I have four sections designed to help you plan your adventure across Newfoundland.

Step by Step Quick Guide - This will give you an idea of where to start planning.
What Route Should I Take -  There's a few routes you can review then decide if any are for you.
Should You Take a Guided Tour - Debating whether to hire a guide or go alone? This section may help.
Frequently Asked Questions -  20 of the most common questions I've been asked. 

Step 1 - Pick the time of year.
I suggest July 1 to September 15 for optimum weather. The seems to be less people on the trail in July compared to August and September. In June there can be snow in higher elevations and un-repaired trail damage is common from Spring run off. It's best to wait until July. If you go in June keep an eye on my Facebook page as people are often discussing the trail conditions early in the season. I personally feel late August and early September are the best time to go.

Step 2 - Book your ferry tickets early.
Typically I have  ferry tickets and rooms booked by March for our trip in September. You need to book early if you want to get a room.   GET A ROOM FOR THE FERRY! - trust me, ESPECIALLY the Argentia Ferry. No more than two adults to a room otherwise they are too crowded. If you don't get a room you probably won't get a good sleep, and that's not the way to start or end your trip. It's almost impossible to get comfortable enough on the chairs in the common area to sleep.

The ferry crossing is probably the single most expensive part of your trip at about $512.00 per person. That includes the cost of tickets for each person, fees for each ATV, and rooms with double occupancy both ways. I talk about trip costs below. 

The ferry from Nova Scotia to Argentia, NL leaves every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 17:30. Be there about three hours early. We usually go on the Friday ferry and return a week later.

The ferry from Port Aux Basques to  Nova Scotia leaves NL every day at 11:45 a.m. and 23:45. Check the Marine Atlantic website in case times change. We always take the 23:45 over night ferry and arrive back in NS at 7:00 a.m.

Step 3 - Book your Motels early.
If you're following my 'option 1' route I suggest the following: (click each link for their websites)

Night 1 Clarenville
Night 2 Gander
Night 3 Badger 
Night 4 Deer Lake
Night 5 Robinson's
Night 6 - you'll be on the ferry back to NS.

Each of the above motels is easy to find by ATV. Trailblazer's, and the Driftwood Inn are visible from the trail. The other's have marked trails to the motels and are only a short distance from the main trail with the exception of the Comfort Inn in Gander. You need to ride through town to get to it but it is an ATV friendly town. Follow my GPS tracks and you won't have a problem getting there.

Step 4 - Detailed planning phase.
This is your 'heavy lifting' stage of the planning. Continue reading this page for general information and tips on planning your trip like where do you park your truck before taking your ATV on the Ferry, where does the trail actually start when we get off the ferry, GPS tracks etc. Read and print my Daily Details Microsoft Word Document if you are heading from Argentia to Port Aux Basque. 

Step 5 - Review my packing tips section
Once you've planned the trip you'll need to think about what to take. You won't need much if you're staying at motels and you'll need more for camping. Remember to check what your buddies are taking so people don't all pack the same items. You can share some things. I have a big list but just adjust it for your own needs.  Be sure to bring a tire patch kit (plugs), an air compressor and goggles to protect your eyes from dust if you have an open helmet. A dust mask is also important if you have an open helmet.
Ask yourself these three questions then review some options I have outlined below.

1. How many days should my trip be?
This is probably the most important question if you're limited to the number of days you can spend there. For example - if you have less than 6 riding days available I would suggest doing a west coast tour. If you have six or more days available you can do the entire Island. The more time you have the more you can see. Also keep in mind that you can spend an extra day somewhere if you feel you may need a break. Just plan for it.

2. How much money do I want to spend?
In 2016 I spent $1,400.00 over 7 days with each night in a motel (shared double occupancy for motels). It could cost more or less depending on where you stay, what you eat etc. If you're on a budget there are ways to save money. I once did the whole trip for $1,000.00 all in. That was with a few nights camping and eating most meals on the trail instead of eating at restaurants.

Usually, the single biggest expense is the Ferry itself. Round-trip ferry crossings at Argentia and Port Aux Basques would cost you $512.40 per person based on double occupancy. 

If you're looking to save on your costs you could consider a west coast only trip and take the Port Aux Basques Ferry over and back. The Port Aux Basques ferry costs half as much as the Argentia ferry and the best scenery is on the west coast anyway, in my opinion. 

Ferry Cost Comparison
NS to Argentia (for two people) with 2 ATV's and a room = $338.87 each.
NS to Port Aux Basques (for two people) with 2 ATV's and room = $173.53 each.
If you cross the whole island and go on both ferries the cost is $512.40.
If you do the West Coast only and take the PAB ferry both ways it's $347.06 total. That saves you $165.34.

3. Motels, Camping or mix of both?
If you don't mind camping anywhere such as trail-side, in an open field, or a gravel parking lot, you can do whatever trip you want. BUT, if you're going to bother to bring all that camping gear you most likely want to stay somewhere beautiful like a lake, or a beach. If that's the case, I have you covered. Read the options below.

Feel free to follow one exactly as mentioned or use one as a guide and tweak to your own specifications. Don't forget to check out my photos pages to see all of the places I mention below or better yet check out some of the videos.

Motels only or a mix of motels and camping.

You'll drive about 900 km  over 6 days. This is a simple and straight forward way to cross the whole island and is perfect if it's your first time.   You'll see most of the major scenery on this route and you can either spend each night in motels/cabins or do a mixture of 2 nights camping and 3 nights motels/cabins. 

Day 1 - Argentia to Clarenville (St. Jude's Motel)
Day 2 - Clarenville to Gander (Comfort Inn Motel)
Day 3 - Gander to Badger (Trailblazer's or Badger Motel)
Day 4 - Badger to Howley/Deer Lake (Choice of camping in Howley, or Motel in Deer Lake)
Pitch a tent at the beach in Howley if you want to do some camping. I suggest the Driftwood Inn in Deer Lake if you want to stay in a motel. It's about another 25 km further west of Howley.
Day 5 - Deer Lake to Robinsons (Pirate's Haven Chalets or Cliffside Cottages)
Rent one of three cozy chalets at Pirate's Haven or pitch a tent at their campground. You could also stay at the Cliffside Cottages and have a beautiful view of the ocean.
Day 6 - Robinsons to Port Aux Basques (Ferry ride to Nova Scotia)
A relatively short run mileage wise, if you stick to the railbed, only 110 km, there is so much beautiful scenery you'll want to stop to take pictures of the amazing coastline, table mountains, lakes and beaches. You could stretch this out to a 150km day if you stop at a few mountain tops.

OPTION 2 - ENTIRE ISLAND in 7 DAYS East to West.
Stay in Motels 3 nights and camp 3 nights. 

You'll do about 1000 km on this trip in 7 days. Choose camping or motels in some locations, like Gander, but there is no choice but to camp at Serpentine Lake. It's absolutely beautiful there and a must place to stay if you love camping! Check out the 2014 & 2015 pictures on my blog to see us camping there. The scenery is stunning there.

Day 1 - Argentia to Clarenville (St. Jude's Motel)
Day 2 - Clarenville to Gander (Country Inn Motel & Camping)
You can rent a room at the Country Inn Campground or pitch a tent there, or just stay at the Comfort Inn.
Day 3 - Gander to Badger (Trailblazers Efficiency Unit or Badger Motel)
Day 4 - Badger to Howley (Camping on a lake beach)
Day 5 - Deer Lake to Serpentine Lake (camping on a lake beach)
Day 6 - Serpentine Lake to Robinsons (Pirate's Haven Chalets)
Day 7 - Robinsons to Port Aux Basques (ferry ride to Nova Scotia)

Motels or cabins each night - No Camping.

You'll do about 1250 km in 7 days. This is the longest trip of all the options listed. A few of the days you'll ride 200 km (125 miles) or more so be prepared for a few long days.
If you're hard core about getting in as much scenery in one trip as possible THIS IS THE TRIP FOR YOU!

Day 1 - Argentia to Clarenville (St. Jude's Motel)
Day 2 - Clarenville to Gander (Comfort Inn Gander)
Day 3 - Gander to Badger (Trailblazers or Badger Motel)
You can go straight from Gander to Badger on the railbed (145km) or you can optionally take a side trip to the Sabena Plane Crash Site. This adds a lot of miles to your day (about 60km) but the plane crash site is unreal. Also most of the added mles are on very nice, smooth roads. Check out the Gander to Badger Photos under the Photos Page to see the crash site.
Day 4 - Badger to Lomond (Lomond Lodge)
Stop at the giant sink hole on your way to Lomond Lodge. It was featured on the NL episode of Man Tracker. It's quite something to see in person. No pictures do it justice.
Day 5 - Lomond to Corner Brook (River's End Motel or Marblewood Village Resort)
Leave Lomond Lodge and stop in beautiful Woody Point for gas and take some pictures. Then stop in Cox's Cove on your way to Corner Brook. Fantastic trails and scenery all day. The River's End Motel is clean and small but very cheap at about $50 a person double occupancy. The Marblewood Village condos are fancy and very spacious but more expensive at about $100 a person with two people per condo. They have two, three and four bedroom condos to choose from so everyone can have their own room that night. Each condo has two bathrooms.
Day 6 - Corner Brook to Robinson's (Pirate's Haven Chalets)
Start the day by being trucked about 10 min to the trail head or take a challenging by-pass trail to get there instead, your choice. Our group prefers the trail hands down. Only beginners will find it difficult. People with moderate skill won't mind it. If you spend the night at the River's End Motel you can pick up the by-pass trail across the street. If you spend the night at Marblewood Village you'll need to ride about 5 km on the shoulder of the highway to get to the by-pass trail, or hire a truck to take you to the start of the trail - your choice. Spend the night at the awesome chalets at Pirate's Haven.
Day 7 - Robinson to Port Aux Basques
Finish off the trip on a high note by seeing some of the most beautiful scenery of the entire week. There's mountains, coast line, lakes, and beaches. 

Motels each night
About 635-650 km or more depending on if you do extra exploring. This trip will save you time and money but the last two days require you to backtrack. Some people don't like the idea of back tracking but it doesn't bother me. You get to see some of the nicest scenery twice! Plus there are so many things you can see between Port Aux Basques and Robinsons that you can pick a few on the way up, and a few others on the way back to mix it up.

Day 1 - Port Aux Basques to Stephenville Crossing (Dhoon Lodge or Hotel Stephenville)
About 170 km. A few minutes after you get off the boat you'll be absolutely amazed at the lakes, beaches and magnificent coast line views. Take a stop at the top of the table top mountains for a post card view of the valley below then stop for the night around the Stephenville area.
Day 2 - Stephenville Crossing to Deer Lake (Driftwood Inn)
About 80 km trail riding and 20+ km being trucked by Cecil Anderson to Deer Lake. The trail ends in Corner Brook and there is a gap between it and Pasadena (20km outside Deer Lake). Get Cecil Anderson to pick you up and take you where you need to get to go. Stop for the night in Deer Lake. This is a really short travel day.
Day 3 - Deer Lake to Corner Brook (River's End Motel)
About 145 km this day. Ride north to the amazing sinkhole in Lomond then to Cox's Cove for gas and end in Corner Brook.
Day 4 - Corner Brook to Robinsons (Pirate's Haven Chalets)
About 130 km this day. Start the day by being truck to the start of the railbed or if you're adventurous take the challenging bypass trail through CornerBrook to the railbed. You can add another 45 km if you take a visit to Serpentine Lake, which you should if you have time. It will add about 3 hours to your day (1 in, 1 there, 1 out) but it's worth it! See two pictures of the lake below.
Day 5 - Robinson's to Port Aux Basques
About 110 km if you stay on the rail bed and a repeat of what you saw the first day - but that's okay because it's probably some of the most beautiful scenery the entire province has to offer! There are a few mountain peaks you can see when coming back this way you didn't on the first day. It adds another 40 km or so if you see both mountain tops, totally worth the view. They are shown on the GPS tracks.
I've done the trip eight times without a guide mostly because I prefer the freedom to take my time and explore at my own pace. But, the trip is nearly 1,000 km (600 miles) or much more, depending on which route you take. Attempting this trip without a guide the first time could be more than your comfort level will allow for, so a guided tour is probably for you.

If you'd prefer to hire a guide there are a few I know of in Newfoundland. 

If you want to do most of the trip on your own but would like to hire a guide for a day when you're around Deer Lake or Corner Brook that will take you off the beaten path call Cecil Anderson 709-686-5534 (personal phone). He knows the trail like the back of his hand and he's a very nice man.  He can take you to the Lomond Sink Hole which is an amazing spot. Call him to make arrangements well in advance.

Guide PROS
-You don't have to do any research (i.e. reading this blog - but it's fun reading it!)

-Guides know where to stay, eat, get fuel, etc. 

-Typically a good guide will arrange everything - ferry crossings, motels, meals, fuel, and stops at all the scenic locations. 

-Your days are scheduled by someone else 

Guide CONS
-Some guides run long sections of paved roads instead of trails. It 's not what you're paying for, and it can be stressfull running long sections of road on the highway.

-Cost - Obviously it will cost more with a guide and costs vary between different guides. Without a guide you could expect to spend about $1,500.  You'll have to call around to see how much extra it will cost to have a guided tour.

-Don't have the satisfaction of knowing you did it on your own.

-I've heard of some guides rushing people to get to the final destination each day. 

-Some guides are not as knowledgeable as others. September 2016 I came across a group of guys using a guide service and they missed a lot of nice spots including the Gaff Topsail. I couldn't believe it. The Gaff is one of the best parts of the trip. Do some research on your guide before going and maybe ask if they have any references. 

- I've heard of a guide canceling trips and not refunding money. 
Q. I want to map out a trip across the Island - where do I start?
A. Take a look at my ENTIRE TRIP MAP shown below. You can see the whole trip starting in Argentia and ending in
Port Aux Basques. You don't have to do the entire trip but you can pick and choose what you'd like to do.

Here are the day by day GPS Tracks we did in 2013. Many people do their first trip across Newfoundland with this trip. Click on each link & you'll see the GPS tracks on Garmin's website. Thanks to Darryl Perrin for making these avaiable.
Agentia to Clarenville
Clarenville to Gander
Gander to Badger
Badger to Deer Lake
Deer Lake to Robinsons
Robinson's to Port Aux Basques. 
Click Here to see the map in it's own larger window for easier viewing.

This is probably the single most important tool you can use from this site. You can zoom in very close on the map for a very detailed view. Each of the icons you see can also be clicked on for information and photos.

You could spend hours looking at this map.

I suggest downloading the GPS track and importing it into Locus Maps on your smart phone. Locus Maps will show you the tracks even if you're out of cell range so you will know if you're on the right track or not.

Using a smart phone will save you the cost of purchasing a hand held GPS. 
Q. Can I do this trip by myself?
A. Sure, but I don't suggest it. It's more fun with other people. More importantly, if you have a mechanical breakdown or a medical emergency your life could depend on having another person with you. It could be a long time before someone found you if you needed help.

Q. How long does it take to cross Newfoundland by ATV? 
A. From coast to coast it's approximately 900 km and 6 days of traveling depending on your route if you follow the rail bed only. You could take 7 days or more and drive over 1200 km if you take side trips. Check out the "What Route Should I Take" section above to help you decide. You can take more days or less depending on how fast you ride and if you like camping.  Some people stop in some areas for an extra day for a break from traveling. 

Q. Do you have to travel the entire Island or can you do just a portion of it?
A. You can go for as long as you'd like; a few days, a week, 10 days or more - it's up to you. It's all in how you plan your trip.

Q. Why do some people travel half way and back instead of going across the whole island?
A. I've gone across the entire Island East to West (Argentia - Port Aux Basques) and also half way from West to Central (Port Aux Basques - Grand-Falls Windsor) and back. I enjoyed both trips very much. I can’t really suggest one over the other but I think there are a few reasons some choose the half-way and back option:
Port Aux Basques, Wreck House, Serpentine Lake, Georges Lake, Deer Lake, and the Gaff Topsail are all on the West/Central Regions. I feel those areas offer the nicest scenery. Once you pass Badger (heading East) the scenery isn't as nice, scenery, in my opinion.

The ferry from Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basques is 6-7 hours vs. 16 hours to Argentia, and it costs half as much.
If you are on a budget, and don't want to be on a 16 hr ferry those would be important considerations. 

If you do the whole island I suggest traveling East to West as the scenery continually gets better and better and you take the short ferry home after a long trip, which is nice.
QWhat is the best way to get there?
A. If you're taking an ATV with you there is only one way - the Marine Atlantic ferry. They have a few ferries making the journey. One heads to the West Coast and the other to the East Coast. They both leave from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. 

