Located just outside the town of Cow Head at the northern tip of Gros Morne National Park is Shallow Bay. The park operates a campground here and there is a day use center located next to the beautiful sandy beach at Beldowns Point.
The beach spans the full 3km shoreline of the bay. Many people like to leisurely stroll along the beach or enjoy a nice picnic but Shallow Bay offers plenty of adventure potential as well and is a great place for swimming, snorkeling, or diving. The shallow clear water also makes the bay an ideal place for sea kayaking.
You can put in at the campground or the day use area or at the wharf on Cow Head Peninsula and paddling north usually will give you the wind at your back. There is no shortage of interesting things to see in this area as well. Belldown's Island is a protected nesting site for Arctic Terns who have the longest migration of any bird, traversing between the Arctic and the Antarctic every year. These acrobatic little seabirds are sure to put on a show as they plunge-dive into the ocean in search of fish. There is plenty of other sea life as well including several other species of seabirds, seals, and just offshore, whales. Although not as common during the busy summer months, moose and caribou are sometimes seen along the shore as well.
The best short route in Shallow Bay includes putting in at Belldown's Point and paddling around Belldown's Island. From here you can paddle north along the bay sometimes in the shadow of the towering sand dunes on shore. The beautiful clear water gives a great view of the undersea environment. At Lower Head at the far north end of the bay the shallow water again meets with the cold deep waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and should be the turn around point for all but very experienced paddlers.
The return trip is 6km and can be done in 2-4 hours depending on wind. You can also combine this route with a paddle around Cow Head Peninsula to make it a full day excursion. The bay is also back dropped by the Long Range Mountains making a spectacular spot to enjoy mountains and ocean in one place.
Shallow Bay is a beautiful paddling destination and offers plenty of services for visitors. There is a rich historical and ecological significance in this area and the Park has erected several interpretive signs in the Shallow Bay area to educate visitors and enhance their experience. It does tend to be quite windy in this part of Newfoundland so be cautious whenever heading out. There is no problem finding a good landing if the wind becomes too strong
Shallow Bay is located just outside of the Town of Cow Head which is at the northern tip of Gros Morne National Park. Just follow route 430 (viking trail) from Deer Lake north to Cow Head. aprox 1 1/2 hrs.
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