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Bruce Peninsula Traverse

The Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath, measuring over 890km from Niagara to Tobermory, following the magnificent Niagara Escarpment - a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve. This 10-day self-guided itinerary covers what many hikers claim to be the most spectacular section of the trail: The final stage (or beginning, depending on how you look at it) from Wiarton to Tobermory, covering the Bruce Peninsula from end to end. Each day on the trail affords endless outstanding coastal views perched high atop cliffs and along rocky beaches, looking out across the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Georgian Bay. You will swear that you are exploring Caribbean shorelines as opposed to the Canadian Great Lakes! With limited accommodation options, we've carefully selected a handful of inns located within walking distance to the trail, and have combined these cozy stays with a friendly transfer service. Your luggage is transferred as well, leaving you free to enjoy the trail with only a light day pack.

Inclusions

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 1 dinner
9 nights in a combination of inns, B&Bs and hotels, generally with private facilities, on a twin share basis
Detailed route notes and maps (1 package per 2 hikers)
Luggage transfers (1 piece per person)
Return transfers from Owen Sound and to/from trail heads, where listed in itinerary
Garmin Inreach satellite transponder for use on the trail
Glass-bottom boat to/from Flower Pot Island on Day 9
$50 donation to the Bruce Trail Conservancy
Hightlights
Explore the front and back country of Bruce Peninsula National Park
Hike atop the UNESCO-designated Niagara Escarpment
Enjoy endless cliff-top views
Dip your toes into the inviting crystal-clear turquoise waters
View shipwrecks on a glass-bottom ride to Flower Pot Island in Fathom Five National Marine Park
Walk through fairy-tale like forests of moss-covered boulders and lush foliage
Test your identification skills with 43 species of orchids, 23 species of ferns, and 300 bird species
Tour Provider Great Canadian Trails
Number of Days
10
Price From
AUD $2,590
Start Location
Owen Sound, Canada
End Location
Canada
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
2 to 8
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Walking
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
01 Jun 201910 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
02 Jun 201911 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
03 Jun 201912 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
04 Jun 201913 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
05 Jun 201914 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
07 Jun 201916 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
08 Jun 201917 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
09 Jun 201918 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
10 Jun 201919 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
11 Jun 201920 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
12 Jun 201921 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
14 Jun 201923 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
15 Jun 201924 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
16 Jun 201925 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
17 Jun 201926 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
18 Jun 201927 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
19 Jun 201928 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
21 Jun 201930 Jun 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
22 Jun 201901 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
23 Jun 201902 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
24 Jun 201903 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
25 Jun 201904 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
26 Jun 201905 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
28 Jun 201907 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
29 Jun 201908 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
30 Jun 201909 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
01 Jul 201910 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
02 Jul 201911 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
03 Jul 201912 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
05 Jul 201914 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
06 Jul 201915 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
07 Jul 201916 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
08 Jul 201917 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
09 Jul 201918 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
10 Jul 201919 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
12 Jul 201921 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
13 Jul 201922 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
14 Jul 201923 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
15 Jul 201924 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
16 Jul 201925 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
17 Jul 201926 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
19 Jul 201928 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
20 Jul 201929 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
21 Jul 201930 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
22 Jul 201931 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
23 Jul 201901 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
24 Jul 201902 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
26 Jul 201904 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
06 Aug 201915 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
07 Aug 201916 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
09 Aug 201918 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
10 Aug 201919 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
11 Aug 201920 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
12 Aug 201921 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
13 Aug 201922 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
14 Aug 201923 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
16 Aug 201925 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
17 Aug 201926 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
18 Aug 201927 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
19 Aug 201928 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
20 Aug 201929 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
21 Aug 201930 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
23 Aug 201901 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
24 Aug 201902 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
25 Aug 201903 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
26 Aug 201904 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
27 Aug 201905 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
28 Aug 201906 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
30 Aug 201908 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
31 Aug 201909 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
01 Sep 201910 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
02 Sep 201911 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
03 Sep 201912 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
04 Sep 201913 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
06 Sep 201915 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
07 Sep 201916 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
08 Sep 201917 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
09 Sep 201918 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
10 Sep 201919 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
11 Sep 201920 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
13 Sep 201922 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
14 Sep 201923 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
15 Sep 201924 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
16 Sep 201925 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
17 Sep 201926 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
18 Sep 201927 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
20 Sep 201929 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
21 Sep 201930 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
22 Sep 201901 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
23 Sep 201902 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
24 Sep 201903 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
