As part of an end-of-summer, multi-day roadtrip on the west coast of Newfoundland, I found myself back to one of my favorite campsites, Shallow Bay Beach in Cow Head. I was there last year with friends for Canada Day (check out that post here) and we fell in love with the location so of course I was glad to go back. Shallow Bay is a secluded, soft sandy beach that runs for a couple kilometers– an extremely rare gem in Newfoundland where the coastline is mostly jagged cliffs. The campsite is part of Gros Morne National Park, so it only costs $25.50 to park an RV or pitch a tent, which is what we did.
The campsites are lovely, private, and quiet. The public washrooms and showers are modern and clean, unusual for campgrounds but I was thankful after already being on the road for a few nights having used mostly outhouses. The public kitchen area even has wifi, which is nice to check-in with family for a few minutes. Sadly, there were some kids who sat in there with their tablets all evening. Not exactly my idea of the purpose of going camping, but to each their own. We caught a gorgeous sunset on the beach and played cards at our picnic table before catching some zzz’s in the tent.
Sleep came easily that night as we had spent the day hiking and new we’d be hiking all the next day as well. That day, we had tackled the Baker’s Brook Falls trail which is off the Viking Trail a few kilometers north of Rocky Harbour, at the Berry Hill campground. Berry Hill Campground isn’t my favorite in the park, there isn’t much there aside from the trail, Shallow Bay is much nicer and worth the 20-minute drive.
The trail is a 9 km return, and easy terrain with mostly even trails boardwalk over the bogs. There are hardly any climbs except for a few staircases and hills right at the end, but nothing major. Overall, it’s a really easy, enjoyable walk with a rewarding view at the end. The waterfall was breathtaking! One of the biggest I’ve seen in the province for sure. I would have loved to go for a swim on that hot day, but sadly the water was pretty shallow. Along the trail, you’ll also find a moose exclosure, which is a fenced-in area that moose cannot access. It shows how our forests are affected by the large appetites of moose, as the area is much more lush and grown in than everywhere else. It’s pretty cool to see. I definitely recommend this trail.
The next morning, after leaving Shallow Bay, we were headed back down the coast toward Rocky Harbour. Along the way, near the tiny town of St. Paul’s is the infamous Western Brook Pond. This is the gorgeous fjord you may have seen in Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism advertisements. We had never been, so we decided to walk in the short trail to the pond from the highway, a 6 km return. This is a really easy trail; the perfect warm-up for Gros Morne Mountain later that day (check out that article here).
Sadly, Western Brook Pond Gorge is largely inaccessible to the average traveler. To hike it you have to go in alone for days across unmarked trails (bad idea unless you’re super experienced), pay $250-$400 for a guided hike (I cannot afford that!), or settle for the view from the bottom of the pond, like we did. The boat tour is a good option at only $65, and we will be doing it next time we’re in the area and I’m very excited, but that doesn’t offer the gorgeous view from the top of the gorge, of course. Perhaps that’s part of the beauty, that it’s secluded and isn’t a tourist trap, but I also believe that more people should be able to experience this marvel in our province. What are your thoughts? Is there another way to do this that I am unaware of?
Nonetheless, the view was lovely and so was the walk and I am very glad I did it. I suggest you do, too.
What is your favorite place on Newfoundland’s West Coast? We would love to go if we haven’t already been! We love hearing from you, our readers. Please leave us a comment below or message us on social media, @twowildtides!
Check out our other adventures on the west coast of Newfoundland: