Guide to Camping and Hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Bruce Peninsula National Park offers some of the best lakeshore experiences in the province. Whether camping or hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park, it will charm you and inspire you to explore its rugged coastlines or dip your toes in its clear blue waters. The hiking trails and backcountry campsites in Bruce National Park are famous for their natural beauty and fantastic lake views.

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rocky shore nd blu clear water of Georgian Bay in Bruce Peninsula
l'eau bleue clair et la rive rocheuse de la baie Georgienne dans la péninsule de Bruce

How to get to Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Bruce Peninsula is a piece of land projecting into Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. 

From Toronto – Head north on ON-10 from ON-410 for about 125 kilometres to Hwy 6 and then north on Hwy 6 for another 110 kilometres. Take a right on Cyprus Lake Rd about 10 km before Tobermory. The trip is about 300 km and 3 hours and 30 minutes from downtown Toronto.

From Ottawa – Head south on Hwy 7 or the ON-416 to ON-401 towards Toronto. Once past Toronto, follow the same directions as above; north on ON-410 and Hwy 10 and then north on Hwy 6 to Cyprus Lake Rd and the park entrance. This is a 700-kilometre trip, close to 8 hours, depending on traffic. 

This piece of land is part of the Niagara Escarpment and offers some of the best views in the province. Bruce Peninsula National Park sits on the peninsula’s shores near its point, close to Tobermory, Ontario.

Bruce Peninsula National Park has three different areas. The Cyprus Lake area is the most popular, including the famous Grotto and the campground. The Singing Sands area is located near Tobermory and on the peninsula’s western shore. The Visitor Center area is in Tobermory and also serves as the visitor centre for the Fathom Five National Marine Park.

The rocky shore and the clear water of Georgian Bay on the Bruce Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Parking in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Parking in the Bruce Peninsula National Park is limited and requires a reservation from April 30th to October 31st. During the off-season, parking spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can make reservations online through the Parks Canada Website.

Visitors must pay a daily admission pass fee or purchase the Parks Canada Discovery Pass to enjoy time in the park.

Best Hiking Trails in Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Bruce Trail heads north to the tip of the peninsula, passing through Bruce Peninsula National Park. You can explore the part of the trail in the park along with numerous other trails featuring beautiful landscapes and stunning coastlines.

Horse Lake (Cyprus Lake Area)

  • Distance: 2 km out-and-back
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Estimated time: 1 hour
  • Rated easy
  • Dogs are welcome on a leash
  • Appropriate for children
Horse Lake and the marshes from the hiking trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Marr Lake Loop (Cyprus Lake Area)

  • Distance: 3 km loop
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Estimated time: 1 hour
  • Rated easy
  • Dogs are welcome on a leash
  • Appropriate for children

Cyprus Lake (Cyprus Lake Area)

  • Distance: 5 km loop
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Estimated time: 2 hours
  • Rated easy
  • Dogs are welcome on a leash
  • Appropriate for children
The red chairs looking out to Cyprus Lake

Singing Sands Trail (Singing Sands Area)

  • Distance: 2.6 km loop
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Rated easy
  • Dogs are welcome on a leash
  • Appropriate for children

Little Dunks Lookout Trail (Visitor Centre Area)

  • Distance: 1 km out-and-back
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Rated easy
  • Dogs are welcome on a leash
  • Appropriate for children

Camping in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Cyprus Lake Campground

Cyprus Lake Campground is the main campground in the park and is the only front-country camping ground. It is open from May 1st to October 31st, and reservations are required. Most of the best hiking trails in Bruce Peninsula National Park are accessible from this campground.

For Fall or Winter camping, the Tamarack section of Cyprus Lake Campground remains open from October 31st to April 30th. 

The campground also offers ten yurts available upon reservation. Each yurt includes a wood stove, beds, a large deck and a propane BBQ. You need to bring your bedding, food and drinks and cookware. Firewood can be purchased at the campground office. 