25 Sep 201904 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
27 Sep 201906 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
28 Sep 201907 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
29 Sep 201908 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
30 Sep 201909 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
01 Oct 201910 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
02 Oct 201911 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
04 Oct 201913 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
05 Oct 201914 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $2,590
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
You will be picked up in Owen Sound (either from your hotel or from the bus station). You will need to advise your arrival details well in advance of your trip to coordinate your transfer details. A 30 minute drive brings you to the small town of Wiarton - the home of the famous weather-predicting groundhog and the center of the 'Wiarton Willie Festival' held annually around Groundhog Day. Wiarton is also the southern start point for the Peninsular section of the Bruce Trail, which makes it the perfect start point of your hike. Check into your cozy b&b and, time permitting, go for one of the suggested loop hikes this afternoon such as the 'Wiarton Loop', and easy 5.6km hike taking you to the legendary Spirit Rock and where you will walk amongst the ruins of a late 1800's mansion (the 'Corran'), and the McNeill Estate. Atop the Niagara Escarpment, enjoy your first view across Colpoy Bay before returning to town where a number of dining options allow you to fill up before your first big day of hiking the Bruce Trail.
Day 2
After a hearty breakfast at your B&B, you will be driven to the Jones Bluff trail access point. From here, you will follow the trail closely along the scarp edge and enjoy ever-changing views of Cape Croker and Sydney Bay, as well as a pleasant walk through a succession of forest. The trail takes you down into Sydney bay and then back up over Sydney Bay Bluff before descending a couple of wooden ladders and emerging into quiet Hope Bay where you will find a pretty beach, campground, and a small general store. Due to the lack of dining options in Hope Bay, you will be picked up here this evening and taken back to Wiarton where restaurant options await.
Day 3
Return to where you left off yesterday with a drop off at Hope Bay this morning, after breakfast and check-out. Today's walk takes you along the main trail and around Cape Dundas to pretty Rush Cove. Explore Magazine has listed the Cape Dundas Loop as one of Canada's 8 'essential routes' and you will soon find out why! Highlights of today include glacial pot holes, rare open alvar, walking along the base of the rocky escarpment, and large, moss-covered boulders that create an other-worldly and magical forest environment. Rush Cove is a lovely spot to end the day and enjoy the rocky shore before your pick-up and transfer to the town of Lion's Head where you can settle into your B&B and enjoy dinner in town.
Day 4
After another delightful breakfast from your hosts, head out for the hike that some claim to be the highlight of the peninsula - the Lion's Head Loop. This is one of the more challenging sections of the trail with plenty of ups and downs, exposed tree roots, and rocky pathways. The dramatic views from the exposed cliff-tops at Gun Point and postcard-perfect Lion's Head Lookout make it clear as to why this is a 'must-do' on any hiker's list. We recommend walking the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.
Day 5
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your trusty transfer service and taken to the trail head at Cape Chin South where you will begin your walk back to Lion's Head. Before getting right onto the trail, perhaps make a detour north up the beach to check out the whimsical benches, walkways, and fire pits constructed out of the surrounding beach stone. It's as though every resident along the shore agreed to follow a landscaping guideline of creativity. Back on the trail, you will follow the turquoise shoreline until you go inland through a forest of hardwood trees before coming out to impressive Smokey Head lookout with sweeping views over the coast. Continuing south, you follow rugged trails atop the escarpment and the mixed forests of a provincial nature reserve until you reach the apex of your hike at White Bluff which offers a spectacular vista across Isthmus Bay to the cliffs of Lion's Head, where you were precariously perched the day before. The rest of the hike is mostly on a paved road leading into Lion's Head, but ends with a pleasant walk past some impressive caves in the adjacent cliff face and a stroll past the harbour into town.
Day 6
There are a few options for your hike today, as there are multiple drop-off points along the trail between Cape Chin and Dyer's Bay, and a few optional side trails which can either shorten or extend your walk. For the longest hike on the main trail (approx 18km), you will be dropped off just north of Dyer's Bay near Juniper Flats. Alternatively, you may be dropped off at the trailhead in Dyer's Bay for an 11km walk on the main trail. Either way, your walk will take you past several fantastic lookouts atop the escarpment. For those interested in birding, the Otter Lake Side Trail is your highlight today as you will walk through a nesting habitat (peak months are May and June) for a large variety of wetland bird species. Another highlight today, regardless of your chosen route, will be the Devil's Monument - A large sea stack or 'flowerpot' which has separated from the adjacent cliff face. Your accommodation tonight is a remote B&B in quiet Cape Chin North, where you will enjoy a home-cooked meal and friendly hospitality before retiring for the night.
Day 7
Today we enjoy a spectacular section of the trail through Bruce Peninsula National Park. You will be dropped off at the Halfway Dump trail access within the park and continue northwest along the main trail. Within the park, the main highlights are Indian Head Cove, the Natural Arch, and the 'must see' Grotto - An impressive cave on the shore with sunlight from the outside revealing a brilliant blue underwater tunnel on the inside. Other than the park highlights today, a real gem is further north at Little Cove where the trail descends to a shore of weathered dolostone blocks. You will be picked up at the Little Cove Provincial Nature Reserve parking area and transferred to Tobermory, where you will spend the next 3 nights.
Day 8
A simple, continental breakfast is included at your hotel but other options are also available at the hotel or in town. Apart from being home to the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail, Tobermory is known as the freshwater SCUBA diving capital of the world. Today is yours to do as you like but guided excursions should be arranged in advance. This morning, you have the option of taking a 3.5 hour guided kayaking excursion along the shores of Georgian Bay, which is a classic way to experience the shoreline (approximately C$80 per person, minimum of 2 participants, booked in advance, paid locally, subject to weather conditions). Of course, to finish your Bruce Trail traverse in true, you should head into the mainland section of Fathom Five National Marine Park where the main trail joins a pretty loop through the park overlooking the park's offshore islands. Coming back out of the park, you follow trail markers to the cairn, marking the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail. Total walk return from your hotel is approx 5km. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch and dinner options today (not included).
Day 9
Your exploration of the Bruce Trail is complete, but the exploration dsn't end today! You can't visit Tobermory without taking a trip to famous Flowerpot Island. We've included a ticket aboard a glass-bottom boat today that will take you over shipwrecks and past lighthouses to the islands. You have a full day on Flowerpot Island to explore its many trails and its namesake 'the flowerpots'; outlying stacks of escarpment cliff that stand a short distance from the island, most with vegetation (including trees) still growing on them. Return to Tobermory and enjoy your final night on the peninsula.
Day 10
You will be picked up from your hotel this morning and transferred back to Owen Sound (bus station or hotel). Budget two hours for this transfer when scheduling your departure from Owen Sound.