Frequently asked questions
Western Brook Pond
Can I bring my child in a carrier?
Unfortunately we do not allow infants or toddlers in child carriers on the Western Brook Pond tours.
The terrain in the backcountry is exceptionally rugged, there are places where we need to remove our backpacks to fit through, and there are several sections that are either very steep or have very loose footing. On top of this we will also be crossing rivers and streams that could be knee deep and fast flowing.
These factors all combine to make an unsafe environment to bring children in carriers.
Can I do the hike without a guide?
The only way to do the hike without a guide is to do the Northern or Long Range Traverse, which are 2-3 days and 3-5 days respectively.
Due to the steep sides of the gorge, GPS devices are unreliable and the valley itself is notoriously difficult to navigate. Experienced hikers likely won't have much trouble getting to the top, but it's very easy to take a wrong turn and add an hour or three on to your day.
This is not much of an issue, except that the trail is only accessible by boat across a 16km long lake with unreliable conditions. BonTours only operates their tour boats from 10am to 5pm. If you take the first boat in, it takes an hour to get across the pond to the start of the trail - that means you only have 6 hours to do the hike (and that's only if there is a 5pm boat, which is not guaranteed since that one is based on demand). If you do happen to get turned around and delayed even by half an hour you are in there for the night, possibly longer if bad weather sets in. Therefore the only feasible way to do the WBP hike in one day is to have a shuttle boat dropping you off and picking you up.
This is one of the main reasons that Parks Canada requires everyone venturing into the gorge to either have a guide or as part of one of the multi day hikes, either the Northern Traverse or the Long Range Traverse. Guides also help minimize environmental impact, carry all of the necessary safety gear, and have pre-established safety/rescue plans with Parks Canada in case of a mishap.
All multii-day hikers are also required to complete an orientation with Parks Canada at least 1 day prior and pay for the necessary boat fees and backcountry passes.
Are children allowed on the hike?
Provided they are 7 years or older and
want to be there.
The hike is long and does require stamina, but Kids that are active and having fun usually do very well, sometimes even better than their parents!
With that being said, as with most things about kids it depends on their attitude.
If your child dosen't want to do the hike and is being dragged along, then it will be a bad day for everyone.
When do you start running tours?
Our start date in June is often hard to pin down. This is due to the amount of snow in the valley which is dependant on how heavy a winter we have and how early spring comes around. Our goal is to begin tours around the 20th of June.
In 2017 tours started on June 17th, while in 2018 we started on July 1st.
How hard is the hike?
If you are an active hiker and have a high level of fitness, this will be a challenging but rewarding hike.
If you are not an active hiker and have a moderate fitness level, then it will be a very difficult hike. We will be walking over a rocky field with unstable footing, we'll be climbing over and under rocks, stepping over fallen trees and there are some sections that are extremely steep.
We've had many people say this was the hardest thing they've ever done in their lives, but not a single one of them regret doing it.
The day is quite long and we are moving at a fairly swift pace since we are squeezing 16km of trail, a shuttle boat ride, lunch and rest/interpretation stops into 10 hours. There is a lot of loose terrain on this trail and good balance is essential.
For those familiar with the park, the WBP day hike is the same difficulty level as Gros Morne Mountain, while being a completely different experience.
You can see a full description
What kind of footwear do I need?
Hiking boots with ankle support are strongly recommended.
Please keep in mind that there is a strong chance we will be getting wet on this hike. We will be crossing a stream bed a dozen times, and it is impractical to bring wet shoes just for the crossings. If the water in the gorge is up then we will be getting wet regardless of footwear.
Fashion footwear, dress shoes, sneakers, etc, have a strong chance of being ruined if worn.
Sandals and high heels are strictly not allowed.
What do I need to bring?
There is a short list of things all clients need to bring on the hike. These include:
- Warm sweater
- Rain Gear
- Active clothing (no cotton!)
- 1-2 Liters of water
Is lunch included?
Day tours do not include lunch or snacks, but they can be purchased for $15.
We do require 24 hourd notice for all packed lunches.
A large, hearty lunch is strongly recommended. Due to the length and difficulty of the day we will be burning plenty of calories, so a big lunch is needed to keep our energy levels up.
Overnight tours include all meals and snacks.
Is there an age limit for hikers?
Yes, We have an age limit of between 7 years and 65 years.
This is a soft limit, if you are an exceptionally active person that fits outside this range we may be able to make an exception for you.
Give us a call at 1-877-458-2373 to discuss.
What is the cancellation policy?
Clients have the option to cancel their hike with no charge for any reason up to 24 hours before the start date.
If BonTours/Out East Adventures Cancel the hike, you can either receive a full refund, or reschedule your tour for another date.
We will do everything we can in order to reschedule your tour if cancelled, including running a second or third tour to accommodate everyone.
What is the best day to do the hike?
If you're in the park for a few days then we recommend booking the hike earlier on your trip. This way you have a chance to reschedule in case we have to cancel due to poor weather.
Do tours still run in the rain?
Yes. As any Newfoundlander can tell you, our weather is unpredictable at best. This is especially so in the mountains. Local forecasts predict weather for the low, coastal towns, they do not predict for the mountains and hills further inland.
Weather in the valley can change drastically and instantly. Many times we'll start with a wet rainy day and by lunch time the clouds lift and we'll get a peak at that million dollar view. Fair warning though - The reverse happens just as much.
For this reason we prepare for the worst and bring warm clothing and rain gear with us, even on a sunny day. We will also start the tour even in the rain and fog, provided it is safe to do so.
Gros Morne National Park
Where is the nearest Airport?
Deer Lake Airport is a 1 hour drive from the Rocky Harbour/ Norris point area.
How far is it between Norris Point and Rocky Harbour?
Norris Point and Rocky Harbour are a short 10 minute drive apart.
Is lobster available for purchase in the area?
Yes, Lobster is available at the Rocky Harbour fish plant.
How far is it to St. Anthony from the Park?
St. Anthony is a 4 hour drive from Rocky Harbour.
There are plenty of things to see along the way though, so we recommend taking a full day for the drive.
Are Laundry Services available?
We charge $5 per load.
Are pets allowed at the B&B?
We are a pet friendly establishment and have a friendly labrador retreiver that lives on the property.
Are Pet sitting services available?
We may be able to offer pet sitting services upon request.
Send us a message to find out more.