Backpacking the Bruce Trail
Storm Haven in Bruce Peninsula National Park
©Outdoor Adventure Canada
The Bruce Trail in southern Ontario
has some excellent spots for shorter backpacking excursions. Combining
spectacular views with a variety of terrain makes the Peninsula section
of the Bruce Trail an exciting place to backpack.
One of my favorite sections is the area north of the
community Dyer's Bay on the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. You may start
this section of the trail on Crane Lake Road at the National Park Gate
or from the Head of Trails accessed through the Cyprus Lake Campground.
the purpose of this article we will start the hike at The National Park
Gate. You will hike past the remains of an old logging camp. This area
was once used unsuccessfully for zinc-mining and there are still old
shafts in the area so stay off the roads that intersect the trail. Part
of the trail follows an old logging track and you will eventually reach
High Dump. There is short side trail that brings you to several tent
sites. This would be an excellent place to stop for the night but please
note that campfires are not permitted and you will need to bring a backpacking
The route from High Dump to Cave Point provides some
spectacular lookouts. Be careful as it is the most dangerous part of
the Bruce Trail and the terrain is quite rugged. Cave Point is a limestone
shelf at the top of the escarpment. This area lives up to its name with
many caves to explore. The next stop, after Cave Point, is Storm Haven.
You will visit more lookouts and from some of these vantage
points you can see Halfway Rock Point. Storm Haven is an excellent place
to camp and there are several tent platforms in place.. The beach is
rocky with giant slabs of stone, some as big as a vehicle. There is
a solar composting toilet and the campsites are just off the beach.
Water is readily available but you must treat it.
hike between Storm Haven and Cyprus Lake is moderate except for two,
very rocky beaches that are quite tricky. It would be very easy to break
an ankle here so proceed carefully. Instead of going into Cyprus I would
recommend traveling an extra kilometer or so to the Natural Arch and
Grotto near Indian Head Cove. Of course you have to back track to Cyprus
but it is well worth the extra hiking.
You could camp at Cyprus and then make the return journey
to your car at Crane Lake Road or you could arrange to have a vehicle
at each end if time is limited. I prefer to do the return hike because
I always see something I missed the first time.
Because this section of trail is part of the Bruce Peninsula
National Park you must reserve your backcountry campsites and pay a
small fee for camping. You must also be in good shape because the rocky
terrain can make this journey treacherous and it can be slippery in
wet weather. Campfires are not permitted and all drinking water must
be treated. You must camp on the provided tent platforms because this
is an ecologically sensitive area. Wear good hiking boots and watch
for the Massasauga, a venomous rattlesnake that inhabits this area.
There are also bears in this area so you must hang your food.
The scenery on the Bruce Peninsula is breathtaking and
the hiking exhilarating. There is nothing better than ending your day
with a quiet sunset on a rocky beach, emerging from the woods to view
an incredible vista or exploring a cave etched out of the escarpment.
Related Forum Posts:
Backpacking Bruce Peninsula NP
Trail Q & A Help Please
Five and Bruce Peninsula (kayaking)
Written by Bryan March
Photos courtesy of Bradley Wipperman