How to Get Your Photo Taken at the Iconic Western Brook Pond Fjord
Whenever someone sees this photo of the enigmatic and awe-inspiring Western Brook Pond fjord, we get asked, “how can I get my picture taken here – at this exact location?”
The truth of the matter is that it is not a simple process to reach this point – there is no road hiding behind the cameraperson with a busload of tourists waiting for their turn to jump in place and take the coveted “arms upraised” position.
To get to this location involves a hike that requires a moderate-to-high level of fitness. For many people, it will be one of the most challenging, and most rewarding, experiences of their lifetime.
However, as Clem Reid, hiking guide with BonTours points out, “the fact that you can get there, the fact that it’s tough to get there, and the fact that not everyone is willing to go there for that photo, is what makes it special.”
Of course, it is not necessary to partake in this hike to enjoy the majesty of the Western Brook Pond fjord. A 45-minute walk will take you to stunning vistas and a dock where you can step on board a tour boat for a two-hour trip through the fjord, which offers equally as stunning views. However, for the more advanced adventurer, there are a few options to hike up the eastern edge of the gulch for that once-in-a-lifetime photo op.
Option 1 – Day Hike of Western Brook Pond Gorge
Your first option is a relatively new tour offered by BonTours. They offer a guided day hike to this exact location where you can have your picture taken. After a 45-minute walk to the dock, you take a boat shuttle that drops you and your guide off at the mouth of the fjord. Your guide brings you up to the top of the gorge and along the way provides interpretation of the ecosystem and history of the area. Once you have taken in the view and had a well-deserved lunch break, you will head back down and hop back on the shuttle to return to the dock and the 45-minute walk back to the parking area. While the entire excursion takes about 8 hours, the actual hike from where the boat drops you off to the top of the gorge is about 3.5-4 hours depending on your hiking ability and how much you are carrying.
Option 2 – Multi-Day Hike of the Long Range Traverse Hiking Trail
Your second option is to hike the entire Long Range Traverse, which is about 35km and a multiple day hike (usually about 3-4 nights). The Long Range Traverse is part of the Long Range Mountains and marks the north end of the Appalachian mountain range. It goes without saying that you should be an experienced hiker to take this option. In fact, Parks Canada requires hikers of the Long Range Traverse to pass a warden’s meeting whereby proof of knowledge of navigational tools is required.
Similar to the day hike option, the Long Range Traverse hike starts with a boat tour at Western Brook Pond where you get dropped off to the mouth of the fjord. On day 1 of hiking you reach this exact location, and you then continue on the trail for a couple of days until you reach the final destination which is Gros Morne Mountain’s James Callaghan Trail. Remember that this is a backcountry trail and therefore there are no trail markings, so topo map reading and compass skills are essential for navigation. Alternatively, there are tour operators in Gros Morne National Park that offer guided hiking tours of the Long Range Traverse, including Gros Morne Adventures.
While this hike is certainly challenging, it has also been named by National Geographic as one of the World’s Best Hikes, and for good reason. For more information on the Long Range Traverse hike, Trailpeak, a Canadian trails website, offers a great summary of what you can expect here. Parks Canada also offers alternative route options and a backcountry hiking map which can be found here.
One of the most difficult decisions you'll have when you reach Western Brook Pond is how you wish to experience it. One thing is for certain, once you've experienced Western Brook Pond, you won't soon forget it.