Western Brook Gorge & Gros Morne- a Unesco World Heritage Site

Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland combines mountains and barrens, coastal beauty and forest land, and geological wonders. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the park a World Heritage Site in 1987 for its “exceptional natural beauty”, and the demonstrations of plate tectonics are “outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history.”

My family drove 1.5 hrs from Corner Brook to Gros Morne, and, specifically Western Brook Pond. We hiked the 3km trail into the Gorge (rated a moderate trail – but there is often boardwalk over the bog, and other times there is crushed stone or gravel path). There are interpretive signs along the way that provide detail on everything from the nature of the bog, to how the glaciers formed the landscape.

Parks Canada’s interpretive guide on Gros Morne National Park notes that “geologists are able to show that 420-570 million years ago, the rocks in Gros Morne were part of an ancient ocean. Later these were thrust up to become part of the Appalachian Mountains as two continents collided. These rocks give support for the theory of plate tectonics and have provided important insights into how this process works. More recently in geological terms, glaciers carved this place into the spectacular landscape we see today and thus exposed the rocks for scientific study.”

Of course, my kids thought it was just really cool to see hoof prints of moose in the bog.

My 10 year old took pictures for a school art class,



and I tried to keep my 4 year old from leaving a leaf trail to find our way back, and pointed out the Newfoundland Pitcher Plants instead. 

As Parks Canada says: “the massive cliffs of Western Brook Pond were formed as glaciers carved through this 1.2 billion-year-old block of granite and gneiss. This rock is a fragment of the continent that once bordered this ancient ocean.”

We took photos of all the signage and interpretative panels along the trail and at the mouth of the gorge itself. I’ve put those shots together in a slideshow here, if you’re interested in the history and geological wonder that is Western Brook Gorge.


See www.parkscanada.gc.ca for more info (much of this material drawn from their interpretative bulletin on Gros Morne National Park).