Lion's Head Wins Over Bruce Peninsula National Park

Despite its extreme natural beauty, Bruce Peninsula National Park with its adjacent town of Tobermory can no longer be fully enjoyed due t...

Despite its extreme natural beauty, Bruce Peninsula National Park with its adjacent town of Tobermory can no longer be fully enjoyed due to massive crowds of tourists. Located just three hours north of Toronto, the park provides easy gateway for city-dwellers and attracts thousands of tourists on summer weekends. Not only is it busy and noisy, but also the mass tourism is simply not sustainable for the region. For instance, Tobermory does not have a centralized drinking water supply, parking is extremely limited and littering is becoming a big problem. So if you, like me, want to enjoy the nature of beautiful Northern Bruce Peninsula, and not other people, go to Lion's Head instead of Tobermory and hike arguably the best part of 885 km / 550 mile-long Bruce trail.

Lion's Head is a pretty small village located by Isthmus Bay of Georgian Bay 5 minutes drive off Highway 6. It nevertheless offers accommodation, various food options, beach facilities, yachting and plenty of hiking and sightseeing.
The main draw for me was to hike a 17 km / 10.5 mile loop along the shore of Lion's Head peninsula.
There were about a few dozen people that I've met throughout a day-long hike on Saturday in August, so the place was not busy at all. 
There are a few parking options (all are free of charge), but the closest lot to the Lion's Head lookout is located at 5 McCurdy Drive.
The sign marks the boundary of the provincial park-reserve.
The chain of lookouts including the Lion's Head lookout is only about 30 minutes away from the parking lot, and the trail is not difficult, so the place is easily accessible by everyone - from a beginner to an advanced hiker.
The first attraction you would encounter is the Giant's Cauldron - a sinkhole in the limestone that was formed by the melting ice about 10-12 thousand years ago.
Bottom-up view. Looks like a well.
You'll be stunned once reached the edge of the 70 m / 200 ft cliff overlooking Georgian Bay.
On a clear day you can see for miles, and the colour of the water by the shore is just unbelievably turquoise.
Lion's Head got its name because of the rock formation that looks like a lion's head.
The cliff is apparently a mecca for rock climbers. 
I tried the rock climbing myself and I can tell you that cliffs at Lion's Head look very scary.
"I heart" Lion's Head.
If you're up to the challenge and continue hiking beyond lookouts, you'll soon start descending into MacKey's Harbour. 
The part of Bruce Trail along the shore of Georgian Bay was the most difficult since I had to take off my shoes and wade in the water. The white "blaze" marks the trail.
Be careful not to step on snakes as they like to soak up sunlight sitting on rocks. I saw two snakes, hope not Massassauga rattlesnakes that live in the area.
MacKey's Harbour offers some rustic campsites for through-hikers and weekend trippers. Please note that this is a back-country camping with no facilities.
Bruce Trail ascends back to the cliff and continues following its edge for at least 7 km / 4.5 miles before it reaches the civilization. Due to relentless heat and humidity, that was probably the most exhausting part of the hike.
But the last stretch of the loop (Ilse Hanel Side Trail), although not so hot, prepared something I particularly "like" in a swampy forest - hungry mosquitoes. So you can imagine my happiness when I finally reached the parking lot and got into the car. 

You Might Also Like