The Finest Scenic Drives on the Bruce Peninsula

Photo of view along Island View Drive

Island View Drive

PART ONE: PAVED ROADS

Highway Six offers the straightest, flattest, fastest route from Owen Sound to Tobermory.

But there are sideroads and alternative routes galore that are much more interesting. Here are our favourites:

❶ The East Road (Bruce County Road 9) from Colpoys Bay (just north of Wiarton) to Caudle Sideroad, north of Lion’s Head. The East Road offers a less travelled and more scenic alternative to the Queen’s Highway #6. Special care is needed on Whippoorwill Shore just north of Lion’s Head — the view is stunning but remember you’re sharing the road with cyclists and Bruce Trail hikers.

➋ Cape Croker. “The Cape” offers a number of variations on the theme of “limestone cliffs and pristine shoreline”.

➌ The Lake Huron shoreline roads from Pike Bay to Howdenvale and Spry Lake Road to South Oliphant Road. You’ll need a map to do this, but it’s worth it. Includes St Jean’s Point Nature Preserve, the Oliphant Fen Boardwalk and the Government Dock and park at Oliphant. Return to Highway 6 by Red Bay Rd or Bruce Cty Rd 13 or (unpaved and you’ll need a map) Rankin Bridge Rd.

Whippoorwill Shore north of Lion's Head

➍ Island View Drive (Grey County Rd. 1) When you are leaving the Bruce Peninsula, take a few extra minutes for one of the finest drives in Canada. Turn east at the Frank Street light in Wiarton (by the Tim Hortons), and follow the shoreline road around to Owen Sound. There are several parks, public docks and scenic lookouts. We promise you won’t be disappointed. (From the other end, follow 2nd Ave West northbound out of Owen Sound.)

 

FOR THE ADVENTUROUS: UNPAVED ROADS

➊ The Forty Hills Road from Caudle Sideroad to Dyers Bay Road. When the East Road meets Caudle Sideroad (see Paved Roads ➊), you have a choice. A left turn on Caudle Sideroad offers a paved route out to Highway 6. The alternative is to go straight ahead onto the unpaved and aptly named “40 Hills Road”. Warning: 40 Hills Road occasionally narrows to a single lane and has extremely tight corners. Not suitable for motorhomes or trailers.

❷ Cabot Head. A narrow gravel road leads from the village of Dyers Bay to Cabot Head. Featuring drop-dead gorgeous views and nasty potholes. Special Bonus Feature: the road ends at historic Cabot Head Lightstation Museum with views of Georgian Bay, Wingfield Basin and the stunning cliffs of Cabot Head. Please brake for snakes on the road. Warning: if it looks like poison ivy, it IS poison ivy.

❸ Rankin Bridge Rd. is a narrow, twisting gravel road leading east from Sauble Falls (you’ll need a map). The hardwood trees meet overhead; there are views of the Sauble River and a bridge over the Rankin River.

Photo of view at Hope Bay beach eastern shoreline Bruce Peninsula

Beach at Hope Bay, just off the East Road