagles, lynx and
Camping and picnicking facilities abound and there are hiking and nature trails, some with guided tours by park interpreters and others for exploring alone. For those who come to the park by sea, there are excellent docking facilities in inner Newman Sound, and several wharves in the outer coves.
In the Newman Sound area the Activity Centre is where the whole family can take part in games, and see the aquariums and terrainiums, or take in some of the other programs that are offered. And you can take a tour boat, go hiking, go sea kayaking and get information about park activities right here.
Interpreters present informative and entertaining live performances daily in the park. You don't have to be a camper to participate: everyone is welcome. Come on a nature walk, watch a puppet show or visit the outdoor theatre at Newman Sound any night during the summer.
Campers can enjoy Newman Sound campground (map below) year round. Full facilities are offered during the summer. There are a grocery store, laundromat, bicycle rentals and other services here. A few kilometres away at Sandy Pond you can rent canoes, kayaks or peddle boats. Although there are no cabins available in the park, there are a wide variety of accommodations just outside the park.
Hikers have no fewer than 16 trails of varying length and difficulty from which to choose. There are short trails, such as that at Malady Head (map below), which takes 45 minutes and is in good, dry condition, to much longer ones that take hours to traverse and are wet in spots. Portions of the Coastal Trail in Newman Sound are wheelchair accessible. There are trails along the shore, through the woods and over the hills. You can see moose, delicate wildflowers and beavers.
The park also offers winter outdoor adventures in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, winter camping, ice fishing and picnicking. There are approximately 50 km of ski and snowshoe trails, some of them groomed. They range from 2 to 12 kms and from easy to difficult. Winter campers will find tent platforms and an enclosed picnic shelter with a wood stove and firewood at the Newman Sound campground, and winter camping is free. There is both freshwater and salt water ice fishing. A park license is required for freshwater ice fishing.
Primitive camping sites are available to the canoeist, boater and hiker. In summer you can take the Ocean Watch boat tour to a coastal camping site, returning the next day by the tour boat or along a hiking trail. There are also opportunities for scuba diving, interpretive marine tours and golfing at an 18-hole course set amid spectacular scenery.
There are even two communities within the park. Located approximately 16 km along unpaved Route 301, is Terra Nova a quiet farming community where boating and canoeing are favourite activities. A little further east of the intersection of Route 301 and Route 1, a brief detour will take you toward the coastal community of Charlottetown. This pretty town is now a popular vacation spot. In the last century its rich forests and excellent harbour and shipping facilities made it a lumbering centre for Bonavista Bay.
Mountain Biking: There are mountain biking trails in the park and you can rent mountain bikes at Sandy Pond Concession.
Backpacking: The Outport Trail is a 17.5 km (one way) trail that follows the coast. It takes approximately 5 to 6 hours to complete and allows backcountry camping at Minchin Cove and on to South Broad Cove. The Dunphy's Pond trail also allows overnights at a wilderness camping area which takes only an hour and half to access, perfect for someone new to backpacking.
Dunphy's Pond Trail: Easy, 10km return. The Dunphy's Pond Trail which is 10 km return and takes just 3 hours return to compete. There is a wooded wilderness campsite located near the pond with 5 sites. While you camp in this area you might see some of less common boreal bird species found in the park, such as the ruffed and spruce grouse, crossbills, and great horned and boreal owls. Watch for loons on the waters of Dunphy's Pond which is the largest of 134 ponds (lakes) in the park. All campers must obtain a permit before camping in this area and the permit must be turned in at the end of the trip.
Outport Trail: 48km return. The Outport Trail is a 35 kilometer out and back that should take about 16 hours to complete. When you have reached about midway along the trail, there is a 1.5 km detour to the top of Mount Stamford, where you will have one of the most spectacular views in the park. The trail goes along the coast from Big Brook and the sheltered mudflats of Newman Sound. It travels through the forest to the abandoned settlement of Minchin Cove and on to South Broad Cove. These two areas are designated for backcountry camping. Minchins Cove backcountry campground with 6 sites, fire pits, firewood and privy. South Broad Cove backcountry campground with 8 sites, fire pits, firewood and privy. All campers must obtain a permit before camping in these areas and the permit must be turned in at the end of the trip.
Hiking: There are 12 hiking trails in the park ranging from 2 km to 17.5 km in length providing hikes suitable to every skill and fitness level.
Blue Hill West Trail: Easy to Intermediate, 10 km return. The trail follows an old fire access road where, you will see a forest that is recovering from a 1986 forest fire. It takes you from the highest point of land in the park to the shores of Blue Hill Pond and then to Newman Sound. Along this trail, you will see some of the largest birch in the park that have survived the fire. Keep your eyes open, you might just get a glimpse of the rare pine marten, which has been seen here. The trail should take about 3.5 hours return to complete.
