Stop In Grand Falls Windsor On A Newfoundland Road Trip

Visit The Salmonid Interpretation Centre

Stop In Grand Falls Windsor Newfoundland.jpg

Plan To Stop In Grand Falls Windsor On A Newfoundland Road Trip

On our drive through Newfoundland, we planned a one night stop in Grand Falls Windsor. It broke up our driving in Newfoundland. And provided a fascinating visit to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre.

Our ferry to Newfoundland docked in Port aux Basque. The drive from there to our stay in St. John’s was about 700km (435 miles). We wanted to enjoy the scenery along the way. So planned an intermediate stop and meandered at our own pace.

We initially considered Cornerbrook but that did not really split the driving difference. In the end we booked in a small family run hotel in Grand Falls Windsor.

We were curious about the name of the town and found that it was the result of the joining of two separate towns. In 1991, Grand Falls and Windsor voted to amalgamate and officially became Grand Falls Windsor. This made it the largest town in the central region of Newfoundland.

An Overnight Stop In Grand Falls Windsor

As we drove to Grand Falls Windsor, we got a variety of landscape views in Newfoundland. On the early part of the drive, the Newfoundland fog still hugged the landscape. But as the fog cleared, we soon learned why Newfoundland was referred to as “The Rock”.

Road Trip Fog.jpg

Road Trip Fog.jpg

Road Trip Rocks.jpg

Our one night stop in Grand Falls Windsor was at Hotel Robin Hood. We booked late and there was only a smaller room on the lower floor available. It was fine for one night. But for a longer visit we liked the spacious accommodations they had in the Sherwood Suites rooms.

Hotel Robin Hood.jpg

We were dismayed when we found that there were no reservations available in any of the suggested restaurants in town. We finally just got in the car and went searching. A fast food restaurant by the highway was not really what we wanted.

As we wandered on our stop in Grand Falls Windsor, we saw a little of town. We caught our first sight of the colourful houses we later found when we explored in St. John’s. The local war memorials were found in a park.

Town Houses.jpg

Town War Memorial.jpg

Town War Memorial.jpg

Head To The Salmonid Interpretation Centre

The one thing we wanted to visit in Grand Falls Windsor was the Salmonid Interpretation Centre. We followed our GPS to the site.

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

The route crossed a small bridge over the river. We stopped and looked down at the water for a first sign of Atlantic Salmon. But saw no activity. We chased views of salmon again when we headed to Vancouver Island in the fall.

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

We knew the Rivers Edge Grill was onsite and wondered if they had room for two people with no reservations. Luckily it was almost empty and we had a great dinner. Even if they served no salmon! But David had his second moose dish on this trip. The first was a moose burger on our stop in Port Aux Basque. Here he had “Moose Mess”. This was sort of like poutine with shredded moose, cheese, wieners and gravy. It filled the spot!

Rivers Edge Grill Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Rivers Edge Grill Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

From the Rivers Edge Grill we got our first view out to the Grand Falls.

Rivers Edge Grill Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Views Of Grand Falls

After dinner we wandered down the hill and got a closer look at Grand Falls from several different vantage points. We followed the viewpoint sign and saw the water as it cascaded over the rocks.

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

From the viewpoint, we looked downriver on the Exploits River. White water rafting trips used the rough waters we saw. Far in the distance we just made out a group geared up to head out on the water.

Dam and Grand Waterfalls Exploits River.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls Exploits River.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls Exploits River Rafting.jpg

The Salmon Ladder

The Salmon Interpretation Centre provided exhibits on the history, biology, ecology and habitat of the Atlantic Salmon. A guide showed people around when we were there.

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

We got a view out over the salmon ladder. We knew that the salmon on the west coast died after it swam upstream and spawned. So we were fascinated to learn that the Atlantic salmon did not die after spawning but went up and down the salmon ladder many times. When we looked carefully we saw the salmon as they belly crawled or leaped up the steps.

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

Salmonid Interpretation Centre.jpg

A close up look at the Atlantic Salmon provided a fun stop in Grand Falls Windsor.

Exploring The Property

We walked back up the hill and wandered around the property. We found another viewpoint upriver of the dam and saw the river and falls from this spot.

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

Dam and Grand Waterfalls.jpg

Our visit to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre was a fascinating stop when we explored Newfoundland for a week.

We Enjoyed A Short Stop In Grand Falls Windsor

We had a long driving day from our stop in Grand Falls Windsor to St. John’s. Our host at the Hotel Robin Hood suggested that we detour and visit Fogo Island. Sadly we did not have time for that stop. One our our readers also suggested we visit Trinity and Bonavista along the route. But we left that for a day trip on our stay in St. John’s.

