Bruce Trail

A National Treasure (and it’s not just for Serious Hikers)

Overhanging-Pt

Overhanging Point

On the Bruce Peninsula, the Bruce Trail is the best way to experience the wilderness up close and personal — pristine forests and shorelines, miles from the nearest road, out of sight of “civilization” and frequently even out of cell phone range.

There are hazards that you should be aware of; black bears and massasauga rattlesnakes call this area home and you are the visitor.  Watch out for cliffs and crevasses and poison ivy; always hike with a friend, use a guidebook and map and take lots of water!

Rules for hiking are very simple: do not hike off the marked route; respect the privacy of anyone living along the trail; pack in and pack out everything; do not start any fires; leave only your thanks.

The Peninsula Bruce Trail Club’s Day Hike Guide (widely available at Peninsula stores) offers comprehensive maps and notes. Ross McLean’s Trails at the Tip is a great guide to a variety of hikes on the Bruce Peninsula.

For those who have never hiked the Bruce Trail, here are a few “starter hikes”. All of them offer rewarding scenic lookouts without the challenges of seriously rough terrain. It would be a good idea to buy the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club’s Day Hike Guide.  It would also be a good idea to take a compass along. (Do you know how to use the compass and GPS functions on your cell phone? Bear in mind that those functions don’t work when there is no cell service, which happens a lot.)

TOBERMORY

There is a wheelchair accessible trail from the National Park Visitor Centre to a superb scenic lookout at Little Dunks Bay. It’s only a ten-minute walk, but on the return trip, you can take the Burnt Point loop trail instead. The loop trail offers more scenic lookouts with shoreline access and a relatively easy 1.5 hour walk through dense forest.
NATIONAL PARK PERMIT REQUIRED.

DYERS BAY

An easy loop trail begins at the (large) parking lot on Dyers Bay Road (at the top of the hill, just outside the village).

Michigander Loop: Take the Bruce Trail south from the parking lot. In about 500m you will find a side trail on the left which leads to a lookout. Return to the Bruce Trail and follow it around to Britain Lake Road. If you’re still feeling frisky, turn left and continue on to Devil’s Monument and return by the Minhinnick Side Trail (short cut). Otherwise, turn right and take Britain Lake Road to Dyer’s Bay Road and back to your car.

The Jones Bluff Loop at Cape Croker - an easy, but long (8km) hike with spectacular scenic lookouts.

The Jones Bluff Loop at Cape Croker – an easy, but long (8km) hike with spectacular scenic lookouts. 

CAPE CHIN NORTH

Otter Lake Side Trail: Park at the Bruce Trail lot near the corner of Cape Chin North Road and Borchardt Road. The Otter Lake Side Trail meets the Bruce Trail at Cape Chin North Road. Two to three hours for the loop depending on whether you take the Bard Trail shortcut.

Devil’s Monument: Park at the Bruce Trail lot near the end of Borchardt Rd. Walk barely 500m to Devil’s Monument (the largest of the Bruce Peninsula’s flowerpot formations). Return by the Minhinnick Side Trail. Less than an hour, total, but you may be tempted to linger at Devil’s Monument and the adjacent Georgian Bay shoreline. (Bring your bathing suit?) Please note that the access trail to Devil’s Monument is steep, rocky and slippery, requiring sturdy footwear and strong knees.

LION’S HEAD

An easy but rewarding hike leaves right from Lion’s Head Beach Park. Cross the Promenade to the marina and walk north along the shoreline road Bruin Lane. The Bruce Trail dives into the woods at the end of the Lane. It’s only a ten minute walk to Chetwynd Lane where you would turn around, but in between are Williams Cave and the Bannister Hill Loop Side Trail. Budget a couple of hours.

White Bluff Loop Hikes: park at the Bruce Trail lot on 40 Hills Road. There are three different loop trails available, varying from 5.5 to 9.8 km (2 to 4 hours). All of them offer lovely country and spectacular views across Isthmus Bay. The longer loop hike gets you down to the shore at Reed’s Dump.

CAPE CROKER

The Jones Bluff Loop: Park at the Bruce Trail lot on Boundary Road. Jones Bluff Loop is a long haul — 8.5km or 5 miles. The scenic lookouts are spectacular, and the trail itself is an easy hike, but plan ahead — it’s a 3 to 4 hour hike and there are no shortcuts, no bathrooms and no water fountains.

WIARTON

The Spirit Walk Loop: Park at the Spirit Rock Conservation Area, Hwy 6 just north of Wiarton. A very rewarding hike of barely an hour. Don’t miss the Corran itself — a ruined 19th century stone mansion.

For a complete list of regularly organized Peninsula Bruce Trail Club hikes pick up a copy of the Bruce Peninsula Press or visit PBTC’s website at www.pbtc.ca.