Wedged in the far northern corner of Labrador between Quebec and the Labrador Sea is Canada’s youngest national park. While park rangers will tell you Torngat Mountains National Park has only been around for 10 years, locals from the area will tell you it’s piqued the interest of adventurers for decades.
It takes some serious planning to get to this part of Canada though. Due to its remote location between the rugged mountains and high plateaus in the far northern reaches, the park is only seriously open to visitors for a few months out of the year — and even then you have to charter a plane, boat, or, weather permitting, a snowmobile to get there. The modern-day explorers who have made the trek say the payoff is more than worth the challenge of getting there though.
Mother Nature’s Secret Treasure
They say age is just a number and with Torngat that's very, very true. While the park was formally created in 2005, the Torngat Mountains and its rock formations are estimated to be nearly four billion years old. Much like Gros Morne National Park, Torngat features sweeping fjords, dramatic mountain peaks and stunning coastline complete with icebergs visible in the distance. In the springtime, the fields are in full bloom with brilliant shades of gold, purple, and blue wildflowers. In the winter, the skies put on their own light show that’s visible for miles around. While the park is open throughout the year, the Torngat Mountain Base Camp and Research Station is open to visitors and overnight guests primarily in late summer. During that time, visitors are encouraged to use the base camp as their home away from home and explore the park for four to seven-day day excursions.
Just You and the Bears
Up in these parts, animals far outnumber people. Polar bears are some of the most common mammals to roam the shores in the summertime, but you’ll also be able to spot caribou in the fields, seals sunning on the rocks, and whales swimming in the distant ocean. No need to worry about cozying up with the bears at night. The base camp is fully equipped with an electric fence to keep the big guys out. If you want to go on a hike, a “bear guard” is there to accompany you to ensure safety.
"Place of Spirits"
The landscape will entice you, but it’s the people that will make you want to stay in Torngat. The Inuit tribe has been drawn to the divine power of the land for more than 7,000 years. As if to reinforce the point, the name “Torngat” literally means “place of spirits.” You’ll find several relics of ancient tribes who inhabited the land at various archaeological sites, learn the park is fully staffed by the Inuit, and meet many locals who are direct descendants of the tribe as well.