Trip Number: 12230A
Staff: Marleen Fouché
- Hike coastal and forest trails in a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Kayak on a magnificent bay guided by a marine biologist
- See abundant and beautiful flora and fauna
- Take a boat trip through a majestic fjord
- Seven nights in attractive lodging in the park
- All breakfasts, lunches, and trail snacks
- All on-trip transportation
Photo: Marleen Fouché
A jewel in the Canadian parks system, Gros Morne National Park was honored
with UNESCO World Heritage designation in 1987 for its magnificent scenery and
unique geology. Located on the westernmost coast of Newfoundland, the park encompasses
700 square miles of pristine wilderness that is simply stunning, with beautiful
bays and headlands, dramatic glacier-carved valleys and fjords, lush forests,
cascading waterfalls, and picturesque coastal towns.
We'll enjoy the best that the park has to offer as we hike along its coast
and bays, through forests, atop arctic barrens, and to lakes and fjords. In
addition to our hikes, we'll take a boat tour through a 10-mile fjord, kayak
on Bonne Bay with a marine biologist, visit coastal fishing villages, and learn
about Gros Morne from Parks Canada naturalists.
Caribou, moose, whales, seals, porpoises, arctic and snowshoe hares, beaver,
and red fox are plentiful and frequently sighted in the park. Over one hundred
species of birds nest in Gros Morne and an additional hundred species migrate
through the park.
Day 1: We'll meet in Deer Lake at 10 a.m. and load up the
vans for the hour-long drive to Gros Morne National Park. We'll have lunch on
the Parks Canada Discovery Centre deck that overlooks Bonne Bay and talk about
our week, meet one another, tour the natural history exhibits, and browse the
well-stocked bookstore. After we settle in at Red Mantle Lodge, we'll drive
to the fishing village of Trout River, where we'll walk along the harbor and
on the headlands for beautiful coastal views. Distance: three miles, mostly
flat. Dinner is at the Seaside Restaurant in Trout River.
Photo: Marleen Fouché
Day 2: We'll hike the coastal areas of Green Gardens, where
the dark greens of sea meadows and forest contrast with the stark black of volcanic
cliffs and sea stacks. After climbing through forest, we'll drop down to the
beach for a long lunch, a leisurely beach walk, and tidepool viewing. Distance:
6.5 miles, 1,000-foot elevation gain. Walk through the picturesque town of Woody
Point before dinner at the Old Loft restaurant. We'll stay overnight at Red
Day 3: We'll start the day enjoying an excellent interpretive
talk on geology and plants by a Parks Canada ranger, as we hike through the
starkly beautiful landscape of the golden-orange Tablelands, the earth's exposed
mantle. Distance: two miles, flat. Following the Lookout Trail with its sweeping
views, we'll climb to a plateau then walk through a wildflower-studded meadow
to reach the top of Partridgeberry Hill. From there we'll be treated to a panoramic
view of Bonne Bay, the Tablelands, and the towns of Woody Point and Norris Point.
Distance: 3.5 miles, 1,000-foot elevation gain. Dinner is at the Seaside Restaurant.
We'll stay overnight at Red Mantle Lodge.
Day 4: After driving to the northern part of the park, we'll
hike through forest and along the coast from Broom Point to the mouth of Western
Brook. Distance: 2.5 miles, mostly flat. We'll take a short walk to the Broom
Point Fishing Museum to hear an interpretive talk about the canning and fishing
industry along the coast. Later, we'll walk along the broad white-sand beach
of Shallow Bay, bordered by high dunes and forest. Dinner is at Shallow Bay
Motel. We'll stay overnight at Shallow Bay Motel.
Day 5: We'll hike through the forest and climb to the top
of Gros Morne Mountain to be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of the
park, with Bonne Bay and Ten Mile Pond far below us. Distance: nine miles, 2,400-foot
elevation gain. Alternative hike: Hike to the base of Gros Morne Mountain, then
return and hike to Berry Hill Pond, a beautiful lakeside trail with abundant
wildflowers and views of Gros Morne Mountain in the distance. Then drive to
Martin's Point to walk along a beautiful beach and see the 100-year-old shipwreck
of the SS Ethie. Dinner is at Shallow Bay Motel, Gros Morne Theatre Festival.
We'll stay overnight at Shallow Bay Motel.
Photo: Marleen Fouché
Day 6: Today, we'll hike 1.8 miles on a beautiful trail to
the boat dock to take an interpretive boat tour of the magnificent, glacier-carved
fjord of Western Brook Pond, a 10-mile-long, land-locked freshwater lake that
is home to Atlantic salmon, brook trout, and arctic char. Looking up at the
towering cliffs, we'll see dramatic rock formations, waterfalls, and nesting
birds. We'll return by hiking back out the 1.8-mile flat trail. Visit Lobster
Cove Head Lighthouse to view the historical displays of Newfoundland's fishery
and explore the nearby tidepools. Dinner is at Java Jacks. We'll stay overnight
at Neddies Harbour Inn.
Day 7: In the early morning, we'll kayak on Bonne Bay at Norris
Point with an experienced guide. Novice and experienced paddlers alike will
appreciate this unique perspective of the surrounding mountains, forests, and
coves. Our guides will help us identify the bay's marine life, and with luck
lead us to close-up views of bald eagles and whales, which are normally in the
bay during summer. After kayaking, we'll walk over to the Bonne Bay Marine Station
and Aquarium for a guided tour. After lunch on the edge of Bonne Bay at our
inn, we'll hike through forest to the spectacular Baker's Brook Falls. Distance:
six miles, with little elevation gain. Dinner is at Neddies Harbour Inn. We'll
stay overnight at Neddies Harbour Inn.
