Any trail around Georgian Bay will offer the perfect scenery for amazing pictures. The region is a nest of inspiring moments and natural beauty. The Lion’s Head Lookout Trail in Lion’s Head Provincial Park provides those stunning views on top of fun hiking trails. Hike Lion’s Head and spend some time on the beach or exploring the town for a perfect weekend of delightful adventures.
Lion’s Head Hike
The Lion’s Head Trail to the lookout is a nice hike but requires essential hiking gear. Make sure to have enough water. Bring snacks to replenish your energy, especially if you plan on making the longer loop.
Where is Lion’s Head Provincial Park
Lion’s Head Provincial Park is an Ontario Parks’ nature reserve on Georgian Bay. It is near the charming town of the same name. Lion’s Head is approximately halfway between Owen Sound and Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula, 65 kilometres north of Owen Sound.
From Toronto – Lion’s Head is a 3-hour drive from Toronto. Head North on the 410 and the 10 for about 90 kilometres and then Hwy 6 North for approximately 150 kilometres.
From Ottawa – Follow the 416 South to Hwy 401 West to Toronto. Then follow the same directions as above from Toronto to Lion’s Head. This is a minimum 7-hour trip but closer to 8 hours, considering stops and traffic.
Part of the Bruce Trail wanders through Lion’s Head Provincial Park in sections of the Niagara Escarpment. It offers some of the best views, from high cliffs to clear blue-green water.
Save it for later
Getting to the Lion’s Head Lookout Trailhead
The parking lot at the trailhead has limited space. Arrive early, and you might find a space to park. On busy days, hikers can park at the school or the arena, and a shuttle will bring them to the trailhead and back.
A flat rate includes all-day parking and shuttle rides to and from the location (in this case, the trailhead)—more information is on the Lion’s Head Transit Website.
A park ranger at the trailhead sent us back to town to park and use the shuttle, as the trailhead parking lot was full. We did not have to wait long for the shuttle once we parked. It picked many more hikers and us up, driving us to the trailhead.
On the trail
The trail starts in a forested area with a wide, worn path. The greenery is beautiful, and moss covers many rocks and tree trunks, offering magical landscapes. The trail slowly climbs up for the next two kilometres when hikers reach a fork.
To get to the lookout, go left for a few hundred metres, and then the trail will hang right near the Giant Cauldron Pothole. Not too long after, you will come across the Lion’s Head Pothole. Those rock formations from thousands of years ago were formed during the ice age. They are impressive.
Now strewn with rocks and roots, the trail heads towards the edge of the cliffs with a few ups and downs.
Lion’s Head Lookout
After 3 kilometres, the trail brings hikers to the cliff’s edge 200 feet above the clear blue-green water of the Georgian Bay. It continues along the ridge, in and out of tree cover, with many lookouts before plunging back into the forest.
From the lookout, you can head back the way you came, making the hike a little over 6 kilometres. If you want to make the loop, you keep hiking along the edge of the cliffs and around the point.
After another 3 kilometres of hiking in and out of the forest, with stunning views over the bay and the town, the trail descends to the shores of McKay’s Harbour. Some makeshift stairs along the way will help with the quick elevation loss.
Once on the shoreline, you can take advantage of the refreshing water. A pebble beach is a perfect place for a break and a snack.
The trail follows the harbour’s shoreline and then plunges into the forest again to head back to the trailhead, closing the loop. Take a right at the fork (going straight will lead you to McKay’s Harbour backcountry campsite).
Returning to the trailhead can be done in different ways. Depending on the distance you want to cover, you can head straight, cutting across for a shorter loop (about 12 km) or keep going on the Bruce Trail that follows the shore around the point and eventually hangs a left to cut back to the trailhead (16 km).
Things to do in Lion’s Head
After enjoying Lion’s Head hiking trail, take some time to visit Lion’s Head. My favourite part was hanging out by the marina near the lighthouse. The water is a beautiful blue when the sky is sunny. The breakwater, made of huge white rocks, is the perfect place for a peaceful moment by the water.
Enjoy a walk on the pebble beach near the lighthouse. Again, beautiful sights.
More Exploring around Georgian Bay
- Camping and Exploring Killbear Provincial Park
- Hiking Cup and Saucer and Other Trails on Manitoulin Island
- 8 Days on La Cloche Silhouette Trail
FAQ about Lion’s Head Lookout Trail
How long does it take to hike Lion’s Head Lookout?
Give yourself 2 hours to hike to the lookout and back. The loop will take 3-4 hours to complete.
How long is Lion’s Head Trail?
The trail to the lookout is 3 kilometres. You can hike out and back in 6 kilometres. There are also the options of two loops, one of 11 kilometres and one of 16 kilometres.
How hard is the Lion’s Head Trail?
The Lion’s Head Lookout Hike is considered a moderate hike.
Is Lion’s Head Hike appropriate for children?
Yes, children can easily hike the Lion’s Head Lookout and back. I would not recommend doing the loop with children because of the distance. Be aware of the exposed ridge and cliffs at the lookout, and make sure the children do not get too close to the edge (you neither!).
Are dogs welcome on the Lion’s Head Trail?
Dogs are welcomed on the trail but have to be on a leash.