Access 1 to Access 5 – 6km Easy
Wiarton to Colpoy’s Bay
- From the waterfront of Wiarton, the white-blazed Bruce Trail goes through Bluewater park, along a paved road, a track and up a spiral staircase to the top of the escarpment in the Spirit Rock Conservation Area. The blue-blazed Spirit Rock Side Trail takes you to The Corran, the ruins of a 19th Century estate. The Bruce Trail continues across pasture, stiles, and along the roads of Colpoy’s Bay village, once a thriving lumber port, to the Colpoy’s Bay Access 5.
- In good weather, the blue trail will be the preferred route but in icy or stormy conditions, it could be dangerous.
- A hike utilizing both main and blue trails make an attractive 6 km loop.
Access 5 to Access 7 – 12.6km Moderate
Colpoy’s Bay to Purple Valley Access
- Over a stile at Country Road 9, the white-blazed Main Trail passes the ‘nervous nellie’ stile and goes over a second stile and through mixed forest. Following a logging road, the Trail turns toward the scarp edge.
- The blue-blazed Colpoy’s Bluff sidetrail is a parallel inland trail along the logging road. Passing the Mallory Beach access and connector trails, a number of fine views of Colpoy’s Bay will be experienced. The blue-blazed Purple Valley access sidetrail leads to a Parking area at the end of this hike.
Access 7 to Access 12 – 9.5km Moderate
Purple Valley Access to south side of Jones Bluff
- Starting at Access 7, follow the blue-blazed Purple Valley Side Trail o the white-blazed Bruce Trail. Turn east (left) and follow the Bruce Trail through Chippewas of Nawash land, traversing mixed forest growing on the typically broken southern side of the Peninsula Escarpment Bluffs. The Trail crosses pasture, passes the Malcolm Bluff Side Trail and Coveney’s Side Trail and descends the Moss Crevice Ladder. It continues to Jones Bluff Access 12.
Access 12 to Access 13 – 8.5km Easy
Jones Bluff to Cape Croker
- Starting at Access 12 the white-blazed Bruce Trail follows the scarp edge closely, the Trail presents an ever-changing series of views of the Cape Croker area, including islands in Colpoy’s Bay, the village of Cape Croker, and Sydney Bay below the spectacular face of Sydney Bay Bluff. The Trail passes the Jones Bluff Side Trail and joins a paved road. Turn right (east) and follow the road, turning north (left) on the campground road to Access 13 at the campground office. The Cape Croker campground is an excellent base from which to explore the outstanding local hiking trails.
Access 13 to Access 16 – 11.2km Moderate
Cape Croker to Hope Bay
- The white-blazed Bruce Trail goes through the campground, down to Sydney Bay and along the Snake Trail Boardwalk (built by the Chippewas of Nawash). Follow the Bruce Trail, cross over a campground road and up a short, but strenuous ascent to reach the steel staircase built by Peninsula Club volunteers in 1996. At the top of the staircase, follow the white blazes, past the blue-blazed Hart’s Tongue Side Trail, and continue along the escarpment with the spectacular views over Sydney Bay. The Bruce Trail passes the Sydney Bluff Lookout Side Trail, eventually turning north, then meandering westerly through a succession forest, passing the north end of the Hart’s Tongue Side Trail and emerging at a wooden ladder to descend the escarpment. The Trail meets Brock St. at access 15 but continues towards Hope Bay, arriving at the parking area (Access 16) south of the campground and the General Store.
Access 16 to Access 18 – 8.5km Strenuous
Hope Bay to Jackson’s Cove
- Take the Bruce Trail north along Hope Bay roads up and into the Hope Bay Nature Reserve. The tortuous route of the Trail is due to collapsed ancient caverns and features the Glacial Potholes created by rushing glacial water. The blue-blazed Jack Poste Side Trail touches the Bruce Trail in two places. Arriving at the scarp edge, fine lookouts to the waters of Hope Bay abound until the Trail reaches the Hopeness Side Trail. Continue along the white-blazed main trail to reach Access 18 at the intersection with Jackson’s Cove Road.
Access 18 to Access 20 – 12km Moderate
Jackson’s Cove to Rush Cove
- From the BTA parking area at the top of the hill find the white blazes just down the hill on the left. Follow near the scarp edge for 1.3km to Jackson’s Cove Lookout Side Trail. Turning west (left) you soon bear north (right) at the Jackson’s Cove Side Trail junction and follow an old logging road, then forest, to meet the Pease Side Trail (south end, which leads to Access 19 parking). Continuing north on the Bruce Trail, (now on private lands so please stay on the trail) you soon descend the escarpment through forest and open alvar to reach a raised shoreline. After several good views of Barrier Island you then reach the north end of the Pease Side Trail. At this location the trail descends via a ladder to the rocky shoreline where you continue west (left) for 180m then return to the original terrace level by another ladder. Once again follow the Trail west (right) to where the forest gradually thins to sparse birch and cedar, and then rises to an upper terrace level to end at the Rush Cove Parking (Access 20). You may explore the shoreline on Bruce Trail property up to the fence boundary but please do not go further west by private cottages.
Access 20 to Access 23 – 10km Easy
Rush Cove to Barrow Bay
- This section of the trail currently follows only roads or road allowances.
Access 23 to Access 24 – 13km Very Strenuous
Cemetary Road to Lion’s Head
- From Barrow Bay, drive north and turn right on Evergreen Road, then right again onto Cemetery Road to the dead end (Access 23). The blue-blazed Cemetery Road Access Trail links this parking area to the blue-blazed Ilse Hanel Side Trail and beyond that, the white-blazed Bruce Trail. The Gun Point section of the Bruce Trail is rugged and spectacular, with significant changes in elevation. The Ilse Hanel and Inland Side Trails are easier walking, especially in wet weather. There is an overnight camping area (no facilities) at McKay’s Harbour. What you pack in, please pack out. NO FIRES. There is ample Municipal parking in Lion’s Head.
Access 24 to Access 27 – 4.9 to 6.2km Easy
Lion’s Head to White Bluff
- From Access 24 or 25 on Moore St. the trail leaves the road and cuts down to the streets of the charming village of Lion’s Head. Access 26 is at Helen & Forbes Sts. near the beach. From here follow Helen St. north to Ida and Main Sts., then up and over Bannister’s Hill. The trail then follows Isthmus Bay Road north for 3km to the Forty Hills Rd. and the Bruce Trail Parking area at Access 27. As the road follows the coastline there are several fine views of White Bluff and the cliffs of Lion’s Head.
Access 27 to Access 28 – 12.2km Strenuous
White Bluff to Smokey Head Access
- Use the Bruce Trail parking area off Forty Hills Rd. and the short Richardson Access Trail (blue blazes) to reach the Bruce Trail (white blazes). Turn north (left) to white Bluff with its spectacular view of Isthmus Bay and Lion’s Head cliffs to the south. Continue north to Reed’s Dump, a staging area during the 19ty century logging trade. The 200m Reed’s dump Side Trail leads down to the shoreline and the overnight camping area )no facilities). What you pack in, please pack out. NO FIRES. Further north, the smells of lush beaver meadow, the views from Smokey Head and a winding descent through a beautiful old forest bring the hike to an end at the Smokey Head Access 28 on Carter Road. (Cape Chin South).
Access 28 to Access 31 – 11.6km Moderate
Smokey Head to Cape Chin North
- The highlight of this section is a rich, ever-changing wetland, thickly populated with beaver. Emerging from the cattle pasture, onto the Cape Chin North Road, the trail follows the road past a B&B, and then turns east (right) to the scarp edge for views of Dyer’s Bay. There is limited roadside parking at Cape Chin North Rd. at the top of the hill.
Access 31 to Access 34 – 5.8km Moderate
Cape Chin North to Dyer’s Bay Access
- Access 32 and parking area is located near the end of Borchardt Road, left off Cape Chin North Road. There are some fine views along this section, including the Devil’s Monument, a glacial pothole and a natural arch. After following the white-blazed Bruce Trail inland to the Britain Lake Road Access 33, and Cottrill Lake Side Trail, the Trail briefly turns east for several more views of Dyer’s Bay, then returns inland to meet the north end of the Cottrill Side Trail. Crossing east of the road, follow below a fractured ridge east to a natural arch and the Michiganders Side Trail. Turning left (north), follow the scarp edge, then dip below and back up to meet Dyer’s Bay Road at Access 34 (and parking) in 1 km.
