From the Cypress Lake Campground in Bruce Peninsula National Park you can take several routes to the crystal clear, cold waters of Georgian Bay.
I walked along the easiest path, the Georgian Bay Trail which will get you to the coast the quickest along a cedar mulched path, through pine forest. It is mostly level with viewpoints of Horse Lake along the way. It will take about 20 minutes until you reach the escarpment at Halfway Rock Point. Here, you will want to take your time and scramble over the rocks for some great views to the north and south.
A little further north on the trail you will reach the Natural Arch, and then a few minutes later, the Grotto. Apparantly Scuba divers can enter the Grotto by and underwater passage on the Georgian Bay side.
Many people spend the day here, picnicking and swimming. For the easiest route back, return to the parking area via the same trail.
If you are looking for some peace and solitude be forwarned that hordes of campers with children and dogs begin to descend upon this trail around 10am.
From the Grotto you can continue walking north along the Bruce Trail, it will be marked by white paint on either the trees or rocks. See the photo on my intro page for an example of these white "blazes" as they are called.
You will be walking along a very rocky, beach, see the photo. It is tough on your ankles! But it is only about 15 minutes before you reach the Marr Lake Trail which will take you back to your car at the Head of Trails Parking lot.
You will pass the quiet Marr Lake with good reflections of the surrounding pine and birch forest. The path is quite level, with a few rocky sections, but it is not difficult. It should only take 20-30 minutes.
There is a great loop hike that you can do around the Lion's Head Provincial Nature Reserve, which is located just south of the village of Lion's Head.
The entire loop is about 19kms and took us 6hrs. However, we stopped at each and every viewpoint, had a lunch break and had many photo stops as well. You can visit just the most dramatic viewpoint, by hiking in from Lion's Head and then retracing your path back out. This would probably take an hour each way.
We began on North Shore Rd in Barrow's Bay and followed the Bruce Trail through cedar forest northeast, steadily climbing as you ascend the escarpment to Gun Point. It doesn't take long before you emerge from the forest and reach your first viewpoint such as the one pictured here. The path continues in and out of the dense forest and at one point descends right to a primitive campsite on a rocky beach of Georgian Bay. You then climb back up and continue northwest to the Lion's Head lookout. From here you will see many rock climbers and have a good view to the west of Lion's Head village. The path then descends from here to the west until it intersects with the Elsie side trail, which will take you on a level hike south through birch forest and open meadow back to the carpark.
The Bruce Trail passes through the Cape Croker Indian Reservation and Campground, where we were spending the weekend. We did the entire loop with views of Sydney Bay to the south and Hope Bay to the north. However, the views were few and far between, most of the walk was through dense forest, so I would not recommend doing this entire loop.
Instead, I recommend following the trail up the staircase to the top of the escarpment then continuing to the left, up further still for the best viewpoint on the trail. From here I would descend the staircase and follow the trail back to the beach via the 900m boardwalk through the marshes. This is called the Snake Trail. This excursion should only take 1-2 hrs.
I would save my energy for one of the other hikes that I have described above. You will see much better views.
Although I didn't get a chance to try kayaking myself on this visit, I noticed many paddlers out on the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay while hiking atop the Niagara Escarpment. I think that their view looking up at the escarpment would have rivalled the beauty of my own, looking down.
There are many quiet bays and inlets, perfect for kayaking and many outfitters willing to rent you the equipment for a few hours or a few days.
Equipment: You can rent kayaks at Ram Outdoors in Tobermory, Suntrail Outfitters on Hwy 6 in Hepworth, GS Watersports in Tobermory and Thorncrest Outfitters in Southampton and Tobermory
One can boat in the crystal clear waters, scuba dive on many of the 22 shipwrecks, snorkel, jet ski, canoe, kayak, etc.
While we saw some kayakers along the shores, we definitely would like to be back with our own canoe soon.
Some of the best diving in North America is found in the crystal clear waters surrounding the Bruce Peninsula. Within Canada's first National Marine Park, called Fathom Five, lie some of Canada's oldest and best preserved shipwrecks. Some dating back to the mid 19th century.
There are 20 historical wrecks in the park and a new wreck, sunk on purpose to attract new divers. The 183 ft freighter was sunk in 1999, totally intact.
I am not a scuba diver, but apparantly some of the wrecks are visible to snorkellers and by glass bottom boat. One wreck can even be seen from the Little Tub Harbour boardwalk, partially sticking out of the water.
Equipment: All of your equipment and excursion needs will be met by several good outfitters in Tobermory like GS Watersports Ltd.
I am not an avid mountain biker, I don't even own a mountain bike but on this trip I got to do a small bit of riding but got toured around extensvely and hiked a few tracks. In these pictures you can get a glimpse of the Adventure Park.
The scenery through the woods was beautiful and throughout the trail there were plenty of daring set ups to test yours skills.
The Bruce Peninsula has become very well known for its mountain biking trails at Brant Track and a new one called Carrick Tract. I have some pictures of my hikes through Brant and Carrick in the next two tips :-)
Brant Tract is a 781-acre property that consists of approximately 30 kilometres of trail. These trails range from single-track, double-track to roadways suitable for levels.
Dedicated workers through a Youth Services Canada Project that took place in 2003 and 2004 developed much of the “single track” using IMBA [http://www.imba.com/] trail building standards. In addition, picnic areas, benches, boardwalks and bridges can be found throughout the park. In one of my pictures you'll see that we done a brief track building course to get a taste of what was involved. There is a lot more to building trails for mountain bikes than you might think!
Also in my picture you will the White Trillium. This is Ontario's official flower. This beautiful white flower blooms in the forests in most of Ontario in late April and May. This flower was also used for food and medicine by Native people.
I think you really enjoy Brant Tract!
Equipment: The Brant Tract County Forest is located 8 kilometres south of Paisley on Brant Concession 12, one Kilometre east of Bruce County Road 3.
The property currently has 5 kilometres of single-track trail available for use. These open and flowing trail run through the valleys of Carrick Township and are suitable for hikers and biking enthusiasts. There is an additional 3 kilometres of double-track trail available for all users except motorized use.