Gros Morne National Park



This park on the west coast of Newfoundland, 265 mi/425 km northwest of St. John's, has sensational fjords, mountains (and mountain climbing), bays, hiking trails and fishing—it's similar to the Highlands area of Scotland and parts of Norway and is 10 times older than Canada's Rocky Mountains.

The fjord scenery is found at Bonne Bay and especially Western Brook, which presents the most dramatic scenery in the park: 2,250-ft-/685-m-high cliffs that stretch along the water for 10 mi/16 km. Boat tours can be taken on both Bonne Bay and Western Brook Pond, and both offer the opportunity to view moose, caribou, beavers, lynx, whales and a variety of birds.

The Tablelands in the southern part of the park are a geologist's dream: They showcase an upwelling of the Earth's mantle caused by the collision of the continental plates. Deposits of peridotite—a substance toxic to most plant life—keep these mountains bare. They are a rich source of fossils, which is one of the reasons the park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Across the road is an excellent, easy walking trail at Green Gardens where it's not uncommon to share the path with a moose.

The park's visitors center is located at Rocky Harbour. During the summer, the staff conducts evening programs, informative hikes and an outdoor theater. At Woody Point, you can learn about the park's natural history at the interpretation center. Camping, swimming and fishing are available in the park, and there's also a playground. During the winter, the park provides groomed cross-country ski trails.

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