The Great Northern Peninsula Bikepacking Loop

This is a 700 km mixed surface route with 10,000 meters of climbing which we did over an 8 day period in August 2020. We began the ride in Rocky Harbour and used Hwy 430 to get to Hawkes Bay. From there we used resource roads and the road created for the Muscrat Falls transmission line to cross The Great Northern Peninsula over to the White Bay area. We then headed west (mostly on resource roads) to get to Cormack and we continued west, staying north of Deer Lake to get to Hughes Brook. A very hilly Hwy 440 got us from Hughes Brook to beautiful Cox’s Cove where we picked up resource roads to get north to Glenburnie in the Bonne Bay/Gros Morne area. Hwy 431 took us to Trout River where we picked up a dirt road to take us to spectacular Chimney Cove. We backtracked on the last day to Woody Point and chartered a Zodiac to take us across Bonne Bay to Norris Point. A short uphill from there got us back to Rocky Harbour.

DAY ONE (Rocky Harbour to Hawkes Bay 170 km)

It was never my intention to ride from Rocky Harbour to Hawkes Bay in a day but we did. 160 km on the road, plus side trips to the boat launch at western Brook Pond and a few side trips off the main road made for a big day.

(L-R) Don, Malcolm, Darren and John.

It’s worth the side trip to Western Brook Pond.
There are some opportunities to get off the main road and ride a bit of dirt, such as picking up part of the Heritage Trail near Broom Point and following it to St. Paul’s. We picked it up again after St. Paul’s and rode it to Cow Head.
Another option to get offroad is to ride from Cow Head to Shallow Bay on the beach.

We spent the night at Torrent River Inn in Hawkes Bay. It was a great decision after such a big day. We were able to get food from the restaurant, there was a convenience store nearby, and in the morning we loaded up on coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Robin’s Coffee.

DAY 2 (80 km)

From Hawkes Bay we picked up resource roads and eventually picked up the road constructed to install the Muskrat Falls transmission line.

We were all smiles on the resource roads. A little less smiley once on the transmission line road. Lots of elevation gain, lots of VERY steep sections (20+ degrees!).
The transmission line road is very well constructed.

DAY 3 (85km)

Finding a decent place to camp was more challenging than you would think. You want to be near water, you want the ground to be relatively flat and level. We ended up pitching at the base of one of the transmission line towers. Great choice, until a thunder and lightning storm rolled in during the middle of the night and all I could think about was a lightning strike on the tower…
The morning after the lightning storm.
Lots of up and down.
We’re at the headwaters of the Main River here. Earlier in the season Darren (pictured) began a canoe trip down the Main River at this point.
Cooling off.

DAY 4 (105 km)

We camped beside the Humber River near where Taylors Brook Road meets Hwy 420. We followed resource roads to Sir Richard Squires Park, some pavement to Cormack, then back onto resource roads north of Deer Lake, eventually camping beside the lake itself.

Big Falls.
Busy beavers north of Deer Lake.
Be mindful that you are in bear country. Cache/hang your food away from your tent each night.
Our campsite beside Deer Lake.

DAY 5 (85 km, a shitload of climbing)

We biked from our campground beside Deer Lake to Frenchmans Pond. We began on resource roads (lots of climbing), then onto pavement (more climbing) and ended on resource roads east of Cox’s Cove.

Cox’s Cove.

DAY 6 (Frenchmans Pond to Glenburnie 75 km-ish)

We awoke to this. Not bad.
On the resource road between Hughes Brook and Glenburnie. Them’s the Tablelands in the background.

DAY 7 (Glenburnie to Chimney Covelosing track of distance at this point)

We biked the new trail down to Green Gardens. Hella fun on the way down, just plain hell on the climb back. But worth it – highly recommended.
On the road between Trout River and Chimney Cove.
Chimney Cove.
Chimney Cove – a fine place to spend the night.

DAY 8 (Chimney Cove to Woody Point, boat ride to Norris Point, bike to Rocky Harbourmaybe 45 km? Don’t care anymore as there is beer and food at the end)

Waking up in Chimney Cove is a great way to start the day.
Replacing calories in Woody Point.
We chartered a Zodiac to get us from Woody Point to Norris Point as the ferry wasn’t running this year (thanks Covid-19). Robbie at Gros Morne Adventures was there to get us across the bay. Great service, great communication, highly recommended.
All smiles at the end of the trip.

5 thoughts on “The Great Northern Peninsula Bikepacking Loop

  1. Thanks so much for the great read! That sure was a challenging ride! Incredible distances. Fantastic pictures…not sure which is my favorite, the skinny dipper or the cyclist reflected in water near Chimney Cove.

  2. Looks like a great trip Homer but there was something missing…me! Seriously though, I look forward to another trip post Covid…your province or mine…or someone else’s!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s