Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

by: Clem Reid, native and long-time resident of Norris Point, Bonne Bay. Clem has been a guide to many who have trekked and traversed all over the Gros Morne National Park region.

He rode a BMW K75 back in the day.

Bonne Bay

The next few paragraphs describe a few things you may wish to do while in this part of the world: some fun roads for bikes, some hiking trails and off trail hiking routes, things to do both indoors and out. I will keep the range of discussion to mostly within about 1.5 hours driving time (speed limit more-or-less) of Killdevil Camp. First, some generalities which need only be stated once:

  • ALWAYS be on the lookout for wildlife on all our highways and byways. In particular: caribou in the north of Gros Morne, bears in the central and southern regions and moose everywhere. Darkness is dangerous. Best be parked before dusk until after dawn.
  • Don't count on cell phone service. Coverage is spotty to non-existent over considerable lengths of highway.
  • Nearly all roads north of Deer Lake are 2-lane blacktop with lots of twisties. There are some passing lanes but they are few, and mostly on route 430 in the southern section of Gros Morne National Park.
  • You will find some ruts pressed into the asphalt and broken or bumpy pavement. Much of this is aggravated by climate conditions.
  • "Hiking trails" are discussed in detail on Gros Morne National Park's website or on the relevant community/town websites.
  • Anyone considering hiking trails should be prepared for black flies: bug jackets/shirts and/or fly repellent (known colloquially as "fly dope").
  • "Off-trail routes", both for hiking and for motorcycles, are suggested only in the context of a guided activity. In some cases special permits are required.
  • Touring season and road construction season coincide. Add time to your trip based on current, sometimes posted, conditions.
  • Abbreviations that might be used in this article (and sometimes elsewhere in the tourism literature):
    • GMNP = Gros Morne National Park
    • TNL = Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador
    • GMTF = Gros Morne Theatre Festival
    • TTT = Trails, Tales & Tunes
    Premium gasoline is not available everywhere.
    • Immediate GMNP region:
      • Cormack (diesel, regular & premium, 23 km east of Wiltondale)
      • Woody Point
      • Rocky Harbour
      • Norris Point
      • St. Pauls
  • SHOPPING - GROCERIES for self-sufficient travellers
    • South of GMNP's centre Deer Lake is home to the closest "large" grocery stores. Vegan and other specialty diets might be best served by a less-frustrating trip to Corner Brook.
    • Travellers through/to the northern reaches of the Park will find a small but well-stocked grocery store in Cow Head.
    • All of the park's communities have corner/convenience stores, pharmacies in Rocky Harbour and Norris Point and there is at least one hardware store (Rocky Harbour) within the park region. Some can supply specialty fuel for portable stoves and assorted camping supplies. Those with alcohol stoves should look for hardware stores and paint shops (methyl hydrate).
    • There are also private camp grounds with shops, snack bars and such, offering some basic camping supplies.
    • NOTE that Killdevil Camp does not itself have a license to sell or serve alcohol. However, sensible drinking by adults (19+ years of age in Newfoundland & Labrador) is acceptable on site. The nearest outlet offering a modest selection of wine, spirits and domestic and imported beer, is the Liquor Express at the gas stop in Woody Point. Many convenience stores sell domestic beer. A larger breadth of choices may be found in Deer Lake, co-located with the Coleman's Grocery store (a Newfoundland and Labrador chain).
    • The nearest outlet for retail cannabis is co-located with the ESSO gas stop in Deer Lake (also for those 19+ years of age).

A few things to do within 1.5 hour riding radius from Killdevil Camp:


"This area... is world-renowned for its complex geology. The Tablelands, a barren reddish brown plateau that towers seven hundred metres above the Atlantic Ocean, stands alone as an alien landscape amongst the lush and hilly forests that encompasses it. Found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in south west of Gros Morne National Park, it was here that geologists proved the theory of plate tectonics." (

Tablelands trail start
Tablelands trail start

To get there from Killdevil Camp:

  • Take Route 431 into Woody Point to 49.495981, -57.920555 (Google maps coordinates) to where 431 takes a hairpin turn and up a steep hill toward Trout River. About a minute after you turn you'll spot the GMNP Discovery Centre on your right. Either stop at the Discovery Centre or continue on. At the crest of the hill pull in to the lookout point to catch your breath. A bit further on there's a parking lot on the left where the beginning of Tablelands Trail is. There's a short section on trails at the end of this description.
  • Driving time to this point is about half an hour and road conditions are usually good but there may be some broken pavement in sections, especially in the municipality.
  • Along the way: Discovery Centre, boreal forest, some vistas and lookout points, twisties, GMNP day-use picnic area at MacKenzie's Brook.
  • GMNP's Discovery Centre (DC) features a visiting artist annually and an installation art display at the DC's gallery.

At the top!
At the top of tablelands


  • 3 "on trail" hike options
    • Tablelands
    • Green Gardens
    • Trout River Pond

Green Gardens
Green Gardens

  • Tablelands boat tour
  • Driving tour


  • Norris Point
    • Home to the annual Trails, Tales and Tunes festival in May, Norris Point self identifies as a "photographers' paradise" with stunning views of the Tablelands and the hills surrounding Bonne Bay (a fjord). Norris Point's history is tied primarily to our fishing heritage. The Jenniex House museum is, at this writing, the first building as you enter town. There are occasional Church suppers where you can meet local folks and enjoy a traditional (usually) meal. (Hint: probably NOT vegan.)
    • Trails:
      • Burnt Hill Trail
      • James Major Memorial Trail

Norris Point from Gull Rock
Norris Point from Gull Rock

  • Woody Point
    • Woody Point is a picturesque town with a long and interesting history, tied to both the fishing and forest industries. It is also one of the docking points for boat tours operating in Bonne Bay. There is an array of restaurants, accommodations, convenience stores, a small grocery store and a gas station. There a pedestrian ferry, operating at scheduled times, connecting Woody Point to Norris Point. There is no car ferry across Bonne Bay.
    • Has a significant trail connecting the town's centre to GMNP's Discovery Centre. There is also an alternate access to the Big Lookout Trail (guide recommended).

Big Lookout
Big Lookout

    • Trout River is a small town that is a little off the beaten track about 45 minutes' drive from Killdevil Camp. To get there take spectacular drive through Trout River Gulch, with the Tablelands on one side and an outcrop of the Long Range Mountains on the other. This relatively straight, mostly horizontal, stretch of road, from the Tablelands trailhead to town, is known locally for its stupendous snowfall accumulations - hopefully, not in August...
    • Trails:
      • Humac Trail
      • Eastern Point Trail
      • The Old Man/ Lighthouse Trail
  • Rocky Harbour
    • Rocky Harbour is the largest community in the Gros Morne National Park region and is the administrative centre for the park as well as a some other government services.
    • The town's history has been closely linked with fishing and the wood industry. Rocky Harbour has grown, due to the tourism industry, to have numerous restaurants, accommodation options and other attractions.
    • Has at least one short community trail which is not listed on their webpage.
  • Cow Head
    • Like the rest of the communities, Cow Head's (originally, Route de Vache, part of the French Shore) heritage is largely attributable to the fishery.
    • Lighthouse Trail: a very nice walk around "the head": You can hire a guide-interpreter from the museum for a small fee and learn about both the geology and cultural history features while you walk.
    • Home to Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador's (TNL) Gros Morne Theatre Festival (GMTF), a 16-week summer repertory theatre. The line-up of 6-8 plays changes annually and includes a visiting artist series. A new theatre space is presently under construction and the opening is planned for 2020. Each play is an original production that tells a story of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Bonne Bay North:

  • If you wish to drive/ride north of Bonne Bay you will find route 430 from Wiltondale to Norris Point and Rocky Harbour a fun, hilly and twisty road. It has gravel shoulders so watch for loose material on turns. This route is also the main highway trunk for commercial and local traffic to and from the Northern Peninsula so it can be quite busy. Further, if the past few years are any indication, there'll be construction and traffic slow-downs. Drive defensively.
  • The route is replete with many roadside vistas of the Long Range Mountains and the Southeast Arm of Bonne Band. There are few on-trail hiking options until you approach the centre of the Park. There you'll find the Gros Morne Trail.
  • North of Rocky Harbour route 430 turns into a pleasant coastal drive with some long(-ish) straight sections and a few sweeping turns.
  • In keeping with the "1.5 hours from Killdevil Camp" mandate of this article, the approximate limit is to be found with the Western Brook Pond trailhead. The trail leads to the iconic Western Brook Pond boat tour. There is also a guided (mandatory), off-trail hiking option in Western Brook Gulch.


Please consult GMNP’s hiking page for detailed trail descriptions

  • There are adventure guiding businesses in the region for both off-trail and on-trail hiking and natural history interpretation.
  • You may also take in some of the Park’s offerings with professional interpreters.
  • Close to Killdevil Camp
    • Tablelands
      • Short
        • Marked trail: allow 1 hour including photography and a bit of lounging in the splendour of it all.
      • Long
        • Off trail: all day and really sore quads across the top of the Tablelands and back to the parking lot
        • OR
        • Multi-day treks: discuss with local guiding operations.
    • Trout River Pond
      • Trailhead is also the dock for the Tablelands Boat Tour
    • Stanleyville
    • Lookout
      • Short, steep: read trail guide
      • OR
      • Long [Big Lookout]: Guide(s) strongly recommended
    • Woody Point community trail
    • Trout River community trail (
  • Bonne Bay North (along route 430)
    • Southeast Brook Falls
    • Gros Morne Mountain
    • Coastal Trail
    • Western Book Pond (also the access to Western Book Pond Boat tour)
    • Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse trails
    • Norris Point Community Walking trails
    • [slightly outside of the 1.5 hours] Cow Head's Lighthouse Trail: a very pleasant walk around "the head"; secondly the beach at Shallow Bay (Belldowns Point).

unknown viewpoint
unknown viewpoint

Boat Tours:

  • Not surprisingly, boats are an important element of local culture.
    • Bonne Bay:
      • At least two companies offer boat tours of Bonne Bay. Each docks to pick up and drop off passengers at both Norris Point and Woody Point.
      • There are scheduled walk-on ferry runs "across the bay". Walk on or bicycles only.
      • There is at least one business offering kayak tours of parts of Bonne Bay.
    • There are also tour boats operating on the fjord-like lakes of Western Brook Pond and Trout River Pond. [Research challenge: Why are some lakes in Newfoundland known as Ponds?]

See also (greater than 1.5 hours travel from Killdevil Camp):

  • French shore:


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