Gros Morne National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Gros Morne National Park protects an area of impressive natural beauty, rural Newfoundland culture, and unique geological wonders. The park's namesake mountain, Gros Morne, is the second highest point in Newfoundland at 806 metres.
Gros Morne National Park was created in 1973, and received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987.
The park is located in the Long Range mountains, an extension of the Appalachian chain running up the west coast of the island of Newfoundland. The landscape of the park is mountainous and rugged, and has a number of interesting geological features, including a number of fjords and the barren Tablelands.
The climate in this part of Newfoundland is on the cool side of temperate - daytime highs are around 20 degrees Celsius in the summer and -5 in the winter. Annual precipitation is just over 1300mm.
Most visitors to Gros Morne will probably either fly in to the airport at Deer Lake, about an hour away, and rent a car there (a number of major rental companies have a presence), or take the ferry from North Sydney in Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques. Note that reservations for the ferry are essential.
There is a daily entrance fee for the park, as well as additional fees for camping, backcountry hiking, and so on.
A car is probably the most convenient way to get around - the park is huge, and things are far apart. Biking may also be an option, if you don't mind lots of hills.
Be careful if you choose to drive at night - moose are often spotted on the roads in Newfoundland, and collisions are common. An adult moose can weigh well over a ton, and hitting one at highway speeds is likely to be fatal. Moose are most active around dawn and dusk, so be vigilant if you're driving at those times.
The landscapes in Gros Morne are breathtaking. Even the views from the roads around the park can be pretty impressive.
There are lots of great hiking trails in the park, ranging from fairly short, relaxing walks to the challenging climb up Gros Morne mountain. Don't miss the Tablelands, and the view from the top of the mountain really is worth the hike.
The boat tour on Western Brook Pond is worth taking (it's seasonal, though).
Explore the villages and towns within the park - there are lots of small shops and restaurants.
Handmade wool clothing (especially socks) is ubiquitous.
Seafood! There are restaurants in Trout River, Woody Point and Rocky Harbour. Try cod tongues if you get a chance.
Beer is available in convenience stores - look for something made by the Quidi Vidi Brewery if you want to try something local.
B&Bs are amazing in Newfoundland. Just ask around and don't be shy. These are great people, you often feel like you are visiting family.
There are a number of B&Bs, motels and hotels in the various towns within the park.
Parks Canada maintains five campgrounds located throughout the park. The services available vary campground to campground, but may include toilets, showers, hot water and kitchen shelters.
There are a number of primitive and backcountry campsites scattered around the park - reservations through Parks Canada are often required. Backcountry hiking and camping requires additional fees and permits.
Encounters with wildlife can be a real concern, even on short, front-country hikes. Bears, moose, caribou and other large animals are common in the park, so be sure you know what to do should you run in to one. Ask the park staff if you're not sure.
Some of the hikes in the park can be challenging, and weather conditions can change rapidly. It's a good idea to always carry plenty of water, some food, and rain gear.
- Corner Brook, the largest town on the west coast of Newfoundland, is about a 90 minute drive to the south.
- L'Anse aux Meadows, the site of the first Viking landing in the New World, is several hours drive to the north along route 430.