© Keith Nicol
Heather Nicol takes in the view at the start of the James Humber Trail in Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park.
On many of our past hiking trips to Gros Morne our focus has been on the longer trails that the national park is well known for. We certainly enjoy hiking Gros Morne Mountain or the spectacular Green Garden trail, but the communities in the park have developed some walking trails and they became the focus of our most recent trip.
We started in Norris Point at the Photographer’s Lookout where the James Humber Trail starts. The trail is well signposted and winds downhill through the forest to Wild Cove. The 1.4 kilometre (one way) trail is a mix of gravel and boardwalk and be sure to take a sharp left turn near the bottom to reach the Edward and Jessie Major Memorial Park which makes a good rest point. You can then either hike back up to your car or have someone in your group drive to the Memorial Park to meet you. For anyone interested in a shorter walk you can walk for 300 metres from the lookout parking lot to a viewing platform which gives good views of Bonne Bay, Norris Point and the Tablelands.
Next we set our sights for the Norris Point waterfront and drove past the Cat Stop and parked behind Anchor Crafts to start the Burnt Hill Trail system. The start of the trail is well marked and climbs steadily uphill. However, once on top of the hill the trail is not as easy to follow since there are many side trails. Fortunately all the trails are short and you can’t get lost. There are several lookouts which give very good views of Neddies Harbour and back toward the Tablelands and Bonne Bay and we walked for 2-km on a various combination of trails.
We spent the night at the comfortable Big Garden Cottages in Norris Point and the next day we decided to check out the community trails in Rocky Harbour. We stopped first at the 500-m long Salmon Point Lookout trail, which is at the southern end of Rocky Harbour. We parked next to the cemetery and walked uphill along a well-marked path. We then crested the hill and walked to a nicely built lookout platform with a bench which had great views of Bonne Bay.
Bottom Brook Trail
From here we drove back into Rocky Harbour and walked the Bottom Brook Trail, which as the name suggests follows Bottom Brook. This 1-km trail winds past cottages and homes, but you get a feeling that you are in a secluded natural area even though it is in the middle of Rocky Harbour. The trail was a bit wet on the day we did it, but we could easily avoid the muddy spots. The highlight of the trail was an unexpected small waterfall which has viewing platform and rest area associated with it.
The last community trail that we explored was the Rocky Hills Lookout trail and it is located on the other side of Rocky Harbour along the road to the Lobster Cove Lighthouse. There is a large lookout platform at the top which gives you superb views of Rocky Harbour. The 350-m trail is well marked and it would be an ideal place for lunch on a fine day since there are several picnic tables at the top. Check out these short trails the next time you are in Gros Morne Park.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at email@example.com