Coastal cliffs soaring more than 600 metres (2000 ft).
Trekking a rarely visited mountain plateau surrounded by glacially carved fjords.
Southernmost habitat of sub-arctic flora and fauna.
Extraordinary seaward vistas and inland over the vast boreal wilderness.
The habitat of moose and caribou, eagles and Canada geese, ptarmigan and hare.
Two high altitude camping locations under skies that surprise.
Hiking in Western Newfoundland - North Arm Ridge
For avid hikers whose physical fitness is moderate to excellent,
and who are able to carry 20-25 lb backpacks on full day treks.
3 days, 2 nights
NUMBER OF PEOPLE
Maximum 6 people per group
This is a hike for inspiration, exultation and bragging rights.Known to few and experienced by fewer still, the North Arm Ridge is a backcountry hiker’s dream. The Ridge is a part of North Arm Mountain. It rises above the fjord from which it gets its name and is the southwestern extent of the massive Gregory Plateau.
At Liverpool Brook where the hike begins, the mountain stoops down forested slopes along both sides of a green valley, as if welcoming you. Through the afternoon you ascend the mountain, absorbing the grandeur of the vista and expansiveness of the environment. On reaching the top of the slope you stand on top of the island of Newfoundland--the Lewis Hills south of the Bay of Islands is its highest point--by mere 10s of meters.
Campsites are located for the views they afford and their power to augment each day’s reflection on your trekking experience. It’s a landscape that sets the rules for human, animal or watercourse that cross it. Ask your guide about the treacherous Tuckamore: only the naïve walk through rather than around it. Moose seasonally traverse the upland paths to better sheltered and forested lowlands to forage. For the caribou the mountain’s stunted shrubbery and mosses are savoury enough, and they favour the plateau when their calves are young, and where the predator black bear or coyote is easier to spy and evade. Unhindered by the terrain, birds of prey--bald eagles, goshawks and snowy owls among them—arrive for the ptarmigan, hare and voles that live among and blend into the mottled stones and wetland sedges.
The vigilant plant enthusiast may well find sub-arctic flora and fauna that are not found so far south anywhere else in N. America.
Together with the Tablelands to the north (visible from the high point of your route), Gregory Plateau, including North Arm Ridge, is part of the rarest surface geology in the world. The rocks here include remnants of sub-ocean mantle that half a billion years ago were pressured westward due to continental drift. On colliding with the N. American continent, they were forced upward to their present position.
The advance and subsequent melting of glaciers 12000 years ago shaped the vertical walled fjords of the region and unloaded the numerous ‘erratic’ boulders across the plateau and in the valleys. And it was the glaciers that exposed the sub-ocean rock. Only in Siberia and South Africa is the same geology again found at surface. The pervasively fracturing of the surface rock is due to millennia of frost erosion and upheaval.
Many ponds fill the glacial depressions across the North Arm Mountain. They overflow into grassy troughs and streams to drop from the mountain’s edge into valley marshes hundreds of meters below.
All events/tours start at Marble Inn Resort in Steady Brook. Explore NL is affiliated with Marble Inn Resort. However, our participants are free to make pre-tour/post-tour accommodation and travel arrangement as they choose. If you need assistance with ground transportation or accommodations, we would be pleased to assist.
Participants must bring his or her own sleeping bag and apparel appropriate for hiking, including rain gear. Your guide strongly advises good quality hiking boots with full ankle support and firm sidewall protection (low side boots should be avoided). The altitude, coastal exposure and physical effort of the hike makes layered clothing ideal for easy add-removal, with moisture wicking underwear for maximum comfort. Rain gear is a must, along with light gloves and a hat against sun exposure and weather. Also recommended is a mummy-style sleeping bag, suitable for summer alpine temperatures at night (10 – 15C)
IMPORTANT: The event itinerary may change at any time due to inclement weather and other circumstances beyond our control.
8:30: Orientation and pack assessment and allocation of 5 lbs per hiker of team equipment and provisions (e.g., first aid kit, food, etc.).
Depart Marble Inn Resort by van to Cox’s Cove, Middle Arm.
Transfer to boat and travel 15 kms to North Arm fjord. Disembark at mouth of Liverpool Brook.
Ascend North Arm Ridge to first camp. Location of first camp is one of two possible sites above the treeline. Weather conditions and/or general fitness of the hikers will determine the location. They are 4 and 6 km from the start of the hike at 243 and 365 vertical metres (800 ft to 1200 ft).
Tents are set up and guides prepare the evening meal. Hikers enjoy the view over the deep valley below (a good chance to spy moose), the spectacular Bay of Islands, and (on a clear evening) the sun setting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Breakfast, strike camp and assemble packs.
Hike the North Arm Ridge to the second campsite midway across the plateau and near a cluster of waterfalls. This is a good chance for an after-meal stroll to a point where you can see the orange rampart of the Tablelands in the distance.
Breakfast, strike camp and assemble packs.
Descend from North Arm Ridge into Grassy Valley that forms the easternmost extend of the Trout River fjord. Here our route crosses the mid-Newfoundland traverse of the International Appalachian Trail but proceeds in a different direction. Continue hike across valley to rendezvous with return transportation.
Drive to Marble Inn Resort. Enjoy celebration restaurant meal.