Access 34 to Access 37 – 12.7km Easy (Roads) to Moderate
Dyer’s Bay to Crane River Gate
- A variety of landscapes, including several fine lookouts over Dyer’s Bay, mixed forest, alvar and wetland will be experienced in the 5 km to Lindsay Road 40. Turning left (SW), the trail follows this peaceful road past farm and forest to Crane Lake Road. Turning right, Crane Lake Road becomes a one-lane, curving route, with former ranch lands to the west as you approach Crane Lake Gate parking. You have now entered National Park lands.
Access 37 to Access 37 – 15km Most Difficult
Crane River Gate to Halfway Dump
- For your safety and comfort, it is recommended that you hike this section from North to South. The first 7 km are very rugged and the last 7 km are easy bush road walking.
- Start at the Halfway Dump parking area (fee) down Emmett Lake Road. Follow the Halfway Dump Side Trail to the old logging ‘dump’ near Georgian Bay. Turn right (NE) and follow the white-blazed Bruce Trail along the rugged scarp edge to High Dump. This 7 km section is remote, waterless and demanding. A short, blue-blazed High Dump Side Trail leads down to the High Dump campsite operated by the National Park. Advance reservations are required.
Access 37 to Access 38 – 6km Strenuous
Halfway Dump to Cyprus Lake (Head of the Trails: Bruce Peninsula National Park)
- This beautifully rugged piece of Trail travels along the escarpment cliff as well as rocky coast and cobble beach. The 0.9 km Halfway Dump Side Trail (blue-blazed) from Emmett Lake Road parking area (fee) takes you directly to Halfway Dump, site of another logging ‘dump’ from a century ago. Follow the white-blazed Bruce Trail to the left (NW) to reach Cave Point and Halfway Point Rock, also landmark names from the lake-based logging era. The views in this section are considered among the best in the entire peninsula….
- Once at the Cyprus Lake section, you may reach Head of Trails parking via Horse Lake Trail (most direct), or you continue slightly farther to explore Indian Head Cove, the Natural Arch, and the Grotto. This may involve several hours but there are washrooms nearby and many spots to rest, snack, and enjoy the views. From here, Georgian Bay Trail is an easy walk to Head of Trails OR you could cross the boulder beach to the NW and return by the more demanding Marr Lake Trail
Access 39 to Access 40 – 14km Strenuous
Cyprus Lake (Head of the Trails: Bruce Peninsula National Park) to Little Cove
- From Head of Trails, take Marr Lake Trail to the cobble beach at Marr Lake. Turn left (NW), following the he white-blazed Bruce Trail towards Overhanging Point. You will pass ‘Lord Hunt’s Tunnel’ a former sinkhole piercing the cliff rock to the talus slopes below. The Trail next descends to the shore, along a cobble beach, then swings inland to Loon Lake. Past Cooney’s Dump (the last access to water for 8 km) experience a variety of forest, alvar and cliff-edge environments. Near Driftwood Cove, the blue-blazed Sinkhole Side Trail leads to a large sinkhole. The Bruce Trail is crossing this private property due to the generosity of the landowner. Do not leave the trail. The last 5 km is atop the escarpment, eventually descending to the rocky shoreline at Little Cove. The parking area is 400m west of the shoreline up the hill on Little Cove Rd.
Access 40 to Access 43 – 6.1km Normal to Strenuous
Little Cove to Tobermory
- From the parking area above Little Cove, the trail goes north, alongside a private road, eventually meeting the scarp edge and follows the rugged shoreline to Dunk’s Bay.
- After skirting around the private cottages and cemetery, the trail enters the land base of Fathom Five National Marine Park. Before reaching Tobermory, the trail will bring you to the site of the new National Park Visitors Centre, which opened in June 2006. Stay on the trail and observe reroutes around the Centre. Once in Tobermory you soon reach the Northern Terminus Cairn, built and dedicated in 1967 at the official opening of the Bruce Trail. The Cairn symbolizes the reality of the trail, the vision and power of an idea, as well as the commitment of the volunteers who keep it alive for us all.
Information reproduced with permission by the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club.
For a proper copy of the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club Day Hike Guide, contact Peninsula Bruce Trail Club, PO Box 2, Tobermory, Ontario N0H 2R0