Distance hiked: 367.3km
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 – such as 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.
Distance hiked: 27.2km
Number of hikes: 2
Niagara is considered wine country in Ontario. So it seems fitting that the Niagara section marks the start (or end) of the Bruce Trail. The trail passes through lush forests, fields and even vineyards. What better way to end a day of hiking than by sipping on a glass of wine.
Distance hiked: 121.7km
Number of hikes: 16
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.
Distance hiked: 49.5km
Number of hikes: 3
The Toronto section is the shortest section of the Bruce Trail. It 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.
Distance hiked: 72.3km
Number of hikes: 5
The Caledon Hills section is probably our favourite section along the Bruce Trail. The trail meanders through forests, fields and meadows. It is particularly scenic in the fall when the leaves are changing colour.
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.
Distance hiked: 39.2km
Number of hikes: 8
The Dufferin Hi-Land 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. As an added bonus, it is just far enough away from the Greater Toronto Area where you won’t encounter nearly as heavy traffic along the trails.
Distance hiked: 25.7km
Number of hikes: 5
Don’t be fooled by the relatively short distance of this section of the Bruce Trail. The path meanders along several ski hills that involve a lot of highs and lows (literal and figurative). As a reward for your efforts, the trail provides sweeping views of the rolling countryside and the Nottawasaga Bay.
Distance hiked: 9.4km
Number of hikes: 1
The Beaver Valley section spans from Craigleith to Blantyre. The trail passes through a diverse landscape including along the top of the escarpment above Nottawasaga Bay and the Beaver Valley, as well as through fields, forests and meadows.
Distance hiked: 6.6km
Number of hikes: 1
Sydenham is the longest section of the Bruce Trail and covers Blantyre to Wiarton. The terrain is reputed to be strenuous, but the trail offers many viewpoints overlooking Georgian Bay and various waterfalls, including Inglis Falls.
Sydenham Hiking Log
Distance hiked: 15.2km
Number of hikes: 3
The Peninsula section of the Bruce Trail hugs 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, 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) 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.
Working our way through the Bruce Trail one step at a time,
L & K