Bruce Trail

IMG_9181

Length: 885.0km
Distance hiked: 295.1km

The Bruce Trail is an 885km trail that follows the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory. The trail in divided into nine sections with each section managed by its own club. The trail itself is very well maintained and clearly marked by white blazes painted on trees or signposts. There are an additional 400km of side trails that are marked by blue blazes.

If you are serious about hiking all or even part of the trail, the Bruce Trail Reference Guide or the Bruce Trail App are extremely useful to have as they provide detailed maps and information about parking and access points for the entire trail.

Each section of the Bruce Trail generally organizes an annual (or biannual) “End-to-Ends”  event where hikers cover an entire section of the trail over the course of a weekend or series of weekends. These hikes are no joke – they cover A LOT of ground. How the event works is that you park your car at one end and a bus shuttles you to the start. You then hike at your own pace back to your vehicle. There are various checkpoints along the way where volunteers provide water and snacks. You also have the option of dropping out if you underestimated your abilities or injured yourself. But if you do succeed in hiking the entire section you will be rewarded with a badge!

Alternatively you can complete each section of the Bruce Trail at your own pace to be eligible for a badge. You just have to keep a log of your hikes (including where you started and ended) and mail it the club along with a few dollars for the fee of the badge.

And the best part is is that each section offers their own unique badge. And there is different badge depending on whether you complete the end-to-end challenge or simply hike the entire section on your own. Plus some sections offer special badges – like if you snowshoe certain portions of the Dufferin Hi-Land section or if you complete all the side trails of the Beaver Valley section. Just think of how many different badges you can collect! The possibilities are endless.


NiagaraNiagara

Length: 80.0km
Distance hiked: 25.0km
Number of hikes: 1

We signed up to complete the Niagara End-to-Ends section of the Bruce Trail back in May 2017. This event takes place over three days during the Victoria Day long weekend every year. Rain or shine. We were the second bus to hit the scene. For the first 10km we maintained a pretty brisk pace. We even caught up to a bunch of hikers from the first bus and quickly left them behind. And the hike itself was quite enjoyable. The trail was relatively flat, there were lots of flowers in bloom, and we got to weave around a number of vineyards. But around 15km in the terrain took a turn for the worst. Rocks everywhere. Rocks up a hill. Rocks down a hill. Always maneuvering over rocks. The Mountainview Conservation area was the worst. And with 3km left the steepest downhill yet nearly had us in. We defiantly underestimated just how difficult this hike would be. We did not return for the second or third day.

Niagara Hiking Log 


IroquoiaIroquoia

Length: 121.7km
Distance hiked: 113.7km
Number of hikes: 15

The Iroquoia section of the Bruce Trail spans 121.7km from Grimsby to Milton. We’ve been slowly chipping away at completing this section since 2015. The annual End-to-Ends event for the Iroquoia section falls over four days over two consecutive weekends at the end of October and beginning of November. But the first day consists of 39.4km of hiking. I initially signed up to complete the end-to-ends event back in 2014 with a group of friends but only managed to complete two of the four days. It was intense. And I was hurtin’. Besides, my partner in crime shied away from these long grueling hikes. And since we want to complete the entire Bruce Trail together, we decided to screw the end-to-ends event and tackle this beast on our own. Here is a log of our hikes along the Iroquois section.

Iroquoia Hiking Log


TorontoToronto

Length: 49.5km
Distance hiked: 49.5km
Number of hikes: 2

The Toronto section is the shorted section of the Bruce Trail. And is reputed to be one of the easier sections – not just because of its shorter distance, but also because the terrain is relatively flat. Because of this we decided to participate in our first ever End-to-Ends event for the Toronto section back in September 2014. Over the course of a weekend we hiked its entire length over two consecutive days. The Toronto club does organize a one-day End-to-Ends, but that seemed a little too intense, even for us.

Toronto Hiking Log


CaledonCaledon

Length: 72.3km
Distance hiked: 72.3km
Number of hikes: 2

The Caledon club generally holds their annual End-to-Ends hike over two or three days during the Thanksgiving long weekend. In October 2014 we decided to participate in the three-day event. Except by the time we signed up it was fully booked. But, there were still some availability for the two-day event. Perhaps rather foolishly we signed up with the more intense hikers to cover 72.3km over the course of two days.

Caledon Hiking Log


BT - DufferinDufferin Hi-Land

Length: 56.3km
Distance hiked: 27.4km
Number of hikes: 6

The Dufferin Hi-Land is another section of the Bruce Trail that we’ve been slowly chipping away at over the last few years. This section spans from Mono Cliffs Provincial Park to just south of the Noisy River Provincial Park. It is the second shortest section of the Bruce Trail. And also a section of the Bruce Trail that is just far enough away from the Greater Toronto Area where you won’t encounter nearly as heavy traffic on the trails. Here is a log of our hikes along the Dufferin Hi-Land section.

Dufferin Hi-Land Hiking Log


BT - Blue MountainsBlue Mountains

Length: 66.0km
Distance hiked: 0.0km
Number of hikes: 0

Blue Mountains Hiking Log

 


BT - Beaver ValleyBeaver Valley

Length: 113.8km
Distance hiked: 0.0km
Number of hikes: 0

Beaver Valley Hiking Log


BT - SydenhamSydenham

Length: 168.4km
Distance hiked: 0.0km
Number of hikes: 0

Sydenham Hiking Log

 

 


BT - PeninsulaPeninsula

Length: 166.0km
Distance hiked: 9.4km
Number of hikes: 2

The Peninsula section of the Bruce Trail hugs along the incredibly scenic rugged coastline of Georgian Bay from Wiarton up to Tobermory. It is the second longest section and is reputed to be the most challenging. Unlike many of the other sections that are located near the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), there are many areas along the trail with limited roadside/trail access. The Peninsula section does hold an annual End-to-Ends hike that splits the entire 166.0km distance over the course of 4 weekends and 8 days. But participants are required to hike together. And there are no check points to refill your water bottles. Or drop-outs.

If the Peninsula section wasn’t so far from Toronto (it’s about a 3 and a half hour drive from our place) we would hike here more often. The scenery is hands down one of the best along the Bruce Trail. And one of the best across Ontario.

Peninsula Hiking Log


Working our way through the Bruce Trail one step at a time,
L & K

2 thoughts on “Bruce Trail

  1. Rolandomio Travel says:

    You walked a very nice Trail! I am planning my next Camino later this year, most likely the Camino del Norte in Galicia Spain. If you haven‘t walked the Camino de Santiago, you should! It’s a lifetime experience walking on these trails pilgrims walked already 1000 years ago 🙂 there are about 5 different ones which all lead to Santiago de Compostela. In this sense, I wish you a Buen Camino!!!

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Hiking the Camino del Norte in Galicia Spain sounds like it’ll be an incredible experience! One day we’ll make our way up to Spain. And when we do you better believe this will be near the top of our list of things to do. Best of luck on your pilgrimage!! I look forward to reading about your adventure on your website.

      Like

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