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Gros Morne National Park of Canada

Kayaking

Two kayakers near cliffs of Bonne Bay
Sea Kayaking in Gros Morne
© Parks Canada

General Conditions

Gros Morne offers fascinating paddling destinations. However, wind and weather conditions can change quickly and pose major problems for the unsuspecting paddler.

Weather

  • Highly variable in a short time span. Be aware of cloud formations and their indication of weather fronts.
  • Strong winds are common, especially from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. (In the shoal waters steep breaking waves occur during high winds and opposing tides.) Winds can persist for long periods (days) during the summer season; late August can be particularly bad.
  • Easterly winds are particularly violent when blowing offshore along open coast and funnelling from the mountains through the fjords. (This produces very confused waters.)
  • Westerlies (SW prevailing summer wind) are the general winds during the summer.
  • Check the current weather forecast for Gros Morne National Park.

Places to Kayak and Sea Conditions

Trout River Pond

  • The most accessible of the fjord lakes within Gros Morne National Park and is probably the safest place for kayaking in the park.
  • On the north shore there are great views of the barren and an intriguing landscape of the Tablelands. To the south are the contrasting steep cliffs and the forested Gregory Plateau.
  • The outer pond has frequent landings on both sides, while the inner pond has frequent landings on the north and east sides.

Trout River to Bonne Bay

  • A spectacular, volcanic coastline with 350 m cliffs, sea stacks, and caves.
  • This section of coastline includes the Green Gardens area with its three primitive campsites.
  • The coast is exposed to westerly winds.
  • The landings are limited and will require careful planning.
  • Confused seas occur during strong wind conditions along the shoreline; it is often easier to move out from the cliffs.

Outer Bonne Bay

  • This is the entrance to the fjord of Bonne Bay and is surrounded by steep cliffs and high hills, up to 600 m in elevation.
  • During all strong wind conditions seas are confused and there are cross-seas with SW wind.
  • On out-going (ebb) tide with westerly winds there is an overfall seaward of Norris Point.
  • Landings are very limited.

Inner Bonne Bay

  • The bay consists of two arms, the South and East Arms, both are actually fjords with high cliffs, communities on the water's edge, and many wooded coves that provide landing beaches.
  • The South Arm and East Arm are moderately protected but beware when wind conditions are funnelling; expect steep seas in shallow areas.
  • The “tickle” between outer Bonne Bay and East Arm has strong currents during big tides. Plan accordingly for the crossing.

Rocky Harbour to Cow Head

  • The shoreline is a coastal lowland with views of the Long Range Mountains and is dotted with small fish staging areas.
  • In season this area can have large amounts of fishing gear in the water.
  • The westerly winds can be particularly troublesome.
  • Frequent landings are available but good surf entry and exit skills are a must in strong winds.

St. Pauls Inlet

  • The bay extends inland to the base of the Long Range Mountains and is home to harbour seals and some small colonies of terns.
  • Outer portions of the bay are shallow and contain several salt marshes.
  • These shallow waters are exposed to westerly winds.
  • Strong tides occur at the bridge and outer estuary.
  • Frequent landings are available throughout the bay.

Camping with Your Kayak

Four of our campgrounds (Trout River, Lomond, Green Point, and Shallow Bay) are suitable areas for launching and landing a kayak.

A number of primitive campsites are also accessible by water. These include the three sites at Green Gardens and the one at Stanleyville in Bonne Bay. Primitive campsites are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. A permit must be purchased in advance for all primitive campsites within Gros Morne National Park to ensure that sites are not overbooked or overused. Permits can be purchased at park facilities.