Nestled in the heart of Gros Morne National Park is one of the world's best kept camping secrets. Every visitor to the park visits the landlocked glacial fjord at Western Brook Pond but very few spend the night beneath the sheer rock cliffs at beautiful Snug Harbour. The 8km hike is fairly easy and the trail is good when dry but can get muddy during wet conditions.
The hike begins at the parking lot at Western Brook Pond, 10 minutes north of Rocky Harbour and is mostly boardwalk for the first 3km till you reach the pond. Here you branch to the left and cross the bridge at Western Brook. From here the trail winds through thick forest before coming out along the shore of the pond. The trail then follows the sandy beach for about a kilometer.
Western Brook Pond is an ultra-oligotrophic lake that has some of the cleanest water on the planet. I'm always amazed by the clear water I fill my water bottle with, and I never feel the need to filter this water before drinking. It's probably cleaner before you filter it anyway. It takes 15 years for the lake to recycle itself and for this reason leave no trace camping takes on extra meaning when you camp here. The lake is home to several species of fish and waterfowl, but unfortunately for sportsman fishing is not allowed here.
The last part of the trail again travels through spruce and balsam forest before you reach your destination at Snug Harbour. This little harbour is surrounded by sheer cliffs up to 600m high and features a great pebble beach for relaxing. You can swim here but the water is never warm, even in the hottest part of the summer. The campsite is truly primitive, as there are no platforms, but there is a bear pole for hanging food and a small bathroom off in the woods. You will see the remains of campfires, but they are not recommended at any time of the year.
The beach at Snug Harbour is also the beginning of the North Rim hike that traverses the northern shore of the lake. It is a 3 day hike that can be joined with the Long Range Traverse to make an eight day hiking adventure. I've hiked to the top of the trail but the view is mostly obscured by trees all the way up.
This hike offers a great overnight adventure for people of all skill levels. The view is spectacular and wildlife such as moose, bears, fox, coyote, ducks, and birds of prey are all common sights. Proper bear country tactics such as hanging food should always be practiced whenever you are hiking in the park.
For an extra reward you can also take the world renowned boat tour to the end of the fjord when you make your way back to the dock at the head of the lake.
The hike begins at the parking lot at Western Brook Pond, 10 minutes north of Rocky Harbour.
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Posted By: FOGGY
- Tue Jan 23 13:51:03 UTC 2007
UpsideThe water, the cliffs, the wildlife, everything is amazing. DownsideThere is no downside in this park, even the mosquitoes are bearable CommentIf you are going to go to Snug Harbour, I really recommend hiking to the top of the North Rim, the area abounds in wildlife, and though a bit of a climb it is worth it, especially on a clear day. You can easily get to the top and back down to your car in one day especially if you start from Snug Harbour.