Backcountry camping and the Bruce Trail

The Bruce Peninsula National Park offers hike-in campsites or backcountry camping along the Bruce Trail.

Stormhaven and High Dump are two backcountry campgrounds near Bruce Trail in the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Both campgrounds require reservations. Reservations can be made online at www.reservation.pc.gc.ca or by calling 1-877-RESERVE (877-737-3783).

The campsites include a wooden platform for the tent, composting toilets and food poles to hang bear attractants. Open campfires are not permitted in the backcountry. Make sure to have a camping stove to cook your food. Potable water is unavailable; you must carry your water or filter the water from the bay.

A tent on the wood platform in Stormhaven campsite in Bruce Peninsula National Park
The food pole with dry bags hanging high above the reach of animals in Stormhaven

Both campgrounds are very close to the shore of Georgian Bay and offer magnificent shoreline views. See the list of distances below on possible ways to access these two hike-in campsites.

Rocky beach on Georgian bay with the cliffs in the distance over calm water
View of the cliffs and the bay from Stormhaven

The backcountry campsites are open for winter camping from October 31st to April 30th on a first-come, first-serve basis. A camping permit is still required and can be issued at the Cyprus Lake Campground office. The Cyprus Lake Campground parking is the only one accessible during winter.

Distances on the Bruce Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park

  • from Crane Lake parking lot to High Dump: 8 kilometres 
  • from High Dump to Stormhaven: 9 kilometres
  • from Stormhaven to Little Cove: 14 kilometres
  • from Halfway Log Dump parking lot to High Dump: 6 kilometres
  • from Halfway Log Dump parking lot to Stormhaven: 3 kilometres
  • from Cyprus Lake trailhead parking lot to Stormhaven: 4 kilometres
  • from Cyprus Lake trailhead parking lot to High Dump: 13 kilometres
  • from Stormhaven to The Grotto: 3 kilometres
  • from High Dump to The Grotto: 12 kilometres

This Bruce Peninsula National Park map will help with more details on distances.

This guide to backcountry camping and backpacking will help plan the right gear to enjoy your stay in this spectacular park.

Main Attractions in the Bruce Peninsula National Park

Indian Head Cove

Indian Head Cove is a busy spot in the park, especially on hot sunny summer days. This swimming spot is popular for the crystal blue water and the rocky shores with magnificent bay views. 

You can hike to Indian Head Cove by the Horse Lake Trail or the Marr Lake Trail, which connects to the Bruce Trail. Follow the indications for The Grotto; it will bring you to the cove.

A crowd of swimmers in the clear waters of Georgian Bay in the famous Indian Head Cove.

The Grotto

Famous for the opportunity to explore the cave carved in the bay’s shoreline, the Grotto is an impressive sight. For the more adventurous, explorers can scramble down the rocky cliffs and explore and swim inside the cave. 

The Grotto is accessible by the Horse Lake Trail or the Marr Lake Trail that connects to the Bruce Trail, along which hikers come to the Grotto. 

swimming hole in Bruce Peninsula National Park
Visitors are exploring the cave Grotto on the Bruce Trail.

Overhanging Point

If you go to Indian Head Cove or the Grotto and want to explore more of the Bruce Trail, you will come to Overhang Point, a bit farther along the trail. 

This lookout has fantastic views of the bay but is also a fun adventure as explorers can squeeze through a hole in the ground and make their way under the overhang. This requires some scrambling and climbing, but it is easy to access. 

Hiker climbing down a hole in the ground to get beneath the overhang on the Bruce Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park
View of the Georgian Bay from the Bruce Trail
View of the clear water of Georgian Bay from the hiking trail in Bruce Peninsula National park

Bruce Peninsula National Park is located near the town of Tobermory. You should plan for a couple of days to explore this charming town. To help you plan, this guide to Tobermory lists the best activities in Tobermory.

More adventures around Georgian Bay

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