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Gros Morne National Park: Fascinating Insights

The most famous park in Canada is Gros Morne, National Park. The French translation of its title is “big mountain standing alone.”

You can locate the park on the west coast of Newfoundland. The park occupies 1,805 sq km, therefore, after Torngat Mountains National Park, this national park is considered to be the second-biggest in the Atlantic Canada area.

Gros Morne National Park is counted among the Long Range Mountains and the outer Appalachian Mountains. They run towards the length of the west coast of the island. It is considered the eroded version of a mountain range formed some billion years ago.

In 1987, the park was classified as a World Heritage status by UNESCO because the park sets a unique instance of the continuity of continental drift where deep ocean crust and mantle rocks lie came out.

All About Gros Morne National Park 

Geographical Formation of Gros Morne National Park

The formation of the rock of Gros Morne park was done by Robert Stevens and Harold Williams. It has been possible due to the oceanic crust and mantle rock enclosure process of tectonic plates. There has also been a contribution of sedimentary rocks formed during the process. 

Unique examples of monumental earth building and alteration forces can be found in this comparatively small area. They are unique in their clarification, expression and effortless accessibility. 

You will get to see a range of geological events, taking place when the old continental margin was modified due to the plate movements because of which a large portion of the oceanic crust was displaced. 

You can even consider this park as an example of glaciation in an island world. The collection of fjords, waterfalls and different environmental structures in the park leads to the formation of an alluring landscape. 

This place has been called the Humber zone because it has the largest subterranean massif.

The Precambrian bedrock is famous because it has the Long Range Inlier, etc. which are some million years old. Along with Gros Morne, you can also find Big Level mountains in this Inlier.

Devonian and Ordovician thrust faults have led to the formation of the western boundary of this region. You would even get to see the crystalline rocks of the Cambrian Ordovician rock of carbon, etc. 

Along the coast of West Brook Pond to Humber Arm, you will get to see the Rocky Harbon melange which is a lower-middle Ordovician arrangement of different kinds of rocks. 

Photo by Eric Mclean from Unsplash

Witness the Varied Wildlife

The moose, a robust species that was brought to Newfoundland around 1900, constitutes the most renowned species in the park.

Adding to these species, the park is home to black bears, snowshoeing hares, red squirrels, mink, riverside beavers, otters, and foxes.

Harbour seals are in the bay of St. Common Pauls and cetaceans (minks, humpbacks, fins, pilot whales, killer whales, white-beaked dolphins, and porpoises) can be found in the area, especially during the humpback season in early summer.

Take a stroll into the alpine highlands, where arctic hares and ptarmigan live on the tundra.

Flora of Gros Morne National Park

There are both deciduous and spruce-fir forests on the rocky cliffs. There is tundra vegetation towards the plateau above.

Tundra vegetation has developed and ranges from small areas of coniferous forest and stunted krummholz forest to bare, fragmented rock fields (felsenmeer).

Gros morne National park
Photo by Matt Hanns Schroeter from Unsplash

The wide variety of bedrock types, favorable soil, exposure and elevation near the ocean created conditions for about 36 different vegetation types and communities with 711 vascular species and 401 bryophytes representing about 60% of Newfoundland’s island flora.

You will also find over 400 species of lichens along with Nearly 100 vascular plant taxa have been identified as significantly rare. 

Inland communities include bogs, river alder alnus sp. thickets, sedge meadows, and mosaics of carex spp. with American larch larix laricina scrub.

Black spruce P. mariana dominates moist, oligotrophic sites and balsam fir occurs in more sheltered and mesic areas.

The coastal plain of black spruce and American dwarf larch inhabits exposed moraines, which in the exposed and unstable areas give way to heath wastes with alpine bearberry Arctostaphylos alpina, alpine azalea Loiseleuria procumbens and needlegrass Diapensia lapponica.

Climate at Gros Morne National Park

gros morne national park
Photo by Krista Kankula on Unsplash

The weather here is very indecisive, the climate in the low-lying portions of the coastal belt and the mountainous areas of the hills differs significantly. Be prepared for the worst. If you are not properly equipped, hypothermia can easily occur on backcountry trips.

Spring comes late to Newfoundland. Many hiking trails remain partially covered with snow until May. The summit of Gros Morne is closed until July 1 every year.

July and August bring warmer climates. The average daytime temperature ranges between 16–25 °C (61–77 °F), with a drop of at least 5 °C at night. Depending on the winds, the temperatures here can change instantaneously. It can be 2 to 4° colder at high altitudes and 10° colder with the wind.

