Bruce Peninsula National Park is situated on part of the Niagara Escarpment that is bordered between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It is known for its crystal clear water, rocky beaches and dramatic cliffs. Bruce Peninsula offers plenty of outdoor activities, including camping and hiking to enjoy the rugged shoreline.
We’ve been to the Bruce Peninsula twice:
Bruce Peninsula offers plenty of hiking opportunities that range in length from a couple of kilometres to a multi-day hike along the Bruce Trail, a 900km trail that follows the Niagara Escarpment. Below are the trails that we’ve hiked:
(1) Burnt Point Trail (4.8km loop, rated moderate) winds through a cedar forest and leads to a few scenic overlooks of Georgian Bay. The trail is marked with a series of blue blazes on the trees.
(2) Cyprus Lake Trail (5km loop, rated easy) winds through the forest and encircles the shore of Cyprus Lake. Near the start of the trail there’s a set of the Parks Canada Red Chairs overlooking the lake.
(3) The Grotto refers to a large cave situated on the side of the cliff overlooking Georgian Bay. There are a couple of different ways to get here, including along the Georgian Bay Trail or Marr Lake Trail.
(4) Little Dunks Bay Lookout (800m one-way from the parking lot, rated easy) leads to a viewing platform that overlooks a scenic cove on Georgian Bay. There are also a pair of Parks Canada Red Chairs located on the viewing platform.
(5) Sinkhole Side Trail via the Bruce Trail (9.8km roundtrip). There’s a small parking lot along Little Cove Road, which provides an access point to the Bruce Trail. We hiked east to get to the Sinkhole Trail. The terrain is challenging, but the views of the rugged cliffs and turquoise waters of Georgian Bay are well worth the effort. The trail features one of the largest visible collapsed caves on the peninsula.
Other Activities and Attractions
Big Tub Lighthouse – it was built in 1885 to safely guide ships into and out of the harbour after a few ships sank in the area, including two which lie at the bottom of Big Tub Harbour.
Fathom Five National Marine Park – is located right off the rocky shores of Tobermory and boasts of being one of the best freshwater dive sites in the world. This underwater playground consists of 22 shipwrecks and a variety of neat geological features such as caves, cliffs and overhangs. While the pristine turquoise waters of Georgian Bay offers phenomenal visibility for freshwater diving, the only catch is that the water is cold. Very cold. The dive sites we’ve visited include: City of Grand Rapids, Sweepstakes and W.L. Wetmore.
Flowerpot Island – there are 4.3km of well-marked trails around the eastern portion of the island. Most of the major viewpoints on the island are easily accessible along the Mountain Trail, including the small and large flowerpot formations, a small cave and lighthouse.
Glass Bottom Boat Tour – there are a couple of boat operators that provide boat tours and the option to get dropped off and picked up from Flowerpot Island. We went with Blue Heron Boat Tours, which provided outdoor seating. The boat tour first passes through Big Hub Harbour to view two shallow shipwrecks: Sweepstakes and the City of Grand Rapids.
The Observation Tower – is located close to the parking lot at the Visitor Centre and provides a panoramic view of Georgian Bay and the surrounding area.
Bruce Peninsula offers backcountry camping along the Bruce Trail and frontcountry camping at Cyprus Lake Campground. It also has ten yurts along Cyprus Lake for those that want a more luxurious camping experience.
As part of a pilot project to determine whether there’s demand to visit the park during the off-season, Bruce Peninsula opened up its ten yurts for camping during the fall of 2021 and winter of 2022. Given that Bruce Peninsula is insanely popular during the summer, we decided to give it a whirl in March 2022 to experience a quieter side of the park.