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Butter Pot Provincial Park

The Park is located on the Avalon Peninsula approximately 36 km southwest of St. John's along the Trans Canada Highway. The park covers an area of 2833 hectares of varied terrain and vegetation - forests, bogs, heaths and ponds. Hiking trails take you through forests and over barrens to a remarkable scenic view-point.

Natural History

The oldest rocks found in Butter Pot Provincial Park belong to the Harbour Main group. They date back to the Precambrian era and are approximately 600 million years old. During the last glaciation approximately 10 thousand years ago, great sheets of ice scraped the land, gouging out river valleys, dragging boulders and thus changing the landscape. When the climate changed and the weather became warmer, the ice began to melt and retreat. As it did, huge boulders were deposited along the way. These displaced boulders are called erratics and many of them can be seen in this park. The best place to view them is along the trail to Butter Pot Hill and on the hill itself. Click here to see a panorama view from the summit.

The main vegetation type is Boreal forest a dense-growing coniferous forest, dominated by black spruce and balsam fir with some tamarack and white birch. On the abundant barren regions the shallow soil is usually quite acidic. The plants supported by such a soil include sheep laurel, Labrador tea, rhoddora and blueberry. Exposure, and a severe forest fire late in the last century, formed the barrens within the park. The fire was so intense that much of the already shallow soil was burned to the bedrock, resulting in even less soil than was originally present. The park area also contains much peatland, shrub and heathland. The variety of habitats result in a diversity of wildflowers such as the bunchberry, crowberry, northern honeysuckle and pitcher plant (the floral emblem of Newfoundland). Within the park 230 plant species have been found and identified.

Many mammals such as moose, beaver, chipmunk, red squirrel, and snowshoe hare find safe homes within the park's boundary. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in Butter Pot Provincial Park. These include the pine grosbeak, common loon, willow ptarmigan and ruffed grouse.

See services section for details on opening and closing dates and for fee information.

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Area History

Area History

The term "butter pot" means a prominent rounded hill. The park is named for Butter Pot Hill which is found within the park boundary. Long before the area became a park, nearby residents hunted, trapped game, picked berries, cut wood, and grazed their animals on Butter Pot Ridge. Due to the rugged terrain the land was never settled. Most of the areas vegetation was destroyed by fire around 1889. In sheltered areas the forest grew back quickly, but in exposed places it has not quite recovered.

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Park Activities

Camping

In total, 175 campsites are provided at Butter Pot Provincial Park. Each campsite has a picnic table, fireplace, garbage can, and space for your vehicle. Pit toilets and drinking water taps are located throughout the park. Two comfort stations with showers, and laundry facilities are located within the camping area. The trailer dumping station is situated off the main entrance road. Firewood can be obtained at the check point.

Group Camping

Butter Pot Provincial Park has a group camping section with shelter, for organized groups only. Reservations can be made by contacting the Park at:

Reservations

Tel: (709) 685-1853

Picniking

Picnic areas are located in the day-use section of the park near Big Otter Pond. The picnic areas are equipped with toilets, a water tap, and picnic tables. Bring your camp stove or barbecue and enjoy the park.

Playground

Children of all ages will enjoy the playgrounds, situated near campsites 79, 57 and in the day-use section of the park. They contain swings, see-saws, sandboxes, and slides. The park has two horseshoe pitches located near campsites 78 and 57. The horseshoes are not provided.

Fishing

Trout are plentiful in the park's ponds. Certain regulations apply, so see the park staff for more information before wetting your line.

Comfort Stations

Flush toilets and shower facilities available. Laundromats with hot wash and dryers.

Hiking

Hiking

Butter Pot Provincial Park has an extensive trail system. Please remember to wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear. Young children should be accompanied by an adult. The trails begin near campsite number 58. A five minute walk takes you to the Lookout from where you have a view of the park and Butter Pot Hill. The hike to Butter Pot Hill takes roughly 2.5 hours for the return trip and the distance in total is approximately 6.6 kilometres. Your efforts from the long climb will be rewarded, from the 303 metre high summit of Butter Pot Hill, the views is fantastic! Caution should be exercised in the vicinity of Butter Pot Hill because of the steep cliffs. For a more leisurely hike take the trail Pegwood Pond (see map). This hike will take you through the forest, past Peter's Pond to the playground. The total distance is approximately 3.2 kilometres (one way) and will take about 1.5 hours.

Please do not smoke while walking. Rest stops with ashtrays are provided along the way.

Swimming

The park has two swimming areas, both with toilets nearby. The beaches are located on Big Otter Pond; one in the day-use area and the other near the comfort station. CAUTION: The swimming areas are not supervised. Water safety equipment is located on the beaches.

Boating

The use of power boats is prohibited in Butter Pot Provincial Park, but you are welcome to enjoy the water with canoes, sailboats and rowboats.

Winter Recreation

Butter Pot Provincial Park has an organized winter recreation program. The cross-country ski trails are groomed regularly, and a warm-up station is situated off the main park road (see map). The park is home to a variety of wintering birds and animals, so enjoy some nature photography. Please note: motorized snow machines, including ATVs, are prohibited in all parks.

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