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Exploring Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park offers some of the most scenic landscapes in Canada. A Western Brook Pond boat tour is the best way to experience it.

How to experience Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland with kids

A day after our disastrous hike through Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park, we were worn out and looking forward to a more relaxing day.

We planned our day around exploring another of the park’s must-see features. Beautiful Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park was our destination. My mom, who was accompanying us on our trip through western Newfoundland in Canada, joined us for a good breakfast. Once we ate, we loaded up the van and made the scenic drive from Rocky Harbour to the Western Brook Pond parking lot, and put on our hiking shoes for the walk ahead.

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What Is Western Brook Pond?

Western Brook Pond is an inland fjord located in Gros Morne National Park in Western Newfoundland. The magnificent landscapes of the park are part of what has made Gros Morne to be considered one of the most beautiful national parks in Canada. This stunning landscape is banked by the towering Long Range Mountains, which are the northernmost section of the famous Appalachian Mountains.

The towering cliffs that rise up on either side of the fjord can reach heights of 2,000 ft (600 meters) and include one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, the hilariously-named Pissing Mare Falls (1,150 ft or 350 m).

The fjord was cut from the mountains by melting glaciers. And the land beneath the fjord began to rebound from the weight of the ice, eventually cutting the fjord off from the North Atlantic waters. The salty water was naturally cleared from the fjord leaving fresh, clear water in its place.

Getting to Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

The lowlands hike at Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park is a very easy 2 km walk over well-maintained boardwalks and wide crushed stone paths. It was the polar opposite of the rough landscapes of the previous day’s journey. After leaving the parking lot, we were gifted with a stunning view over the lowland bogs to the cliffs over Western Brook Pond.

Low lying bogs give way to the Long range mountains at the tip of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

The water reflected the sky perfectly. Between the grass and the cliffs, we were excited to see what would come next. Our hike on the boardwalk was quiet. The kids running and exploring the edges, looking for any animals they could find. The peace was only interrupted by a few four-wheelers transporting the crew of the Western Brook Boat tour that we would soon be joining.

A young boy in explorer gear poses in front of Western Brook Pond in Newfounland

As the bog ended, the final half kilometer of the walk was through a very pretty forest. The forest had some fantastic old dead trees that were gnarled up into incredible shapes. Soon we arrived at the pier for the Western Brook Pond boat tour, where we got our first up-close look at the incredible cliffs of Western Brook Pond. My Mom and C had walked ahead of us as Christina, D and I took our time snapping some photos and video along the way. When we arrived, they were enjoying a quiet nap together on one of the marina’s benches.

A grandmother, father and two young boys eat hot dogs on a set of stairs

Western Brook Pond Boat Tour

The marina at Western Brook Pond is run by Bon Tours. They are the only company that offers tours of the landlocked fjord. As it was not yet high season, the marina had a limited selection of snacks and drinks available. Arrive a bit early so you have time to take in the scenery around the marina. The surrounding area had incredible views. The beach makes for a perfect place for skipping stones, and beside the pier is a great sitting rock that the boys used to watch the boats and the birds.

Two young boys wearing rain outfits hug in front of a marina at Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

Pro-Tip: Tickets for the Western Brook Pond Boat tours must be purchased in advance. Tickets may be sold out when you arrive at the marina.

Boarding the Westbrook II

When it was time to board the Westbrook II we took our seats on the upper observation deck. Despite it being summer, the temperature on the pond was chilly. The kids loved being high up near the captain’s deck. As the boat began making its way towards the incredible cliffs of the fjord, D took charge of the GoPro to take his first selfie. I think it turned out pretty well!


Amazing sites of Western Brook Pond

Exploring Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park by boat tour took us the entire 16 km length of the fjord. At the head of the pond, there is an option for hikers to disembark for a hike to the park’s most iconic viewpoint.  This hike is reserved for seasoned hikers. With our epic journey on the previous day, we simply weren’t up for the challenge.

Bon Tours also offers a shuttle for those looking to do the Long Range Traverse. This hike brings hikers over Gros Morne Mountain and into the heart of Gros Morne National Park. Nonetheless, we were treated with views of countless waterfalls and incredible rock structures. The two-hour tour brought us along the migratory route of the local Elk population and offered amazing stories of past adventurers who had explored the region.

A lake enclosed by the towering granite cliffs of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

Amazing Waterfalls of Western Brook Pond

The cliffs of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park climb an astonishing 600 meters and are often topped with snow. There are numerous waterfalls that tumble down the ragged edges, the most spectacular of which is Pissing Mare Falls. When I explained the name to the boys, you can just imagine the words that we kept hearing repeated throughout the rest of our trip. With a drop of 350 meters, Pissing Mare Falls is one of North America’s tallest waterfalls.

Pissing Mare Falls cascades 350 meters down the cliffs of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park

Heading back

Pissing Mare Falls (hee hee hee) marks the end of Western Brook Pond in Western Brook Pond. It’s where hikers are dropped off for treks to the high overlook and the Long Range Traverse. For the way back, the boys decided they wanted to wait on the lower deck of the Westbrook II. We sat in the warmth below to watch views. Pretty soon, C was in dreamland.

A gnarled tree lies dramatically in the water of Western Brook pond in Gros Morne National Park

After our tour, we leisurely walked back to the car, happy that today was a less strenuous journey than the previous day. We were looking forward to some amazing food back in Rocky Harbour, and a good, long night’s sleep. The next day we would be checking out some Icebergs!

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Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs

Friday 6th of January 2017

We are have been eyeing this park for a while now. Great to see such wonderful photos! I can't never get enough of mountains and lakes and Gros Morne appears to have plenty.

Kevin Wagar

Sunday 8th of January 2017

It's such a beautiful place. So unique in its landscape, but surrounded by the most wonderful people as well.

Rob Taylor

Wednesday 4th of January 2017

What a beautiful place. We did a similar boat ride in Glacier National Park here in the States and it was also beautiful and a great way to get a different view. Awesome drone footage too!

Kevin Wagar

Thursday 5th of January 2017

Glacier is so beautiful. We only spent a few hours there (thanks to some border trouble) but are hoping to get back with the boys before too long.

Gabriel Costel Iosa

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Absolutely beautiful post and so inspiring photos. Just make me want to book my flight and visit ASAP. I loved the little video with the boat ride, and also the information about all of the top things to see and do there. I just hope that someday I can afford to visit Canada and it's natural wonders!

Kevin Wagar

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Thanks so much! I hope you get a chance to visit soon!


Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Seems like you had an amazing time. I love the pictures of the boys sitting by the boat house (I think). It is so warm and delightful. I always admire the way you take your kids along for every outing.

Kevin Wagar

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Thanks so much Ami, we love having them with us, and they always learn from our travels

Danni Lawson

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Fascinating to read about this amazing landscape, and honestly I had no idea that elk migrated! ON the boat I always liked to be up near the captain's deck too :)