bruce county

The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park

After a long year, we took a week off work and wanted to spend it in Northern Ontario. The first night we stayed in Tobermory before grabbing the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry to Mantoulin Island the following day. Bruce Peninsula National Park was the perfect place for us to visit!

Managed by Parks Canada, Bruce Peninsula National Park is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Tobermory or about a 3.5 hour drive from Toronto. The park currently requires reservations for day visits in the summer. As of August 2022 you can reserve 4-hour parking slots starting from 8 AM – 9 PM. Parking is $12.25 CAD.

We parked at the P1 Daytime Parking lot, and the lot was full when we arrived for our 4 – 8 PM slot on a Sunday. Although the walk to the shoreline and back we only saw a few people, the Grotto itself was busy. We first trekked along the Horse Lake Trail towards the shoreline where the trail meets the Bruce Trail.

The Niagara Escarpment was formed from an ancient body of water from over 400 million years ago, where sediment and biological material form layers of what is eventually limestone. Reaching the water, we noticed patches of ancient cedar trees along the escarpment rock and large chunks of limestone rock making up the entire shoreline.

The walk along the shore towards the Grotto was difficult but well worth it. Due to the limestone rocks across the beach, we needed to walk slowly and pay attention where we stepped. The view was unbeatable!

The Grotto is formed by erosion from Georgian Bay, where waters undercut the limestone to create cliffs and carve out caves. Many visitors were swimming when we visited in August, but wow, was the water absolutely freezing!

You would assume on a hot day the water would be warmer, but the heat seemed to have little effect on the chilling crystal blue waters. This is because the region is where the Niagara Escarpment meets the Georgian Bay, with water depths reaching just under 150 metres off the coast. The process of upwelling causes cooler waters from the depth to be circulated to the surface. This is also one of the reasons the waters are crystal blue!

The hike on the side trails from the parking spot to the Grotto are relatively easy with the paths being well marked, with little variation in elevation, and wide enough to walk side by side. The shoreline itself was more difficult walking on limestone with lots of elevation changes.

Have you visited or camped at Bruce Peninsula National Park? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

Scout Valley in Orillia

It’s official – we’ve moved to Orillia!  We weren’t loving the city life, and wanted to move somewhere closer to nature and outdoor activities. The traffic, commuting times, and lack of green space was getting to be exhausting. Aside from a few hiking spots within Mississauga, we found we had to drive outside of city…

Snowshoeing at Arrowhead Provincial Park

Arrowhead Provincial Park is owned and managed by Ontario Parks and is located just north of Huntsville, Ontario. Arrowhead is a beautiful and diverse park that offers a range of recreational activities for visitors both in the warmer and colder season, with activity equipment rentals available year-round.  Arrowhead is a popular winter destination, with several…

Claireville Conservation Area

The busy holiday season is done and over, and finally we have had the opportunity to slide back into our regular routine, and spend some time hiking and exploring. We had visited Claireville Conservation Area in October to see the leaves change colour, and being so close of a drive, visited again in January of…

Spruce Bog Boardwalk at Algonquin Provincial Park

Spruce Bog Boardwalk is a quick and easy hike along the Highway 60 corridor in Algonquin Provincial Park. The trail is 1.5 km and made up mostly of boardwalk, and is a leaisurley path with even terrain. We visited the trail on a Saturday in Late October in the early afternoon, and the parking lot…

Lookout Point Trail at Algonquin Provincial Park

The Lookout Point Trail at Algonquin Provincial Park is a 2.1 km loop that presents breathtaking views of hundreds of square kilometers of landscape. With an elevation gain of about 70 meters across the hike, it’s a short but challenging walk. We visited around noon on a Saturday in late October. By this time it…

Eagles Nest Lookout in Bancroft

On a Saturday morning in mid-October, we arrived at Eagle’s Nest Park. Located within Bancroft, the area is a perfect spot for scenic views (especially If you are driving through on the way to Algonquin). There are four trails at just over 3 km total to explore.  The gates of Eagles Nest Park road were…


  1. It’s wild how popular the Bruce Peninsula has become over the past few years. Glad you managed to visit and reserve a parking spot in advance. The scenery is spectacular. We were just here in March and stayed in one of the yurts. It was neat to see how different the landscape looks in the winter compared to the summer.


    1. Thank you for commenting.

      I can imagine! We stopped by a local restaurant on the way outside Owen Sound, and our waiter was mentioning the same thing (how much recently busier it has gotten), but was happy to see people spending time in nature.

      The yurts look like a great alternative to camping. Will try and keep an eye on future bookings!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: