A Central Adventure

The backcountry of Central Newfoundland has always been known for its beautiful landscape. With hundreds of KMs of trails to explore the region has blossomed into a prime destination for ATV enthusiasts. Riding parties from across the island and outside the province are a familiar scene in Summer and Fall in Gander. The Town also hosts Quad-A-Palooza a major ATV event every September.

ATVs parked at the Quality Hotel & Suites in Gander

As an ATV-friendly community, Gander is the ideal home base for an offroad adventure. The town’s trail network provides access around the community and links directly to the Provincial T’Railway system. Local hotels such as the Albatross Hotel and Quality Hotel & Suites can access the trail network right from their parking lots and have convenient drive-up rooms available.

With more trail connections being developed it is now possible to completely ride around the historic Gander Lake.

On a full-day journey, you will experience breathtaking scenery, unique locations, plane crash sites, and NL wildlife.

GPS map of the ATV trails around Gander Lake

Estimated Ride Time

The journey around Gander Lake covers approximately 207 km.

With many locations to explore set aside a whole day for this adventure.

Please note cell service is sporadic for most of the trip. A GPS, spare batteries, and extra fuel are highly recommended.

Check out www.crossingnewfoundlandbyatv.com A great resource for trip planning for riding in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gander to Appleton and Glenwood

The first leg of your journey will see you travel west on the NL T’railway 25 KM to the communities of Appleton and Glenwood.

Through Appleton, you can check out the Derm Flynn River Front Peace Park. Located on the banks of the Gander River it was partially built with donations from the “plane people” who spent time in the community during 9/11. The park is home to a piece of Word Trade Centre Steel. A great stop for a photo op!

World Trade Centre Steele at the Derm Flynn Rover Front Peace Park in Appleton, NL

Crossing the 2nd largest Railway Trussel in the province you enter the community of Glenwood. Be sure to stop off at Johnny’s Gas Bar. Located adjacent to the railway it’s the perfect place to fuel up, grab lunch, and get your lotto tickets.

Crossing the railway trussel on ATV in Glenwood, NL

On Route to Igloo City

Once departing Glenwood, you can take the Bowater Resource Road which is a wide woods road or a more scenic route along Gander River.

For the more scenic route turn left after you pass the trussel which will follow Main Street through Glenwood until it turns into a gravel road (referred to by locals as “16”). (Note: For this option, a good GPS will come in handy and map out your route beforehand).

Careless Cove is a great laydown area along this scenic route by Gander Lake. A short path takes you to a beach. A great place for a boil-up!

ATV parked on the beach in Careless Cove.

Igloo City

A slight detour off your route brings you to the next point of interest the unique cabin country referred to as “Igloo City”. This favourite getaway spot for locals consists of many old buses converted into cabins. There is even a community hall in the middle of the settlement. Definitely, a must-stop to check out these creative pieces of architecture.

Northwest Gander River Steel Bridge

Leaving Igloo City and heading back South and to the right, you will now journey across the Northwest Gander River steel bridge. A great location to get some really nice pictures of the river. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, eagles and other wildlife that frequent this area.

An eagle on a tall tree in Central NL

Sabena Crash Site

As you continue along the transmission line keep an eye to the left for a small sign indicating the entrance to the Sabena Crash Site.

The short trail into the site can be rough so may be a good idea to park your machine and hike in to view the wreckage.

In September 1946 the Sabena Airlines Douglas DC-4 left Shannon Airport, Ireland en route to Gander, Newfoundland.

The plane was carrying 44 people and was scheduled to land at Gander International Airport on the morning of September 18th but unfortunately crashed 35 km south of Gander.

The plane crash is accepted by many to be the first major civilian airliner crash in history. 27 people were killed in the crash while 16 passengers and one crew member survived.

The recovery mission was the first time in the world that helicopters were used in search and rescue operations.

Those who died in the crash were buried on-site in a cemetery created next to the plane’s remains. The cemetery was named St. Martin-in-the Woods after Dr. Samuel P. Martin who was the first medical doctor on the site.

Parts of the plane such as the tail fin and the structure of the fuselage still remain intact today.

A memorial plaque has been erected as a remembrance for those who lost their lives. 

Riverhead Bridge Road

Continuing along the transmission line East toward Gambo you will get to the Riverhead bridge road turn-off. Be sure to stop and get some pictures of the amazing gorge here.

Your next landmark will be the Riverhead bridge. This is a very high steel bridge and is where area 42 hunting area (Gambo) breaks off from area 27 (Terra Nova).


From here you travelled the A & D road towards Gambo pond and the community of Gambo. Gambo pond is a popular cabin destination for locals. There is some gorgeous scenery around the pond.

Nightscape at Gambo Pond

The A & D road provides a nice drive along Gambo Brook and into the community. While in Gambo you can check out the Smallwood Interpretation Centre and learn more about their most famous resident the 1st Premier of NL Joey Smallwood.

As you travel through town you will drive past South End Gas and Convenience so a great spot to refuel.

The trail through the community also passes directly through the “Village Green” a beautiful park with picnic tables. An ideal spot for a relaxing lunch.

The Road back to Gander

In Gambo, you will once again connect with the NL T’railway which will take you west back to Gander.

Just before you reach Gander you will drive through the small community of Benton. There is a great photo stop along the way here as a local resident here has a beautiful mural on their fence of a train from the old NL Railway.

Also if you have time in Benton a visit to Blossom Antiques & Collectables is an interesting stop. For fans of shows like “American Pickers”, this will be a memorable experience.

Return in the Winter

As much fun as an ATV ride from Gander can be, a return trip for snowmobiling in winter should also be on your to-do list.

With an average annual snowfall of approx. 430 cm and over 600 km of groomed trails in the Gander area, it’s the perfect place for a winter adventure.

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An ATV Ride Around Gander Lake


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