We were glad we planned a stop in Grand Falls Windsor. It was the perfect spot to break up our drive in Newfoundland. And we enjoyed our time as we explored the Salmonid Interpretation Centre.

Next time we visit Newfoundland, we might plan a longer stay in Grand Falls Windsor and use it as a base to explore more this this central part of Newfoundland.

Have you stopped in Grand Falls Windsor? What did you find to see and do?

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78 Comments

  1. The island of Newfoundland is an amazing place to visit. Remember that you WILL need more time than you realize. Ensure you try fresh moose meat too!

  2. This leisurely exploration of Grand Falls Windsor is exactly the type of experience I love to enjoy. It looks like a beautiful little town that’s off the radar! You’ve found a great place to dine with a view of the falls at Rivers Edge Grille. (They’ve definitely named that dish appropriately!) Seeing the salmon spawning is pretty cool, too – even better that the salmon ladder helps extend their live. Yay! Always wanted to get to Newfoundland is this will make a great stop along the way.

    • We wish we had planned a longer stop in Grand Falls Windsor. Our hotel host had so many great suggestions for thing to do in the area and we just did not have enough time. We were glad we found a tasty meal after all the restaurants in town were booked. And with a view too! We even learned a bit about salmon. Definitely a good stop on a road trip in Newfoundland. Hope you get to visit one day.

  3. What a lovely place to stop at. I like that there are so many places from where you can see the Great Falls Windsor, from different angles, allowing you to see how big it actually is. I find the Salmon Interpretation Centre very interesting, it must be fascinating to learn and then see the salmons going up the river.

  4. Your trip to Grand Falls Windsor, on Newfoundland road trip is full of amazing vistas especially the fog wrapping the Newfoundland landscape. Watching the Salmon ladder at Salmonid interpretation center is a wholesome experience, something I would love to experience. Great to learn that Atlantic Salmons don’t die after spawning, the unlike other Salmons.
    And the view of the Grand Falls from River’s Edge grille and the Moose mess platter looks really tempting.

  5. It’s sometimes a little sense of adventure when things don’t go as planned. Hotel and restaurants- who would have thought they would be booked? But the waterfalls make a lasting memory don’t they? Nfld is still on my list to go.

  6. You had a fabulous Newfoundland Road Trip. If the hotel’s name is Robin Hood, this argument is enough for me to stay in it! Also, as I love photographing waterfalls, I would like to see Grand Falls Windsor. And the Salmon Interpretation Centre seems worth a visit as it provides exhibits on the history, biology, and habitat of the Atlantic Salmon, which is the most delicious salmon for me.

    • I am sure you would love a visit to Grand Falls Windsor. We wished we stayed longer in this part of Newfoundland on our visit. Next time! We too love the salmon.

  7. There are a couple of things I’d love about Grand Falls Windsor. Already the sceneries are great – the mountain on the first pic looks almost like a copy of Mount Fuji 😉 Then, there is the hearty food – for how many people was that plate?!? Also, I love visiting places where they explain how food is produced – in this case it’s fishes and not just some produce, but still, it’s good to know where quality food comes from and how much work it is and why it’s worth it to pay a bit extra. Very nice post!

  8. Those falls look absolutely gorgeous! Seems like such a cool area to visit and explore, thanks for putting it on my radar!

  9. Getting close to the Grand Falls Windsor appears to be tough. It’s amazing that there is also a restaurant (Rivers Edge Grill) where you can dine and enjoy the falls from afar, not to mention their food looks delicious! The Salmonid Interpretation Centre was another perfect feature. I’m hoping to take a Newfoundland road trip and see these spectacular scenery soon.

    • I hope you do get to Newfoundland and plan a stop in Grand Falls Windsor. We were happy to have such a tasty meal before we enjoyed the Salmonid Interpretation Centre.

  10. I love your series of posts on Newfoundland. Thanks to your photos I too now understand why it’s called the Rock. Not finding restaurants, esp. when you’re in smaller towns & faraway places is something I dread. I was in one such situation with my toddler and we had to get a taxi to the next city! Good to know you can head to the waterfalls right from River Edges Grill.

    • I am happy to be sharing all our great experiences in Newfoundland. It was a real treat for us. We too now better understand why it is called The Rock. We had fast food options but were glad we got a much better meal at the Rivers Edge Grill.

  11. Grand Falls looks like an awesome stop on a Newfoundland road trip! The views of the falls are really lovely, and the Salmonid Interpretation Centre sounds very interesting!

