Newfoundland and Labrador offer over 29,000 km (18,000 mi) of coastline to explore, packed with inlets, bays, fjords and islands, along with rivers and lakes that stretch across the entire province. From whales and icebergs to serene wetlands and trophy salmon fishing, there is never a dull moment while paddling Newfoundland's many waterways. To get you better acquainted with this paddling paradise, we've put together a top 10 list of our favourite Newfoundland paddling adventures.

 

Burgeo Islands

While Burgeo is difficult to get to, requiring hours and hours of driving and ferry riding, it is well worth the effort. There are hundreds of islands within a few kilometers' paddle of Burgeo – according to the locals, one for each day of the year. Paddle to Sandbanks Provincial Park and you will be rewarded with fine white sand beaches, which are said to be the most beautiful in Newfoundland. Chances are, you will have them all to yourself. Experienced kayakers can explore the archipelago's outer islands, where you will find evidence of ancient indigenous habitation. Some of the sheltered islands offer some amazing waterfront campsites, as well. Those who put the time and effort in to reach Burgeo are in for a Newfoundland paddling experience of a lifetime.

 

 

Witless Bay

Located on Newfoundland's far eastern coast, Witless Bay is famous for its wildlife but also for its cold water and fog. Those who decide to brave the elements can see North America's largest colonies of black-legged kittiwakes and Atlantic puffins. If you happen to come here in late spring or summer, you may even come across the world's largest concentration of humpback whales. Great Island is a favourite destination for paddlers, with massive sea caves that you can paddle right into if the weather is calm. The dramatic scenery and the phenomenal wildlife viewing make this one of Newfoundland's most impressive paddling destinations.

 

 

Dildo Run

Never mind the obscure name, Newfoundland is full of these unique areas making map reading rather entertaining here. Dildo Run is one of Newfoundland's premiere ocean paddling routes, with some 365 islands clustered within a 110 km² (42 mi²) area that are perfect for exploring via kayak. Launching from Dildo Run Provincial Park, there are a number of day or overnight trips to explore, including camping on Gooseberry Island or viewing humpback and minke whales from Dunnage Island. To the north, icebergs can be seen drifting along the coast. In the summer, tide pools are created along the area's rocky shoreline, exposing a variety of marine life. No matter which season you choose, Dildo Run offers one of the most rewarding Newfoundland paddling adventures on the Island.

 

Dildo Run Provincial Park - @adormady

 

 

Quirpon Island

Found at Newfoundland's northern tip, not far from Labrador, Quirpon Island sits at the head of Iceberg Alley. As you may have guessed, kayaking amid icebergs is what draws most paddlers here, provided they are ready for year-round frigid waters and treacherous currents. Icebergs abound here from June until August, and during early summer this is also a whale feeding hot spot. Paddlers can even spend the night in a restored 1920s lighthouse turned B&B, found at the little island's north end.

 

 

Fogo Island Canoe Route

Newfoundland's largest offshore Island, found about 120 km north of Gander, is home to just

2,395 people, along with around 600 caribou. Traditional fishing villages are scattered along Fogo's coastline, while the interior of the island is littered with small ponds, many of which are linked together making for a variety of possible routes. One 11 km (7 mi) route begins at Steady Water Pond and takes you through an idyllic, rocky seaside landscape to Sandy Cove Pond, with camping found nearby. While exploring the island, be careful not to stray too far from your designated route – Fogo's Brimstone Head has been designated as one of the four corners of the world by the Flat Earth Society. Don't fall off!

 

 

Sandy, Beachy and Dunphy's Pond Canoe Route

While many of the paddling routes on this list are perfect for those looking for extended, multi-day trips into the wilderness, this route offers a more leisurely, family-friendly experience. Located in Terra Nova National Park, these sheltered ponds are suitable for first time paddlers and you can even rent a canoe on site. A relaxing 4-5 hour, 10 km paddle takes you on a loop of the three ponds, where you can often see moose and muskrats on the shoreline. Quiet, scenic campsites are found on the shores of Dunphy's Lake for those wishing to turn this Newfoundland paddling trip into an overnight adventure. Or, stick to one of the lakes and make this trip as short as an hour or less.

 

Grand Codroy River

Sheltered by the Long Range Mountains, the Codroy Valley enjoys milder temperatures than the rest of Newfoundland, making for a relaxing one or two day paddle. The meandering route takes you through lush forest and farmland, and is best done during high water or just after rain. Moose are frequently spotted on the riverbank, and geese are plentiful as well. The Codroy is also a scheduled salmon river, so bringing your fishing rod along is a great idea. Your voyage ends in the Grand Codroy Estuary, which is recognized as an international Important Bird Area (IBA). Bring your binoculars and a camera and take some time to enjoy the many birds that stop over here during their migration.

 

Humber River

The Humber is Newfoundland's second largest river, flowing for approximately 120 km (75 mi) from Hampden, through the Long Range Mountains and into the Bay of Islands. This huge watershed is known for its stunning scenery, trophy salmon and the largest lakes on the Island. In fact, this is one of the premiere Atlantic salmon rivers in North America, so be sure to bring your rod along with you on this Newfoundland paddling adventure. With numerous put-ins and take-outs and wilderness campsites found all along the river, your canoe or kayak trip along the Humber river can last anywhere from one to five days.

 

 

Main River

This Canadian Heritage River is one of Newfoundland's most exciting whitewater destinations. Skilled, experienced paddlers can take an epic five to seven day trip that oscillates between tranquil floats and thrilling rapid runs. Not far from its headwaters, the Main River slows as it snakes through the Big Steady, were virgin old-growth forest, wildlife-rich marshes and grasslands set the backdrop to your Newfoundland paddling adventure. Paddlers can look for over 70 bird species, caribou, moose, black bear and the endangered Newfoundland marten along this stretch before the final 23 km (14 mi) canyon run to the sea, which features constant Class II-III rapids that can become even more hairy during high water.

 

Main River - @teahen666

 

 

Table Bay

Found on Labrador's southern coast, near the community of Cartwright, this area is known for its many islands, coves, tickles, capes and channels that all make for some very interesting paddling. Experienced kayakers who are prepared for unpredictable weather and strong winds can take the 200 km (120 mi) journey to Black Tickle on the Island of Ponds' eastern tip. Quaint fishing communities are scattered along the coast, and this is an important seabird breeding area as well.

 

 

 

 

 



 

You can find these many other Newfoundland paddling adventures in our Newfoundland and Labrador Backroad Mapbook and GPS Maps. Along with our industry-leading topographic maps, we include detailed Adventure write-ups for canoe and kayak routes including distance, access, highlights, portages and more.

 

 

Did we miss your favourite Newfoundland paddling adventure? Let us know in the comments below or share your own epic paddles with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.