DescriptionThirty-five kilometres (22 mi.) northwest of Deer Lake on Hwy. 430, Gros Morne National Park covers some 1,805 square kilometres (697 sq. mi.) in the Long Range Mountains on Newfoundland's western coast. Plate tectonics created the park's landscape and glacial erosion sculpted it to its present condition. Of the many lakes and fjords, Western Brook Pond is the most striking, with cliffs rising to 686 metres (2,250 ft.).
Baker's Brook Falls, St. Pauls Inlet, Gros Morne Mountain and the Tablelands on the south side of Bonne Bay also are impressive. Due to its outstanding natural beauty and geological significance, the park was proclaimed a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site in 1987. Other remnants of the area's turbulent geologic past include the volcanic cliffs at Green Gardens, the limestone breccia of Cow Head, bogs and sand dunes.
Though now mostly wilderness, the park area was home to two pre-European cultures, the Maritime Archaic Indians and the Dorset Eskimos. Vikings may have visited the park area around A.D. 1000; however, the first confirmed visit by a European was that of Jacques Cartier in 1534.
Typical wildlife includes moose, woodland caribou, foxes, snowshoe hare and squirrels. Less frequently sighted are black bears, beavers and lynx. Whales also are seen in nearby waters. More than 200 species of birds have been seen in the park, including gulls, terns, ducks, bald eagles, warblers and rock ptarmigan. More than half a million pairs of blackpoll warblers breed in the park, making this species the park's most abundant bird.
The area's varied bedrock, soil and elevation have created an environment where diverse plant communities, from seaweeds on the seashore to tundra-like vegetation on the mountain plateau, can exist. Facing the sea along the coast are wind-shaped and stunted balsam fir and spruce, called tuckamore for their dense, compact form. Peatlands cover most of the coastal plain, while spruce, fir and birch trees cloak the mountain slopes.
General InformationNote: Visitors may encounter construction zones and limited services while the park undergoes infrastructure rehabilitation; phone ahead for updates.The park is open all year. The visitor center is open daily 8-8, late June-early Sept.; 9-5, mid-May to late June and early Sept.-late Oct. The Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse is open daily 10-5:30, June-Sept.; Thurs.-Mon. 10-5:30 in late May and early Oct. The Broom Point Fishing Exhibit is open daily 10-5:30, June 1 to mid-Sept. Phone ahead to confirm schedules.
Hwy. 430, the major west coast highway known as the Viking Trail, traverses the park. Hwy. 431 branches off Hwy. 430 to the communities of Woody Point and Trout River.
There are 20 hiking trails within the park, ranging from a half-hour stroll down Old Mail Road, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi.) north of Cow Head, to a strenuous 3-day traverse through the Long Range Mountains. Well traveled is the Green Gardens Trail, a walking trail along the coast, 10 kilometres (6 mi.) southwest of Woody Point off Hwy. 431.
In addition to hiking, park activities include camping, picnicking, fishing and cross-country skiing. Overnight back-country camping requires a permit, and fishing is subject to national park regulations; contact the park visitor center or local merchants for details.
Outdoorsy types aren't the only ones drawn to the park. From early June to late September arts aficionados gather in Cow Head for the Gros Morne Theatre Festival, which features theatrical performances and traditional Newfoundland music.
The visitor center near Rocky Harbour features a video theater, nature exhibits and information about park facilities. Park interpreters conduct various interpretation programs from late June to early September. A schedule of programs is available at all park facilities.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the park is free in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. Otherwise, admission mid-May through Oct. 31 is $9.80; $8.30 (ages 65+); $4.90 (ages 6-16); $19.60 (family, up to seven people arriving in a single vehicle). Rest of year $7.80; $6.80 (ages 65+); $3.90 (ages 6-16); $15.70 (family, up to seven people arriving in a single vehicle).
PETSPETS are permitted in the park but must be restrained at all times. They are not permitted on the top of Gros Morne Mountain or on the Western Brook Pond boat tour.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendent, Gros Morne National Park, P.O. Box 130, Rocky Harbour, NL, Canada A0K 4N0. Phone (709) 458-2417, (877) 737-3783 for camping, or TTY (866) 787-6221 in Canada for camping in season.
Things to SeeBonTours
GEM DescriptionLocated in the Long Range Mountains on Newfoundland's western coast, this national park is home to many lakes, fjords, cliffs, mountains, peatlands and sand dunes. Beavers, moose, squirrels, snowshoe hare and more than 230 species of birds inhabit the area.