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Western Brook Pond

At Out East Adventures, in collaboration with BonTours, we're thrilled to offer captivating hiking experiences at Western Brook Pond. Tailor your adventure with a challenging 1-day trek or enjoy a more leisurely exploration with our extended 2-day hike, giving you extra time to soak in the stunning surroundings. For the bold explorers, our rugged 4-day backpacking journey awaits, ensuring there's a perfect trail for every adventurer.

Day Hike

1 Day

From 325

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Overnight

2 Days

From 495

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Long Range Traverse

Backpacking Trip

4 Days

From 1595

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  • 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.
  • 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?
    Yes! 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: - Hiking Boots - Hearty Lunch - Warm sweater - Rain Gear - Active clothing (no cotton!) - Backpack - 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Is lobster available for purchase in the area?
    Yes, Lobster is available at the Rocky Harbour fish plant.
  • Are Laundry Services available?
    Yes We charge $5 per load.
  • Are pets allowed at the B&B?
    Yes. 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.

The Trail
(1 day and 2 day options)

Distance: 18km (6km access trail + 12km Backcountry)

Difficulty: 5/5

Length: 10-12 Hours (Day hike)

Phase One: Through the Valley
3.5km, 175m elevation, avg slope: 5%

The Landslide Bypass & Moose Meadow

 

This stage is relatively easy and begins with a gentle grade as we move up into the forest. Less than half a kilometre off the boat we need to bypass a landslide that happened in the winter of 2022. This section of trail is rough but is a good introduction into what the more difficult phases will be like.

We then pass through "Moose Meadow” - a giant meadow with a pond in its centre - before entering the forest again. Early in the season, or after heavy rainfall, the pond in the middle of Moose Meadow can get so large it encompasses the entire meadow and we may be forced to bushwack in very rough terrain along the steep sides of the valley for a short distance before getting back to our normal route.

Over the Rockslide

Sometime during the winter of 2018, an avalanche and rockslide occurred which caused major changes throughout the valley, including to our trail. As we make our way uphill, we slowly emerge onto a massive rocky debris field. While this field has stabilized in that it is no longer sliding, it does present us with very unstable footing. We have
created a small path through this, and your guide will explain where to walk, and to use caution in where you step, as many of the rocks are loose. Due to some loose rocks, this section is difficult and is an opportunity for anyone who is uncomfortable with the terrain to turn back.

Into the Forest & Through the Rivers

On descending from the rockslide back into the forest we are quickly met with the first stream crossing. Throughout this section we will be crossing back and forth across a
river bed at least a dozen times. The conditions for this section are highly dependent on recent weather. This can either mean it will be completely dry or have waist deep water running through it. Water shoes or sandals are not practical, due to the number of crossings we may need to do. If there is water in the gorge, we're going to get our feet wet, there is no avoiding it. This is part of the experience!


Phase One finishes at a natural spring which is a great opportunity to stop for a short rest and refill our water.

Stage Four: The scramble

As we pass the river crossings, the route begins to get steadily more and more steep while we wind our way through the forest. 

We finally emerge from the tree cover at the base of a waterfall where we stop for an extended break. This is a time to re-evaluate ourselves, our energy levels and decide whether to press on. We do often get people that choose to remain at the waterfall rather then push on ahead.

From the waterfall to the viewpoint is when we tackle the scramble which covers 2/3rds of the elevation over 1/3 of the distance. This is the steepest section by far. This is not a true climb as we are in the forest the entire time and there no sheer cliffs or any special equipment needed. With that being said, it is as steep as you can get without being a climb. 

This section can take between 30 and 60 minutes.

The View

Finally we emerge on to a rocky clearing and are immediately rewarded with one of the most stunning views you can find on the east coast of North America. 

The valley of Western Brook Pond opens up below you. The winding fjord and it's steep cliffs provide the backdrop as life seems to stand still for a moment.

 

You've earned this.

Here we catch our breath and settle in for lunch. We aim to spend 45 minutes at the viewpoint, so we have time for a big lunch.

Keep in mind we are only half-way finished with the hike.

Returning Home
Walk into the Dock 
3km, 30m elevation, avg slope: 1%

The Western Brook Pond tour begins with a 3km walk into the boat dock. This trail is a gravel road over mostly flat terrain. We make a couple stops on the way for pictures,  interpretation, and this is a great chance for the group to get to know each other.

 

Once we arrive at the dock we take a break with the last chance to use a flushing toilet. 