  12. Watching the life of salmon from documentaries always fascinated me. I know I will enjoy a visit to Salmon Interpretation Center in Grand Falls Windsor. Too bad there’s no salmon when you were eating at the on-site restaurant, but David’s Moose Mess from the other restaurant looks interesting. I would like to give it a try.

  13. Wow loved this article. Full of very informative tips and info. This place looks wonderful to spend some quality time in the nature

  14. Great Post ! I have read your other posts which are really informative for any traveler. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful informative information on the blog. Articles that have meaningful and insightful comments are more enjoyable.

  15. Finally saw scenes of Newfoundland, the only province we haven’t visited in eastern Canada. Love that yellow house, the salmon ladder, and Grand Falls. That resto gave you such good views already!

  16. What a neat trip! The views walking along Grand Falls is gorgeous. I’d be excited to see the salmon at Salmonid Interpretation Centre as it’s amazing to watch them swim up the ladders. I saw this up in Oregon and loved it!

  17. Wow! The view is wonderful. We have been to Newfoundland twice but we never had to chance to stop and explore Grand Falls Windsor. We’ll make sure to drop by next time. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and hopefully, they have salmon available when we visit.

  18. Grand Falls really does look grand, and I love those fabulous rock formations around that falls. It is so, sooo cool to see the salmon ladder in use too!

  19. Who would have thought that you will end up discovering something great? I am glad you said not to the fast food restaurant in favour of the “Moose Mess”. I would love to try it, same for the poutine.

  20. Loved reading about your trip in Newfoundland. I’ve never had Moose before, I found it interesting that it was offered in so many places. Sorry to hear that many of the places were booked, but you still had a lovely time!

    • We learned some lessons about stops in smaller towns on our visit to Newfoundland. Several times we found lots of food places closed. Better research or reservations would have helped.

  21. That Salmonid interpretive center looks so interesting – makes me want to go explore some of the ones near us here in the Pacific Northwest. I love how the town got its name too – people are so funny sometimes. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and fun places!

  22. I can’t wait to make it over to Newfoundland and explore its unique points of interest. This looks like the perfect place to stop!

  23. I’ve never had moose before, but I would also have liked to try the salmon! Grand Falls looks like an interesting place to explore and your great post is filled with lots of information.

    • David had not tried moose before this trip but he sure got a few chances. Mostly we did search for great seafood! Grand Falls Windsor was a great stop for sure.

  24. This seems an unforgettable place to stop and discover! Nature is absolutely phenomenal! Also, I love how is written the article, all the information is provided! Great job

  25. What a pretty place to visit in Newfoundland. I love fresh salmon, especially Atlantic, so it would be interesting to learn more about it. The yellow house and scenery is so pretty too!

  26. What a beautiful outdoorsy locations! I’d love to learn more about salmon. My friend’s family are fishermen in Alaska, so it would be interesting learning about salmon in the Atlantic!

  27. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I want to get up to Newfoundland. Hopefully soon. The scenery looks much like washington State but more rugged. And yes, Moose Mess would be something I would try!!

  28. Newfoundland looks like an excellent travel destination. I especially like view to Exploits River. Amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Love reading all your road trip posts. I have only been to Toronto and really want to explore more. Newfoundland particularly appeals – maybe next year!

  30. I have enjoyed learning about salmon in Seattle and Alaska, and I’m sure I would have liked this experience too. And too funny the restaurant didn’t actually serve salmon! I have only visited Toronto and Victoria in Canada, and really want to explore more when I get the time. Your blog always makes me want to visit 🙂

    • I hope you guys do get to plan a long road trip to Newfoundland. We had 10 days and enjoyed every stop. We were so happy we planned a stop in Grand Falls Windsor. It broke up a very long drive day. And offered some great spots to see. And our host said there was ton to see if you stayed there and did some day trips.

  31. Having grown up in Seattle, I am familiar with visiting salmon ladders and other spawning grounds. It would be really cool to learn about Atlantic salmon at the Salmonid Interpretation Centre. I am always so surprised to see such dramatic rocky and mountainous landscapes in Eastern Canada and I think that alone would be reason enough to check out this region. Also, the moose mess sounds and looks so delicious! I would order that in a heartbeat!

    • We too have chased salmon runs on the west coast so we could not pass this chance to see the salmon ladder at Grand Falls Windsor. And a tasty dinner was a bonus!

  32. Looks like a great trip! I’m from Manitoba, live in New Zealand now but I haven’t yet visited the east coast- would love to! Although I’m really loving the mountains, the Canadian shield is pretty spectacular!

    • We have spent a lot of time on the west coast in Canada. So it was great to spend more on the east coast and discover coastlines like the Ovens Natural Park.

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