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One of the best hikes in the world
The Bruce Trail – Wiarton to Tobermory section
The Bruce Trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long with over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. Wiarton to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula is the best week long section. The Bruce follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
The main trail Wiarton to Tobermory is approximately 165.7 km / 8-9 days averaging 16-20 km per day. Additional time is needed for recommended side trips.
AT A GLANCE
- Wiarton is the starting point for the final section of The Bruce
- Tobermory is the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail
- Wiarton to Tobermory is the final section of the Bruce Trail (726.3 km – 892 km) from the start near Niagara Falls
- no permits are required
Why We Like This Hike
- The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada
- The Bruce parallels the Niagara Escarpment
- Unequal erosion formed a cliff over a thousand miles long
- cliff edge vistas
- High Dump to Tobermory is the most remote, most challenging and arguably the most scenic section of the Bruce
- interesting flora, fauna and geology
- plenty of gorgeous views over the crystalin waters of Georgian Bay.
- we saw almost no mosquitoes over a week in September
- mosquitoes and biting flies are a nuisance earlier in the hiking season
- poison ivy is abundant. Wear long pants in those sections.
- Cellphone reception very limited at Cyprus Lake Campground and Bruce Peninsula National Park in general. It’s good close to towns en route.
- bears and racoons might try to get into your food at night. Be prepared.
Accommodation is the biggest challenge on this section of The Bruce. Options are booked up during the summer.
1. Camping along the Trail not in the designated campgrounds is considered trespassing. …
2. Through-hikers need to consider other options for accommodation
Pursuing a full End-to-End of the Bruce Trail as a through-hike using only camping for accommodation is not realistic given how few and far between the campgrounds are.
Plan on including some B & B’s, Hotels and Motels in your accommodation choices ….
3. Arrangements for camping cannot be made through the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
See the camping list … for contact details for campround operators.
Reservations are often required. Contact the operators for more details.
One option is to stay at Taylor-Made B&B in Lion’s Head. From there you can have your hosts drop you at Bruce trailheads and have them pick you up end of day. Cost was $0.65/km for Jennifer Merrick in 2016,
There are no fees on The Bruce. Your big costs will be for accommodation, food and transportation.
World Expeditions offers accommodation and a fully-supported 8 day self-guided hike – Bruce Peninsula Traverse. Cost from CAD $1965 (U.S. $1600) in 2017.
Thorncrest Outfitters … helped us fine-tune our itinerary and shuttle us to the trailhead. Thorncrest has a store in Tobermory …
Another option is to sign up for one of the annual “End-to-Ends” events where hikers cover a section of the trail over the course of a weekend. You park your car at one end and a bus shuttles you to the start. You then hike at your own pace back to your vehicle.
For example, in 2017, registration opened April 8th. Up to 96 hikers could sign up for 4 weekends: Aug. 12-13, Aug. 26-27, Sept. 16-17, and Sept. 30 – Oct. 1.
To hike independently, easiest is to travel to Wiarton by personal vehicle. Get dropped off. If that’s not possible, check the Greyhound bus to Owen Sound. You could taxi to a trailhead from there.
PARKBUS might offer a shuttle you could use, too.
- Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre (Tobermory)
- Doug Sloan has thru hiked the Bruce at least 50 times
Best Trekking Guidebooks
The official trail guide is superb. It comes in a small, durable six-ring binder. And with a convenient vinyl sleeve that lets you hike with just the maps you need for the days you’ll be out.
Be sure you buy the most recent editions.
Best Travel Guidebooks
- Lonely Planet – Ontario chapter
Other Recommended Books
- An Odyssey: Hiking The Bruce Trail – Kindle Edition by Lorraine McLennan
- The Peninsula Bruce Trail Club Loop Guide available from local retailers $7.99
Maps in the Bruce Trail Reference Guide – 29th Ed are excellent.
If you want back-up maps, get the Bruce Trail app.
Best Web Pages
- brucetrail.org (official site)
- Explore The Bruce
- wikipedia – Bruce Trail
- wikipedia – Bruce Peninsula National Park
Best Trip Reports
Click PLAY or watch a Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment video on YouTube.
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