QHow long is the ferry ride from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland? 
A.  NS to Argentia (east coast of NL) 16 hours. 
      NS to Port Aux Basques (west coast of NL) 7 hours. 

Q. Should I start the trip on the West (Port Aux Basques) or East (Argentia)?
A. You can start your trip on either side and return from the opposite. Keep in mind the ferry to Argentia is 16 hours - most start there to ensure the shorter ferry back at the end of the trip. Plus I feel the nicest scenery is on the West coast so it's nice to end the trip seeing the best the Island has to offer.

Q. How much will it cost to take the Marine Atlantic Ferry?
A. Complete Ferry schedule and pricing can be found on Marine Atlantic's website Quick break down below: (prices as of March 2017).

North Sydney to Argentia (16 hrs)
$118.27 - 1 adult ticket 
$118.97 - ATV cost
$101.63 - Cabin per person double occupancy 
Total $338.87 (including tax) 

North Sydney to Port Aux Basques (6-7 hrs)
$43.46 - 1 adult ticket
$57.33 - ATV
$63.25 - Cabin per person per double occupancy
Total $173.53 (including tax)

$512.40 Grand Total - for both ferry rides  with two people per room.

Q. Where can I leave my car/truck and trailer?
A. A&L Parking (902-561-0011) across the street from the ferry terminal. CASH ONLY. Pricing as of April 2017. There won't be a person at the parking lot, just an empty attendant building with a mail-slot for envelopes. Be sure to put your vehicle description, license plate number, the date you arrived and the date you're leaving.

Bring an envelope with you because sometimes they run out. The wording on the envelopes that tells you how to pay is confusing. I've seen a lot of people not understand it, so I explained it below. DON'T OVERPAY!

Truck & Trailer
$15 for the first day and $7.50 each day after that. Don't pay for the day you're leaving if you arrive on the 7 a.m. ferry.
$67.50 for 8 days.

Single vehicle without a trailer
$10 for the first day and $5.00 everyday after that.
$45 for 8 days

CASH ONLY. I can't stress that enough.

Q.How much gas will our ATVs use? 
A. Example - I took a 500cc ATV loaded with camping gear:

Total spent - $141.71. 
Gas cost  $1.42 per litre at the time ($5.39 US Gallon)
Total distance driven - 858 kms (533 miles) 
Total fuel used - 99.8 litres (20.4 gallons Cdn, 24 gallons US) 
Average Mileage - 11.9 litres per 100 km (23 mpg Cdn, 19 mpg US)
My friend in a 680 Rincon used almost exactly the same as I did. 

***Gas is around $1.26 a liter as of October 2017*** ($4.78 US Gallon)

Q. How much for motel/hotel rooms?
A. In 2013 we stayed at motels every night. It cost each of us $365.38 total for the week. We had two occupants per room each night. If you spend some or all of your nights camping you will obviously spend less.

Q. How about the cost of food?
A. I paid $226.91 for food in 2013, that was all restaurant meals.
What you spend on food depends on your taste and budget. You can spend a lot if you eat at restaurants every day. It's relatively easy to find groceries and supplies if you want to cook for yourself. It's also a lot of fun to cook on the trail with a BBQ and a frying pan.

Q. Can you give me an approximate "total cost" for the entire trip?
A.  In 2013 I spent $1,400.00 total - that included ferry tickets, food, gas, liquor, hotels, parking, etc..Keep in mind we stayed at Motels each night and food costs were higher because we at restaurants every breakfast and supper. Other years I did it for around $1,000.00 by camping two nights and and cooking some meals on the trail. 
In 2016 I spent $1472.00 total and we stayed at motels each night.

Q. Can you ride an ATV directly on the ferry or do you have to haul it? 
A. You can simply drive it on the ferry and leave your truck and trailer at A&L Parking which is across the street from the Ferry Terminal in NS.

**updated October 2017** Marine Atlantic has a new policy regarding ATV's.
1. Go to the ferry terminal with your truck and trailer, get checked in.
2. Drive out of the terminal at the rear entrance. They'll show you where it it. Go to A&L Parking, offload your machines.
3. Drive your ATV's back to the terminal at the back entrance with your tickets to get back in.

