Saturday, 21 September 2013

Exploring Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     On many of our past hiking trips to Gros Morne our focus has been on the longer trails that the national park is well known for. We certainly enjoy hiking Gros Morne Mountain or the spectacular Green Garden trail but the communities in the park have developed some nice trails so that became the focus of our most recent trip. The advantage of these trails is that they are often short and in the communities where people may be staying so can be done  after supper or in the morning before heading off to another destination. We left Corner Brook around noon on Thursday, September 19 and drove to the Park’s Visitor Centre in Rocky Harbour. There we picked up a copy of Tuckamore (a free guide to the park) which lists all of the community trails and we also picked up a copy of the free park map which shows where the trails are located in each community. 

The Photographer's Lookout is well named and is the start of the James Humber Trail
We started in Norris Point at the Photographer’s Lookout where the James Humber Trail begins. The trail is well signposted and winds downhill through the forest to Wild Cove. The trail head coordinates are 21 U 0436104 E and 5487594 N for those hikers with a GPS. The 1.4 km (1 way) trail is a mix of gravel and board walk and be sure to take a sharp left turn near the bottom to reach the Edward and Jessie Major Memorial Park which makes a good rest point. You can then either hike back up to your car or have someone in your group drive to the Memorial Park to meet you. For anyone interested in a shorter walk you can walk for 300 meters from the Lookout parking lot to a viewing platform which gives good views of Bonne Bay, Norris Point and the Tablelands.
You get great views of Bonne Bay and the Norris Point waterfront from the Burnt Hill Trail
 Next we set our sights for the Norris Point waterfront and had a snack by the ocean at the kiosk at the end of the road. We then drove past the Cat Stop and parked behind Anchor Crafts to start the Burnt Hill Trail system (21 U 0436670 E 5485426 N). The start of the trail is well marked and climbs steadily uphill. Once on top there seem to be many choices but fortunately all the trails are short and you can’t get lost. There are several lookouts which give very good views of Neddies Harbour and back toward the Tablelands and Bonne Bay and we walked for 2 km on a various combination of trails. 
The view from deck of the Big Garden Cottages is superb
 We then checked into the comfortable Big Garden Cottages ( and we were pleased that our cottage had an amazing view of Neddies Harbour with the Tablelands in the distance. The front deck was in the sun and we spent an enjoyable hour reading outside before getting ready for dinner at the nearby Sugar Hill Inn.
Check out Chanterelles for fine dining in Norris Point
 We had heard great reports about Chanterelles (the restaurant at the Sugar Hill Inn) and we were not disappointed. We started with tasty scallops and pecan/feta salad for appetizers and then we had delicious crusted cod and rack of lamb for our main courses. We finished with a scrumptious lemon tart for dessert. We also enjoyed chatting to owner Vince McCarthy about how the 4.5 star Sugar Hill Inn has expanded in size with the growing interest in upscale dining and accommodations in Gros Morne National Park. The Sugar Hill Inn ( is known not only for serving delicious food but also for its extensive wine list.

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