Cycling the Viking Trail
Where: Newfoundland, off the Southeast coast of Canada
Best season: summer (June – September) for more tempered weather
Best sights: stunning sunset views of fjords from Gros Morne National Park
Remember to bring: safety helmet, cycling tights and a waterproof jacket
Although Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t become part of Canada until 1949, this area has a rich and colourful history. The rugged coastline of this island is shaped by the wind and the sea, so too is the character of its people. This is the place where Europeans first set foot in North America, a thousand years ago. They were the Norse Vikings and their first landing spot was at L’Anse Aux Meadows, on the northern tip of the Island. Today this is one of the world’s most culturally significant historic sites, made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1972.
- Climbing the high peaks of Gros Morne National Park for stunning views of fjords
- Eating thousand year old ice from an iceberg
- Learning about the Vikings, who established the first European settlement in North America a thousand years ago
Our Journey Route
Our Viking Trail journey starts in Deer Lake, Newfoundland. Following Route 430, also known as the Viking Trail, we head all the way north along the coast between mountains and sea. From here he makes a stop at Gros Morne National Park. We’ll be stopping off for a day to hike to the top of the mountains for a stunning view. From there we’ll keep following the coast, finally ending the journey with a 100-mile-in one day ride to Gunner’s Cove, where we’ll be visiting L’Anse Aux Meadows, the original landing spot of the Vikings, nearly a thousand years ago.
- Small family owned-hotels and bed & breakfast accommodations are available all along the Viking Trail route on Route 430. Summertime is high season, so it’s best to book ahead (see further information for some suggestions).
- Newfoundland has very unpredictable weather. Like any island climate, It rains often, but can be bright and sunny. You have to be prepared for the elements; wear a safety helmet, cycling tights and a waterproof jacket.
- The best bike to use is a hybrid, a cross between a mountain bike and a racing bike, perfect for roads, but rugged enough to deal with steep hills and strong winds. You can also do some off-roading on this one as well.
Did You Know?
- L’Anse Aux Meadows is the end of the Viking Trail. This spot is believed to be where Leif Eiriksson founded a colony around 1000 AD. Eiriksson had grown up hearing a story told by Herjolfsson, who was blown off course on a voyage to Greenland in 986 and reported seeing three lands, believed to be Newfoundland, south and north Labrador. Eiriksson decided to see for himself. He stayed for a year before returning to Greenland, calling it ‘Vinland’. The site was first discovered in 1960.
- Gros Morne National Park is one of Newfoundland’s premiere spots for hiking, birdwatching and outdoor adventure. As you hike up to the top of Gros Morne Mountain, rock ptarmigans are very common. There are some times of the year that the trails may be closed due to the birds’ feeding or mating periods.
- E.Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Shipping News” was set in Newfoundland.
The Pilot Productions team was guided by
Eric Harding of Freewheeling Adventures.
Freewheeling Adventures Inc.
R.R. #1 Hubbards
Nova Scotia, Canada B0J 1T0
Tel: 1-800-672-0775 or (902) 857-3600
Fax: (902) 857-3612
For more information on Parks Canada
For quirky information and local Newfie humour
Deer Lake Motel
PO Box 820
Nfld, Canada AOK 2EO
Tel: 709-635-3842 Fax: 709-635-2108
Sugar Hill Inn
Tel: 709-458-2147 Fax: 709-458-2166
Gunner’s Cove Tel: 709-623-2018.