A&L parking (902-561-0011). They only take cash. Parking prices are listed above under Budget. 

Q. What is the condition of the trail? 
A. Most of the trail is in good condition and is an easy ride for ATV or side by sides, even for beginners. There are long sections with water ruts or 'whoops' which could get tiring if you have an older machine. In fact I don't recommend this trip without a newer machine with a good suspension system. There are also sections of trail lined with tall alder bushes that make it difficult to see around corners and that could be a bit dangerous so be sure to slow down on corners in those areas. 

Q. Can I take a trailer for extra gear
I know people that take trailers but I highly suggest YOU DON'T TAKE A TRAILER. They will slow you down terribly, especially in sections with whoops. If you take a trailer it must be tough as nails to handle the extreme abuse of the whoops.  Most trailers break on this trip. In 2015 I heard of a guy that brought a trailer and it popped off the hitch and when he stopped it came forward and broke his rear differential. His trip was over, and he had to pay a huge fee to get a flat deck truck to tow him to the ferry.

Q. I heard there is a GAP in the trail around Corner Brook. Is it difficult to get around?
A. One section is missing between Corner Brook and Pasadena. The most popular way around the gap is to hire a flat-deck tow truck in Deer Lake to haul you and your ATV's to the next part of the trail in Corner Brook. It'll cost you about $40 per person. 

Call Cecil Anderson (709) 686-5534. The Anderson's can take four ATV's or three ATV's and a side by side at one time. Cecil has a pickup truck with a flat bed style trailer. He is very knowledgeable about the trail and helped me out of a jam with a single phone call. He's a very gracious fellow and also offers day-tours around Deer Lake and Corner Brook. 

Conway’s Towing Service (709)634-2338. Call Conway's if you have more than four ATVs. They have multiple flat bed tow trucks that can fit a about a dozen or more ATV's.

Q. Can you drive your ATV directly from the ferry to the trail in Argentia? 
A. Yes, it's only 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the Argentia Terminal. You have to drive on paved road, but most of it is secondary road with no traffic.​​
Directions to the trail from the ferry:

1. Drive straight down the highway when you get off the ferry.

2. In approx 400 metres (yards), you will see a Y in the road, Charter Road is the road on your left.

3. Take Charter Road and drive for another 2 kilometres (1.5 miles). It runs parallel to the highway. 

4. If you miss Charter Road keep going down the highway, you can turn left in another 2 km at the trail. 

5. Keep an eye out for a set of buildings. Look for the trail about 100 feet after the last building.
Here is an aerial view (from Google Maps) below.

Visible below is the highway and Charter Road splitting off to the left.
In the picture above you can see both the Trans Canada highway and Charter Road with the blue track on it. If you happen to miss Charter road when you get off the boat, just keep an eye out for the buildings on your left and turn left there to pick up the trail.

The section of trail you pick up after getting off the ferry isn't considered the T'Railway. It is an auxiliary trail that meets up with the main trail in Placentia Junction - which is approximately a 30 km ride (18 miles). This is the slowest part of the trip. Once you get that 30km behind you it's pretty easy going after that. It's not really rough, just a lot of water holes that will slow  you down.  

***Take a left at the sign in Placentia Juntion. DON'T MISS THE TURN***
Reset your Trip Odometer on the ferry and watch your mileage or follow my GPS tracks. The left turn is at around the 30 or 32 km mark (18 miles). Turn left or you will keep heading East to St. John's! If you miss that turn you could waste hours having to loop back to it. You will see the sign below at the turn. Keep an eye out for it.

Q. Can you drive your ATV directly off the ferry to the trail in Port Aux Basque?
A. Yes you can. The trail is only 1.5 kilometres (or 1 mile) from the terminal. You can ride your ATV directly off the boat and go straight ahead until you see an Irving Gas Station on your left - see image below. Shortly after the station you will see a break in the road. Turn left  and drive to the Orange Train on your right. (shown in the far right of the image below) That is where the trail starts.  BE MINDFUL OF TRAFFIC, it can be a busy stretch of highway. 

Click HERE to see the map in it's own full size window.

Reminder: You can click on any of the icons (little shapes on the map) and a information will appear giving you information abou it).