If you've been following along with my Newfoundland adventures, you'll know that Newfoundland is filled with so many jewels of nature, from beautiful ocean views and ecological reserves to puffins. But did you know that Newfoundland is also home to a fjord?
The Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park was carved out by glaciers billion of years ago, and there are beautiful cliffs towering over 600 metres high on either side. On a clear day, the reflections of the cliffs on the water looks stunning, but on a cloudy, foggy day, there is an air of mystique to the area.
Getting there: Hiking or a Boat Tour
For those of you who are more active or have the time to hike, you can hike to get some incredible views of the fjord. If you've Googled photos of this magical place, the iconic photos looking down at the fjord from a higher angle were taken from a spot from the hike. There are two options if you'd like to hike - a one day hike, or a longer multi-day hike AKA the Long Range Traverse. The one day hike is guided and takes about 8 hours to complete, while the Long Range Traverse is strictly for experienced hikers and if you're looking to go on this adventure, Parks Canada requires that you meet with a warden in advance to prove that you have the navigational knowledge needed to safely complete the hike. For more information on both of these options, click here.
For those of us who are less fit or are not wanting to hike, you can take the boat tour into the fjord. They make it easy for us in that there is only one company who runs this tour so you don't have to go through the hassle of trying to pick the best one. That said, because it's the only tour, it is very popular so book your spot in advance and also try to get there a little early to get a good spot on the boat. The boat tour takes you to the end of the fjord and back in 2 hours. Here's all you need to know about the boat tour!
Before the Boat Tour
Before you get to the boat, you have to walk 3km or ~45 minutes to get to the dock. The trail is mostly flat and takes you by some bogs. There are signs along the way so you can learn about the area. At the end of the walk, you'll come to the ticket office, where they also sell some hot food and drinks. On a chilly day out, you'll definitely need a hot chocolate or chowder to warm up after the boat tour. The chowder is amazing - I highly recommend it!
Quick tip: While the walk to the dock is mostly flat, there is a small section at the end that does require a little bit of uphill walking. It's a small stretch but could be difficult for those with mobility issues. Fortunately you can borrow a wheelchair from the Gros Morne Visitor Centre. Try to book it ahead of time though since there was only one available when I visited.
The Boat Tour: What to Expect
With tours, I find that the tour guides make up a lot of the experience. The tour guides of this particular tour were extremely informative and talked us through how the fjord came to be as well as introduced a number of points of interest. They were also a lot of fun, singing traditional Newfoundland tunes and encouraging the rest of us to sing or play along with spoons!
Quick tip: The captain does a great job of turning the boat around at various points of interest so that you can get great shots from whichever side of the boat you sit on!
Enough of my blabbing, here are some of the sights you'll see!
Beautiful Rock Formations
As you can probably already tell, the day I went to the Western Brook Pond, it was pretty foggy. I loved seeing the fog roll over the tops of the cliffs.
You'll also see a lot of evidence of the process of glaciation on the boat tour. The formation below shows us what the Western Brook Pond would look like if all the water was emptied out of it. It was also carved out by a glacier and has the U-shaped valley and steep sides typical of the result of this process.
Your guides will also point out some other interesting rock formations, such as The Old Man in the Mountain below. Can you spot him?
The boat tour takes you by a number of waterfalls, each more beautiful than the next.
Near the end of the fjord, you'll come across the most awe-inspiring waterfall of all, the Pissing Mare Falls. This waterfall cascades down from over 350 meters high, making it one of the highest waterfalls in eastern North America.
If you're lucky you might also spot some caribou on your boat tour. A couple we met at our bed and breakfast in Bonavista saw one at the water's edge and they said it was magical!
I really recommend joining the Western Brook Pond boat tour. It makes the fjord so accessible, even to those of us who don't want to hike. The Western Brook Pond is a highlight of both Gros Morne National Park and Newfoundland as a whole, so don't miss it!
Want to get here?
Remember to book your tour in advance here!
Hours and admission: You can find the current hours and pricing here.
Address: The parking lot is along Route 430. If you search for Western Brook Pond Trail on Google maps, it'll take you close by.
Getting here: You'll have to drive to the parking lot, then walk the 3km trail to get to the dock.
Estimated time to spend here: ~4 hours (2 hours for the tour, and 1 hour walking there and back)
Quick disclaimer: I was not paid to advertise or write about the Western Brook Pond boat tour. I just wanted to share my experiences!
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