We visited this park for sightseeing and camping in late July and fell in love with the awesome scenery and geological education that we received. Our trip consisted of arriving at Gros Morne to camp for one night, heading up to L’Anse aux Meadows/St. Anthony for one night, and then returning to Gros Morne to camp for another night.
To start, Gros Morne is a big park, it takes about two hours to drive from the southern to northern boundary. Approaching the park from the south, we turned off on route 431 to head to the Woody Point interpretation centre. We first watched the film, which was a good aide in wrapping our minds around what the park had to offer, and then went through the extensive interpretation display that largely centers around the geology of the area. My son enjoyed the display which illustrates how a glacier wears down the ground underneath. The centre has a nice lookout, great for photos. We decided to purchase a Viking Trail Pass (which covers the Gros Morne entry fee, and admission to Port au Choix Historic Site, L’Anse aux Meadows, Grenfell Historic Properties, and Red Bay.) I was not going to be going to Red Bay, but I was going to camp at Gros Morne for two nights, so it made sense to buy it. Honestly, when times starts to pull on you, you can be tempted to skip an attraction, but this pass pushed me to see them all, and I am really glad that I did.
A big concern was to choose our campsite, since we were going to use one of the first-come, first serve type of campsites. The guide helped us with our choice, it was Trout River, which requires a drive past the Tablelands (which is so interesting), the trail for Green Gardens, and a stone’s throw away from the little town of Trout River. You pay for your campsite once you get there, after choosing your site. There is a nice comfort station with showers and a kitchen. Firewood is for sale at $6.50 a bundle. The sites are lovely, and there is a lovely view from a point in the park. My phone was not picking up their wifi or phone access (depends on your supplier, I think), and there is no phone at the registration booth, but I found a diner in Trout River that had a computer offering free internet access which saved me – at least I could warn my family that I would not be calling very often, if at all. We had a peaceful night sleep, this was not a noisy park for us.
The next morning, we made our way north. As a camper who was not cooking, I was grateful to find a place to get a morning coffee, and I found it a Crayley’s in Wiltondale at the junction of route 431 and 430. It seemed to offer everything – cabins, restaurant, liquor store, gas station, souvenir shop and, importantly, coffee. Very friendly service, I stopped by on the way back as well.
Heading up north, there are various points of interpretation to stop the car, read the boards, and take photos. I found the mountains to be breathtaking, and particularly so when we were passing Western Brook Pond and its fjords. I did the boat tour years ago, so I know how stunning that experience is, and figured if we could work it in, we would do it on the return trip. But if you have never done it, it is a highlight.
On our return to the park, however, the weather had turned, and it was pouring rain. By about 5pm we were reaching the park and decided on Green Point campground. We did peek into Shallow Bay campground and did a little tour around the campsites, but honestly, what was available was a little too exposed for our liking. Green Point offered sites with privacy. You could see that some of the sites looked like they gave out onto the seashore, but it was hard to tell in the rain. We ate our supper from our hamper in the car, sucked it up and in a break in the rain, set up our tent. There is nothing like sleeping with the raindrops on your tent – as long as you are dry you are happy. An air mattress makes a big difference too!
The next morning, it rained as well, which threw our chance of doing the Western Brook Pond tour, which required a 45 minute walk just to get to the site. So we headed to the Rocky Harbour interpretation centre to take a look. It seems smaller than the Woody Point centre, and does not offer the same geological information, but does provide films, some interpretation, and two very large stuffed animals – a bear and a moose – where a person can have their photo taken. (When I say stuffed, I mean ‘teddy bear-stuffed’ not ‘taxidermy-stuffed’.) I really enjoyed the film on hiking and camping in the backcountry of Gros Morne, that was VERY interesting. We made a quick visit to the Norris Point ‘Photographer’s Lookout’ which was nice even in the rain – I took some photos of the fog eerily creeping up the hills. I can find beauty in any weather, I think.
There is so much that we could have done that we did not do, and it cries out for a return trip. There are numerous trails that I would have liked to do, including Green Gardens and the one near Green Point. I would have liked to take my son on the Western Brook Pond boat tour, but I don’t think he would have thought it was so much fun on a rainy day, so we will save that for another visit. All in all, I am thrilled that I was able to experience two campsites, see both interpretation centres and learn a lot from them, and take in the scenery. Gros Morne, I shall return.
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