Day 8: On our last day together, we'll eat breakfast, then
leave from Neddies Harbour for Deer Lake airport at 9:30 a.m.
On the first day of the trip, we'll meet at 10 a.m. in Deer Lake. There are
nonstop flights to the Deer Lake airport from Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.
A passport is required for travel between Canada and the United States. The
leader will send out a list of Deer Lake lodging to participants.
Your flight on the last day should depart no earlier than noon. We'll be glad
to drive you to the airport that morning. Our last night's lodging is about
one hour from the Deer Lake airport. If you wish to catch an earlier flight,
there is (rather expensive) taxi service from our inn.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Marleen Fouché
We'll spend the first three nights in the southern part of Gros Morne National
Park at the Red Mantle Lodge in Shoal Bay. The lodge has spacious, attractive
rooms with views of the southern arm of Bonne Bay. Then we'll head to the northern
part of the park and spend two nights at Shallow Bay Motel at Cow Head. The
motel has attractive rooms that look out onto the lovely crescent of sandy beach
at Shallow Bay. Staying here, we'll be able to attend plays at the Gros Morne
Theatre Festival in the evenings. Our last two nights will be spent at Neddies
Harbour Inn, located on the eastern arm of Bonne Bay in Norris Point. We'll
enjoy its restful ambience, whether relaxing in our tastefully decorated rooms,
enjoying the expansive view of Bonne Bay from the sunny sitting room, or lounging
in the hot tub and sauna.
Our meals begin with lunch on the first day and end with breakfast on our last
day. Breakfasts, lunches and trail snacks are included in the trip price. We'll
all take turns preparing lunch and cleaning up afterwards. To sample the local
fare, we'll dine out seven nights at moderately priced restaurants. Fish and
seafood will be plentiful in Gros Morne's restaurants. We'll pay individually
for these dinners. Those who have special dietary needs should discuss them
with the leader before the trip. We'll pay individually for these dinners --
approximately CAD$30, depending on your appetite (excluding alcohol, but including
tax and tip). Those who have special dietary needs should discuss them with
the leader before the trip.
Optional activities: The two-hour interpretive boat tour of the fjord is $55.
The three-hour guided kayak is $60 and includes kayak rental and gear plus the
aquarium tour. If we attend plays or music performances, tickets are in the
Participants must be in excellent physical condition for this trip. On some
of the hikes, there will be significant elevation gain, and rugged terrain presents
a challenge as well. The trails are well-defined and well-maintained, but we'll
encounter some rocky terrain and uneven stretches, so hikers must be fit and
agile. We'll hike approximately eight miles each day at a moderate pace, with
enough time to stop and take in the wildlife, sweeping views, and wildflowers
(camera and binoculars are recommended).
Equipment and Clothing
Summers in Newfoundland are pleasant, but rainy days are possible, so waterproof
raingear and lug-soled, waterproof hiking boots are required for hiking. Dress
for the restaurants and the theater is casual. The trip leader will send out
a complete equipment list to all trip participants.
- Morgan, Bernice, Random Passage.
- Johnston, Wayne, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.
- Proulx, Annie, The Shipping News.
- Hubbard, Mina, A Woman's Way through Unknown Labrador.
- Wallace, Dillon, The Lure of the Labrador Wild.
- The Gros Morne National Park website at http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx
has a wealth of information on the park. A description of all the trails
and the Western Brook Pond boat tour, with pictures, is under Activities /
Hiking and Boat Tours.
- We'll be kayaking with Gros Morne Adventures. The photo gallery on their
website at www.grosmorneadventures.com
has some nice pictures of trails and places we'll be visiting. Click on
each of their "activities," and look for Photo Tour.
Photo: Marleen Fouché
Gros Morne National Park offers a true wilderness experience, but like all
well-loved parks, a delicate balance must be maintained between preserving the
integrity of the natural environment on the one hand while offering an enjoyable
time to visitors and accommodating local residents on the other. Parks Canada
has done a very good job with this balance. It strives to protect the natural
environment through scientific research and management while offering a variety
of high-quality recreational and educational programs to visitors. In this regard,
there are some interesting conservation topics, as mentioned below, that we
can take a look at on the trip.
When the park was first created, some compromise with already established land
uses was necessary. Limited timber harvesting for domestic use was allowed to
continue with controls to sustainably manage the harvest. Snaring of snowshoe
hares, a non-native species, was also allowed and scientists are studying the
degree to which native species are endangered by the snares. There is a constant
effort to work with local residents and owners of lands adjacent to the park
to generate support to preserve the natural state of the park.
While everyone loves to watch moose, at current population levels they are
overbrowsing the trees and shrubs in the park. Without management, this introduced
species will literally eat the whole forest. A significant decline in the numbers
of caribou has prompted studies to look into two potential causes for decline:
habitat damage and the resulting food loss and the increase in recreational
Rainbow trout, a non-native species, have escaped from aquaculture cages into
streams and lakes and threaten the native salmon and brook trout population.
Scientists are currently gathering data and working to manage the problem.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Marleen Fouché has led hiking and service trips in Newfoundland and backpacking trips in California. She views Sierra Club trips as a wonderful way for people to explore new areas and to enjoy the solitude of the outdoors with the companionship of a group.
Growing up in a remote Sierra Nevada village in California, Martha Schultz's love of wilderness was nurtured from an early age. She is an avid hiker, cross-country skier, and sea kayaker. Over the past 18 years, she has led several sea kayaking trips in Alaska and backpacking trips in California for the Sierra Club. She especially likes to combine traveling with outdoor adventure trekking in Nepal, hut-hopping in the Alps, or kayaking in New Zealand.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips