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Duration
9 days
Activities
  • 7 days self guided hiking
Accommodation
  • 8 nights inns/ b&b's
Meals
  • 2 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts

Price

$1690USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Trip Code: BTP

Overview

Trip highlights


  • 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 Georgian Bay's 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 up to 43 species of orchids, 23 species of ferns, and 300 bird species

The Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath, measuring over 890km (550miles) from Niagara to Tobermory, following the magnificent Niagara Escarpment - a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve. This extensive self-guided itinerary covers what many hikers claim to be the most spectacular section of the trail: The final stage 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! 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 daily as well, leaving you free to enjoy the trail with only a light day pack.

Activities:
Grading:
4

Introductory to Moderate

More info about grading system


Rating: 


Itinerary

You may be picked up in Owen Sound, either from your hotel or from the bus station. A short 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 the southern start point for the Peninsular section of the Bruce Trail, which makes it the perfect start point for 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'. This loop is an easy 5.6km (3.5 mile) hike taking you to the legendary Spirit Roc where you can walk amongst the ruins of a late 1800's mansion (the 'Corran'), and the McNeill Estate. Enjoy your first view across Colpoy Bay atop the Niagara Escarpment 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.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast and check-out, you will return to where you left off the day before with a drop off at Hope Bay. Today's walk takes you along the main trail and around Cape Dundas to scenic 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! Today's highlights 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.

Meals:  B,L

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.

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast, you will be picked up by your trusty transfer service and taken to the trailhead off Forty Hills Rd. From here you will begin your walk through the White Bluff Provincial Nature Reserve towards Cape Chin. Northeast of the trailhead atop the escarpment at White Bluff, you will encounter a spectacular vista overlooking Isthmus Bay to the cliffs of Lion’s Head. Continuing north you will follow the mixed forests of the nature reserve and rugged trails atop the escarpment. Your next major point of interest, the impressive Smokey Head lookout, will offer you sweeping views over the coast. You will pass inland through a forest of hardwood trees that emerges again to the familiar turquoise shoreline of Georgian Bay. From here you will hike until you reach Cape Chin South. A short detour offers a magnificent beach with whimsical benches, walkways and fire pits constructed out of the surrounding beach stone. It’s as though every resident along the shore decided to follow a landscaping guideline of creativity. Back on the trail you will head North until you reach the optional Pat Daunt Side Trail, which will shorten the days trek slightly. The trail continues through a wetland area that is good for birding. You will emerge onto Cape Chin North Road only about one half kilometer away from tonight's accommodations; a friendly B&B where a lovely home-cooked meal awaits your enjoyment.

Meals:  B,L,D

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 (about 18km/11.2miles), 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. You will stay at the same lovely B&B tonight in Cape Chin.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we enjoy a spectacular section of the trail through Bruce Peninsula National Park. You will be dropped off 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. Apart from being home to the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail, Tobermory is known as the freshwater SCUBA diving capital of the world. It has plenty of tourist facilities, shops and restaurants to explore.

Meals:  B,L

A simple, continental breakfast is included at your hotel but other options are also available at the hotel or in town. Today is yours to do as you like. 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. Of course, to finish your Bruce Trail traverse in true form, you should head to the mainland section of Fathom Five National Marine Park. Here the main trail joins a scenic loop through the park overlooking the park's offshore islands. Coming back out of the park, you will follow trail markers to the cairn, marking the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail. The total distance for the walk to your hotel is about 5km/3miles. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch and dinner options today. Please note: guided excursions that include an additional cost should be arranged in advance.

Meals:  B

Your exploration of the Bruce Trail is complete, but the exploration doesn'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 or cliffs that stand a short distance from the island, most with diverse vegetation still growing on them. Return to Tobermory and enjoy your final night on the peninsula.

Meals:  B

You may 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.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners
  • 8 nights in a combination of inns, B&Bs and hotels, generally with private facilities, on a twin share basis
  • Navigation APP inclusive of detailed route notes and points of interest (available offline while hiking)
  • Set of trail maps
  • 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 8
  • C$50 donation to the Bruce Trail Conservancy

  • Travel to and from Owen Sound (beside transfers listed as inclusions as per the itinerary)
  • Meals where not indicated
  • Travel insurance
  • Entrance fees and optional activities
  • Optional guided excursions
  • Applicable taxes

Accommodation


Suitability

Introductory to Moderate

4

Daily walks are between 10km and 20km on well-marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to short, steep sections with some light scrambling. Hikers should be prepared for plenty of roots, rocks, and potential variable weather conditions. You should pay particular attention to your footwear to ensure that it is suitable to avoid blisters and rolling ankles. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. Suggested preparation: 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week and extended periods of exercise during the weekend. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling. Hill or stair walking with a full day pack is strongly recommended at least once per week. Route finding will be reasonably straightforward as the Bruce Trail is well-marked using its own system and signage. Self guided walking or cycling requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!). Sometimes route finding, losing your way, and finding it again is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of if as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide an emergency communications device in the event of any problems.


Departure dates

Daily from June through early October

Notes

NB:
Other dates may be possible. Please inquire.
Note:
Blackout dates may apply

Dates or itinerary don't fit?

Create a custom made itinerary for the perfect adventure. Choose when you travel, what you see and where you go.

Total Priceper person from

$1690USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$470
  • Solo Traveller SupplementUSD$920
* Prices listed are per person. All prices subject to applicable taxes.

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Our Expertise

Everyone who works with us, from our office staff, ground staff and guides is the ‘’real deal’’. Our team is comprised of actual hikers and cyclists who have explored or live in the region in which you will be travelling. Our entire network is highly-specialised in active travel.

Great Value

Quality services at the best price make our adventures great value for money. Having essential items included like National Park fees, charming accommodations, most meals, bikes for cycling trips, maps and support for peace of mind. Our inclusions allow you to better budget for your big adventure.

Innovative Itineraries

We look beyond the horizon to find new and exciting adventures. We’re passionate about shaping the next generation of outdoor travel in Canada, and constantly seek different ways, routes and alternatives to exceed our clients’ dreams.

ECO Friendly

We are committed to responsible travel and true sustainability, formed when the company was established, and in the face of a multitude of threats to the environment, our commitment is stronger than ever. We aim to "leave no trace" in both an environmental and cultural sense.