 

From here we take a 30 minute ride on our high speed shuttle boat into the back of the gorge.

 

The Western Brook Pond Gorge is best described in 3 stages, The first of which begins as soon as we get off the boat into the backcountry.

Phase One: Through the Valley
3.5km, 175m elevation, avg slope: 5%
The longest - but easiest - phase of the hike

The Landslide Bypass & Moose Meadow

 

This stage is relatively easy and begins with a gentle grade as we move up into the forest. Less than half a kilometre off the boat we need to bypass a landslide that happened in the winter of 2022. This section of trail is rough but is a good introduction into what the more difficult phases will be like.

We then pass through "Moose Meadow” - a giant meadow with a pond in its centre - before entering the forest again. Early in the season, or after heavy rainfall, the pond in the middle of Moose Meadow can get so large it encompasses the entire meadow and we may be forced to bushwack in very rough terrain along the steep sides of the valley for a short distance before getting back to our normal route.

Over the Rockslide

Sometime during the winter of 2018, an avalanche and rockslide occurred which caused major changes throughout the valley, including to our trail. As we make our way uphill, we slowly emerge onto a massive rocky debris field. While this field has stabilized in that it is no longer sliding, it does present us with very unstable footing. We have
created a small path through this, and your guide will explain where to walk, and to use caution in where you step, as many of the rocks are loose. Due to some loose rocks, this section is difficult and is an opportunity for anyone who is uncomfortable with the terrain to turn back.

Into the Forest & Through the Rivers

On descending from the rockslide back into the forest we are quickly met with the first stream crossing. Throughout this section we will be crossing back and forth across a
river bed at least a dozen times. The conditions for this section are highly dependent on recent weather. This can either mean it will be completely dry or have waist deep water running through it. Water shoes or sandals are not practical, due to the number of crossings we may need to do. If there is water in the gorge, we're going to get our feet wet, there is no avoiding it. This is part of the experience!


Phase One finishes at a natural spring which is a great opportunity to stop for a short rest and refill our water.

Phase Two: The Incline Begins
1km, 100m elevation, avg slope: 10%
The incline - and the heard rates - start to increase
 

As we pass the river crossings, the route begins to get steadily more and more steep while we wind our way through the forest. The terrain underfoot remains difficult, with more roots and rocks to navigate.
 

We finally emerge from the tree cover at the base of a waterfall where we stop for an extended break and usually have our lunch. This is a time to re-evaluate ourselves, our
energy levels and decide whether to press on. We do often get people that choose to remain at the waterfall rather than push on ahead.

 

There is a small perch accessible from here that gets above the treeline and does offer a similar - but not as spectacular - view of the gorge.

Phase Three: The Scramble
0.75km, 150m elevation, avg slope: 20%, max slope: 40%

Time to dig deep, get dirty, and help each other to the top
 

From the waterfall to the viewpoint is what we call “The Scramble”, where we will cover almost a third of the entire day’s elevation in well under a kilometer. This is by far the steepest section, however it is not a true climb as we are in the forest the entire time. There are no sheer cliffs or any special equipment needed.

 

With that being said, it is as steep as you can get without being a climb requiring equipment. This section can take between 20 and 40 minutes.

The View

Finally we emerge onto a rocky clearing and are immediately rewarded with one of the most stunning views you can find on the east coast of North America.

The valley of Western Brook Pond opens up below you. The winding fjord and its steep cliffs provide the backdrop as life seems to stand still for a moment. You've earned this.


Here we catch our breath and settle in for lunch. We aim to spend 45 minutes at the viewpoint, so we have lots of time for photos and a chance to take in the moment.
 

Keep in mind we are only half-way finished with the hike.

Returning Home

This part of the hike is often overlooked, but it is one of the most important parts.
 

Reaching the viewpoint is only the halfway point, we still need to go back the way we came. This means we need to keep our energy levels up.

 

Eating a decent lunch, snacking along the way and drinking plenty of water are all vital parts of this hike.
 

We have had clients that have metaphorically crashed on the way back down due to a lack of energy. Most people will burn an additional 2000 - 3000 calories during a day of
heavy exercise, and that energy needs to come from somewhere.


We aim to be back to the parking lot by around 6:00PM (for the 7AM tour), 7:00PM (8AM tour) or 8:00PM (9AM tour), however this can vary based on the speed of the
group and the conditions for that day. Please keep this in mind, especially if making dinner reservations, or if you have a long drive.

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