on-line contest

What's New

Most Popular


Story and photos by

Some of the best views in Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park are from the Lookout Trail.

Lookout Trail sign
Lookout Trail sign
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The self-guided hike begins just behind the park's Discovery Centre in the town of Woody Point, from where you can drive along Route 431 to the Tablelands.

Hike length

It took us just over two hours to hike the Lookout Trail. How long is it? The length is about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) each way.

The route has a steep elevation, but anyone who is reasonably fit can follow it. We climbed 300 meters (985 feet) along boardwalk and gravel paths from the foot of Partridgeberry Hill to its peak.

Gros Morne trees

The walk wasn't difficult, because we stopped frequently to take photos of plants and views along the way.

We followed the hiking trail up through a forest of larch, black spruce, balsam fir, white birch and red maple trees. With so many deciduous trees, the Lookout Trail hike would be very colorful in the autumn.

Rhodora flowers in Gros Morne National Park
Rhodora flowers in Gros Morne National Park
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll


During our June hike, pretty purple blossoms lined the path. They belonged to a flowering shrub called rhodora (Rhododendron canadense).

As we climbed up some wooden steps, we spotted Labrador tea plants on one side. Clumps of bracken ferns, with curled-up fiddleheads, sprouted on the other side.

Signs of moose

To our surprise, we discovered a pile of fresh moose scat (droppings) on the path ahead of us. In the Discovery Centre, prior to our hike, we learned that Gros Morne National Park has more than 4,000 moose.

In the most dense areas, there are 12 moose per square kilometer (0.4 square mile). Parks Canada is concerned about the effects of moose on Gros Morne's ecosystem, because they eat large amounts of young balsam firs before they can mature.

Lady's slipper orchid flower
Lady's slipper orchid flower
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Lady's slipper orchids

Pretty pink-and-maroon flowers of lady's slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule) brightened our route. Fifty-six species of orchids grow in Gros Morne National park.

Near them, we spotted some nodding trumpet-shaped flowers. The twinflower (Linnaea borealis) is the only plant named after botanist Carl Linnaeus, who created the genus and species nomenclature system for all plants.

Norris Point NL

Patches of snow appeared on both sides of the boardwalk. Looking downhill, we enjoyed a panoramic view of the South Arm of Bonne Bay and our Adventure Canada ship that brought us here on a Newfoundland Circumnavigation cruise.

In the background, the small town of Norris Point nestled into the peninsula where Bonne Bay separates into the South Arm and the East Arm. Southwest, across the tickle (saltwater strait) from Norris Point is Woody Point (population 300), where we disembarked the cruise ship before our hike.

View from Partridgeberry Hill

As we climbed to the 405-meter (1,328-foot) summit, we looked for partridgeberries, after which the hill was named. But it was June, and the red berries (which Newfoundlanders use to make delicious tarts and jellies) don't ripen until the fall.

Adventure Canada ship in South Arm of Bonne Bay, with Norris Point behind
Adventure Canada ship in South Arm of Bonne Bay, with Norris Point behind
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The final steep steps to the highest point of the Lookout Trail made us ask: "Are we there yet?" When we finally reached the summit platform, we were surprised to see two red Adirondack chairs with a table between them, perfect for a well-deserved drink.

White-throated sparrow

Unfortunately, just as we arrived, the clouds descended and obscured the view. As we retraced our steps back down the boardwalk covering the fen (wetlands), we were again rewarded with a beautiful panorama.

Hiking on Lookout Trail boardwalk through wetlands
Hiking on Lookout Trail boardwalk through wetlands
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Returning to the forested area near the beginning of the walking trail, we encountered a final surprise. Through the trees, we heard the song of a white-throated sparrow. It sounded like My sweet Canada, Canada.

It was a sweet ending to our Gros Morne hike.


Gros Morne National Park

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Adventure Canada

More things to see & do on Adventure Canada Newfoundland Circumnavigation cruises:

Norstead Newfoundland — How the Vikings Lived and Built Ships

Fogo Island Newfoundland - Brimstone Head Trail Hike

L'Anse aux Meadows UNESCO Site Tour - Visitor Center, Trail and Sod Huts

Francois NL Hiking - Charlie's Head, The Friar and Pond Trails

Newfoundland Foods, Cuisine and Traditional Dishes