Grey River is a tiny town of 104 people (2016) on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. Grey River is one of the last traditional outport villages in Newfoundland that seems like it has stayed largely the same despite many changes. It can be reached only by ferry or by helicopter.
It’s in what seems to be the “flattest side” of a mountainous, deep reach where it is protected from the ocean. The most remote river on the island of Newfoundland, Grey River is reachable as a 60-minute helicopter ride over wilderness. When entering Grey River by boat, visitors will find a picturesque community surrounded by towering mountains on three sides.
Fishing has long remained the main industry in Grey River with the salmon fishery becoming an economic backbone for the community. Since the 1960s and 1970s, residents have increasingly returned to the salmon fishery for income. The scallop fishery also proposes a viable fishing alternative.
Grey River is on the northwest side of Jerts Cove, east of Ramea, about a mile within the inlet. The town's livelihood depends primarily on salmon and scallop fisheries. Its population is in decline, having lost 18% of its people from 2011 to 2016.
The community offers amazing scenery as a small passageway leads into the settlement from the bay. Grey River shores are steep and bold. Between two mountains, a small shelter offers protection from the large amount of winds which often stop the ferry service from running on schedule. These hills reach an elevation of 199-305 metres or 1000 feet and are great for climbing. In the winter, they make a perfect trail for sliding and skiing.
The settlement was first named Little River. A severe measles outbreak occurred in the early 1900s. Settlers wired a doctor at St. John's to request advice and medical supplies. The dispatch was sent to Little River on the north-east coast instead of this settlement on the south-west coast. As a result, there were quite a few deaths and the name was changed to Grey River to prevent similar happenings.
Accessible only by boat or helicopter, Grey River has a deep harbour navigable year-round and a helipad which provides landing space for helicopters.
- MV Gallipoli, toll-free: +1-888-638-5454. Provincial ferry, two or three runs daily depart Burgeo (on Route 480) to the island community of Ramea but only a few Tuesday and Thursday runs continue onward to Grey River. One-way end-to-end crossing time is three hours. One-way: adult $8.25; child, student or senior $4, vehicle $17.25.
- MV Marine Voyager, ☏ +1 709 729-3835, toll-free: +1-833-653-3779. Sa Su M W F and the 2nd and 4th Tu of each month, ferry leaves from Burgeo to Grey River at 1:45PM (2 hr), and then from Grey River to Francois at 4:45PM (1 hr 45 min). One-way: adult $8.25; child, student or senior $4.
- Old tungsten mine. You can easily find pyrite, or fool's gold, amongst the rocks at the mine entrance.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 5:12PM local time and lasts almost two minutes. The chances of a clear sky are 20%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio, straddling the Canada–New England border, then across Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
The Grey River Fjord runs past the community and then separates into three river systems:
- North East Arm is a popular salmon fishing river. The shore leading to North East Arm is suitable for hiking.
- South East Arm offers lush green forest, rugged mountains and sandy beaches. In some areas, the beaches stretch out for a mile at low tide.
- North West Arm is best known for big game animals, especially moose and caribou.
Whale and iceberg watching, skiing or snowmobile riding are common winter activities. Snowmobile trails lead to the top of the hills that surround the community; in summer, these are good for hiking.
Fishing, hunting or visiting the beaches are popular in summer.
Atlantic salmon fly fishing, an angling method which catches fish with artificial lures as distinct from live or dead bait, is the main attraction at Grey River. Many tournaments and activities are held in June. The water is just deep enough, just away from the land enough, and just right for the sport.
- Rose's General Store, Main St, ☏ +1 709 296-3131.
- Riverside Convenience and Liquor Store, Main Road near the ferry ramp, ☏ +1 709 296-3111. Daily 9AM-noon, 1-9PM. date
Both lodges provide meals for their guests.
Cod, moose, caribou, rabbit.
Many Newfoundlanders habitually drink tea and Carnation milk (some people drink coffee, but don't expect it). Inviting someone in for a "cuppa tea" is an excuse to have a friendly chat.
- 1 Grey River Lodge, 22 Riverview Drive, Shoal Harbour, toll-free: +1 800 563-4900. Two large, modern, cedar log lodges on the Grey River system with experienced cooks and guides primarily serve fly fishers, hikers and explorers.
- Young's Outfitting Lodge, ☏ +1 709 296-4109. Salmon lodge on the Grey River, seven miles from the village, experienced guides, home cooked meals, accommodates up to 10 anglers.
There is a post office (postcode A0N 2L0) which accepts mail for the 49 houses and two businesses in the village.