As you may know, I grew up on the West Coast of Newfoundland and for the first 35 years of my life, I never visited Gros Morne National Park. That all changed in the summer of 2014 when I first hiked Gros Morne Mountain. This year (2016) I did a repeat performance of Gros Morne Mountain, followed the next day by a relaxing boat tour in Western Brook Pond .
The parking lot for the Western Brook Pond trail head is much larger than expected (click here for a Google map of it) and at the time of our hike it was just about full with vehicles; washrooms are also present at the trail head. The hike is only 2.6 km and relative flat (see elevation profile below) with nice sections of boardwalk and information displays.
The Western Brook boat tour terminal (operated by BonTours) has a canteen that offers the usual canteen food such as sandwiches and soups. If the weather is suitable, the BBQ is fired up and very tasty sausage dogs (along with hamburgers and hotdogs) can be purchased for about $4. There are washrooms available at the terminal, gift shop, and very importantly, free WiFi. Tickets are purchased at the terminal, and they accept cash/interac/credit card. It should be noted that tickets can be purchased online, or reservations can be made via telephone (709-458-2016 or 1-888-458-2016).
I enjoyed the 2-hour boat tour more than expected. The tour guide was humorous, informative, and did a great job of providing geographic and local history and pointing out land features such as the many spectacular waterfalls. Also, being next to 600 m high fjord cliffs that formed about1 billion years ago provided a great sense of awe. The only negative points of the tour is that the boat felt overcrowded and some of the tourists were very aggressive for photo taking. Note that for the return trip to the boat terminal, no commentary by the interpreter is provided; traditonal Newfoundland music takes over the on-board speakers and washrooms are present on the boat.
For the cost of just $65, the Western Brook Pond Boat Tour is a wonderful way to spend a half-day in Gros Morne National Park. Definitely add this to your must-do list for Gros Morne National Park.
How to Get There: Drive along route 430, the trail head is 27 km past Rocky Harbour and the nearest community is Sally's Cove.
Trail Head Coordinates: 49.787329, -57.874467
Track (GPX): Click Here.
Track Distance: 2.6 km each way, very easy walking.
Elevation: Barely any change.
Time to Complete: The walking takes about 40 minutes each way, waiting to get on the boat may take up to 30 minutes, the boat tour is about 2 hrs long. Total time is about 4 hrs.
Cellphone Coverage: Yes, but very little on the boat tour.
Sheldon Huelin is a proud Newfoundlander and enjoys all things outside.