The Big Lookout Hike is one of my favourite hikes in Gros Morne National Park. It is an off trail trek to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking Bonne Bay, the Tablelands and the Long Range Mountains. If you are staying on the north side of the park, you can access this route via the water taxi. It departs from the Catstop wharf on the Norris Point Waterfront at 9am and crosses Bonne Bay to the village of Woody Point.
This 15 minute ride across Bonne Bay is stunning, the scenery is spectacular and it is common to see bald eagles and whales along the way. You can find taxi information here http://www.bontours.ca/shuttle/index.htm.
By the way, if you need a packed lunch, drop by our Kayak Café on the Norris Point waterfront just down the road from the water taxi and Christine can put together a hearty hiker’s lunch for you. On the topic of things to take, be sure you have rain gear, sweater, map, compass, and hat and gloves. I highly recommend wearing quick drying shorts or pants and shirt and a sturdy pair of hiking boots. There is some low shrub and boggy areas enroute so I usually wear gaiters.
Once you arrive at the Woody Point waterfront, take the road to the right of the Lighthouse Restaurant and head toward the water tower. From the water tower, follow the brook upstream and cross it by the old dam. Look for a faint path on your left. This will take you up a forested hillside to the Lookout Hills plateau. As I mentioned earlier, this is an off trail trek, the route is not well defined and map and compass skills are essential.
Once you reach the plateau you are above treeline and rewarded with great views of Bonne Bay and your ultimate destination, Centennial Peak (1967 feet high). Watch for moose as they are plentiful on the plateau. It takes about 45 minutes to walk across the plateau to the base of Centennial Peak. The last 45 minutes is a short scramble up a scree section and then a steady ascent to the summit.
I often take a different route back across the Lookout plateau in the direction of the Tablelands and intersect the Parks Canada Lookout Trail at Partridgeberry Hill. It takes about an hour to cross the plateau to this vantage point which offers a great view of the south arm of Bonne Bay. You will know you are on this trail as it is well defined and you should arrive at the boardwalked section. The well maintained trail descends to the trailhead at the Discovery Centre. From the Discovery Centre two walking trails lead back to Woody Point.
I usually arrive back in Woody Point between 4:30 and 5pm, in time to enjoy a refreshing beverage and snack at the Lighthouse Restaurant which is located right across the street from the water taxi dock.