Buckley Cove Trail: Easy, 7 km return. The trail takes you through the forest and along the coast of Newman Sound and ends at Buckley Cove where you'll find grassy fields and a beach. Along the trail you will come across a small cove that provides you with a great view of the sheer face of Mount Stamford. The trail should take about 2 hours return to complete.
Campground Trail: Easy, 3 km. This is a forested trail, not far from the Newman Sound Campground which will take you to Big Brook. The brook flows into Newman Sound. The trail should take about 30 minutes to complete.
Coastal Trail: Easy, 9 km return. The trail takes you through a black spruce forest with numerous access points to the shoreline on Newman Sound. Newman Sound is designated a Canadian Wildlife Service Bird Sanctuary. For birders this is a perfect area of the park to spot ospreys, terns, greater yellowlegs, and spotted sandpipers that are often seen feeding on the rich supply of food in the estuary. The trail should take about 2 1/2 hours to complete.
Dunphy's Pond Trail: Easy, 10 km return. The trail takes you to the shores of Dunphy's Pond; the largest lake in the park, where birders can delight in many boreal bird species, such as the red and white-winged crossbills, flocks of finches, and great horned and hawk owls that frequent this area. There is a backcountry campsite located near the pond if you want to spend the night. The trail should take about 3.5 hours return.
Green Head Cove Trail: Easy-Intermediate, 5 km return. This is a forested trail with mature evergreens and young hardwoods, that will take you to the old Eastport Bridge over the quiet waters of Southwest Arm, where you'll have a beautiful view of Malady Head. You might see shorebirds, ducks and ospreys feeding in the shallow water of the arm. The trail should take about 1 1/2 hours to complete.
Louil Hill: Easy, 4 km, loop. The trail takes you through thick stands of alder and meanders through a grove of fir trees where "old man's beard" lichen hangs from the dead branches. There is a short but steep detour at the half way point to the top of Louil Hill which gives you a spectacular panoramic view overlooking Alexander Bay, Northeast Arm and Southwest Arm. The trail should take about 1.5 hour to complete.
Malady Head Trail: 5 km. The trail climbs gradually for 2 km to a lookout platform near the summit of Malady Head. From this viewpoint there is an incredible view of Southwest Arm, Wing's Pond, Wing's Brook, Alexander Bay and the Eastport Peninsula. You have a chance of seeing eagles or osprey from the platform or even an iceberg in the distance on Bonavista Bay. The trail should take about 1.75 hours to complete.
Sandy Pond Trail: Easy, 3km, loop. This is a self-guided trail that works its way around Sandy Pond through boreal forest of black spruce and balsam fir, ground ferns, mushrooms and snowberries. Watch for ducks and their young swimming along Sandy Pond. The trail should take about 1 hour to complete.
Southwest Brook Trail: Easy, 10 km return. The trail takes you passed a beaver dam and lodge, then to a bridge over the Southwest Brook. You follow the brook thought the forest until you reach a suspension bridge that leads you to the Southwest Brook picnic area. The trail should take about 2 hours return.
Canoeing: There is canoeing at Sandy Pond/Dunphy's Pond, a route of 10 km or 4.5 hours approximately. There is also Southwest Arm, a route of approx. 6.5 km or 2.5 hours. White water canoeing is possible on the Northwest River for experienced canoeists, contact the park for details.
Canoe Camping: There is wilderness canoe camping at 3 different locations in the park. Beachy Pod, Dunphy's Island and Dunphy's Pond.
Backcountry and Cross Country Skiing: One of the best ways to enjoy the park in winter is by cross-country skiing. There are several groomed trails. Some of these can be found at Sandy Pond. There are also 400 square km of backcountry skiing possibilities. To request info about winter activities in the park, contact the park through their website.
Snowshoeing: The park has designated snowshoeing trails.
Newman Sound Campground: 100 serviced with electricity and 243 Unserviced sites located along highway one. The campground has a grocery store, laundromat, children's activity centre, playgrounds, communal fire pits, kitchen shelters, dumping station, water fill up station, hiking trails, walking distance to the outdoor theatre and campground circle.
Malady Head Campground: 87 rustic sheltered Unserviced sites, and a group tenting section located off highway one on Route 310. The campground has individual fire pits, playgrounds, kitchen shelters, dumping station, water fill up station, washrooms with with flush toilets, hot water and showers.
Reservations can be made through the parks website via Parks Canada Camping
Backcountry Camping: Minchin Cove 6 sites, fire pits, firewood and privy. and on to South Broad Cove 8 sites, fire pits, firewood and privy. The Dunphy's Trail also has a wilderness area for camping. There are also three canoe camping areas at Beachy Pond, Dunphy's Island and Dunphy's Pond.
Winter Camping: There is opportunity for backcountry ski camping in the park some with enclosed kitchen shelters where fires are permitted.
Note: Dogs are allowed in the park but must always be on a short leash. Pets can disturb and even provoke wildlife.
All walk times are approximate return times at a moderate pace. Never stray from the trail. Always pack water and a snack. Tell someone your destination and estimated return time.