On an average, rainfall occurs every two days in summer, and the weather in September and October is pleasant to visit. Expect snowfall at higher altitudes at the end of September.

January to March is a good month for cross-country skiing. When there is a lot of snow, mountain skiing may be possible through late April or early May.

Amazing Things to Do

1. Go for Gros Morne Mountain Trail

The mystery of the mountain, which is often covered in clouds or cloaked in mist or snow, is reflected in its name: Gros Morne the great lonely mountain. In honor of former British PM James Callaghan’s environmental initiatives, the route was designated after him in September 1976.

This 806m high, flat-topped mountain is a patch of arctic tundra far south of its usual range. Rock ptarmigans, arctic hares, and woodland caribou once lived in peace in this region, but nowadays a trail ascends to the summit of this landmark.

Landscapes of the steep fjord extremities of Bonne Bay and the U-shaped basin of Ten Mile Pond, two stunning glacially sculpted landscapes, are visible from the hilltop. The trailhead is 7 km south of Rocky Harbor on Route 430.

2. Embrace Baker’s, Brook Falls

Baker’s brook falls
Photo by C1ri from Pixabay

In a balsam fir forest, this 10-kilometre walk leads to Baker’s Brook Fall, a collection of cascades that stream over limestone peaks. The forest is regenerating from the impacts caused by wind, pests, and severe moose grazing at various stages of regrowth.

During the trip, stop by the “moose ex-enclosure” to compare the recovery of the plants within and without the ex-enclosure.

Continue the walk downriver from the river’s bank to a viewpoint overlooking a big cascade that resembles a stairway.

3. Visit Rocky Harbour

The Rocky Harbour is situated in Newfoundland close to the west shore in the middle of the park. The main town in Gros Morne National Park, Rocky Harbor is ideally situated for exploring the World Heritage Site.

Although fisheries and the timber business have played a significant role in the town’s heritage, Rocky Harbor has evolved into a popular tourist destination.

You may utilize Rocky Harbour as your main hub whilst discovering the many ethnic and recreational activities that the region has to offer thanks to its strategic position in Gros Morne National Park.

Rocky Harbour, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence’s entrance to Gros Morne, is 1 hour and 30 minutes north of Corner Brook and serves as the ideal starting point for discovering this mesmerizing national park’s untamed beauty.

4. Explore Lobster Cove Head in Gros Morne National Park

Lobster Cove Head is much more than a lighthouse it is a living history, Lobster Cove Head offers trails that take you into Tuckamore’s coastal environments and woodlands.

These are some of the top spots in the park for kite flying, whale watching, and taking in the spectacular hues of the setting sun.

Lobster cove head
Photo by Eric Mclean from Unsplash

Explore inside the century-old lighthouse, which was formerly used as a beacon to securely direct fishing boats and sailing ships to Bonne Bay. 

The rebuilt exhibition showcases the locals and their history and includes old photos, folk song tapes, and lamp keepers’ journals. Hike around the headland and explore the winding trails of the Tuckamore Woods. 

5. Stroll around Trout River Pond in Gros Morne National Park

In the park, close to the Tablelands, lies a little rural fishing community called Trout River.

George Crocker and his family first founded Trout River in 1815, and they remained its only inhabitants up until 1880.

Highway 431 provides transportation to the area. The mountains are a constituent of the park, only ten minute drive from the river.

This city is known for its sunsets over the water and its boardwalk.

To conclude…

Gros Morne National Park will satisfy your cravings for diverse panorama of beaches and marshes along with towering fjords and moody mountains.

Explore the coastal paths and comb out of the sea stacks. You can also take out time to go through the unusual steep-sided Western Brook Pond gorge. Meet moose and caribou. Another way to explore this area more is to view the dense coastal settlements’ cultures.

Connections among plant distribution, living organisms, and flora patterns have been established through studies of the dispersion of phytogeographical divisions and life-form divisions of the vasculature flora.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • To do Gros Morne justice, plan on spending at least 3 days here. (A week would not be too much if you’re a serious hiker.) The dramatic terrain throughout the park is on a scale big enough to be appreciated even if you never even get out of your car.
  • Gros Morne National Park is a place to go whether you’re heading out for a Sunday drive or a weekend getaway. There are so many spectacular sites to see the entire drive along the winding coastline and mountain’s edge.
  • Gros Morne National Park is located on Newfoundland’s west coast, 30 minutes from Deer Lake airport and a four hour drive from the ferry at Port aux Basques.

Suggested reading: Chena Hot Springs.

Things to Know About Gros Morne National Park

Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by somya909