Bruce Peninsula National Park is experiencing high visitation in 2020. Once parking lots are full, usually by mid-morning each day, there is no access to shoreline, hiking trails or picnic areas in the park. To avoid disappointment, plan in advance and consider visiting this fall.

Grotto FAQs (Parking)

Why are there Grotto parking time limits and reservations?

The Grotto is a very popular attraction. Parking space is limited and quickly fills up. The time slot parking limits help to ensure there is access to enjoy a Grotto experience. Reservations allow you to plan your trip in advance. 

How much does it cost?

  • The fee to park is $11.70 per vehicle plus applicable day use and reservation fees.
  • Day use fees are $7.90 per adult, $6.90 per senior and $16 for a family group. Youths 17 and under are free.
  • Online reservations have a fee of $6.00. Reservations by phone have a fee of $8.50.
  • The fee is charged per reservation and is non-refundable. 

What if we don’t get a reservation?

  • When Grotto parking is fully booked, there is no more Grotto access at that time. 
  • Check online for availability at Parks Canada Reservation System and come back another day.  
  • Visit the national park in spring or fall when it is not as busy. 
  • Plan to go directly to the town of Tobermory to find parking, tourism information, and experience the Parks Canada Visitor Centre.  

Can we book our vehicle for the entire day (all time slots)?

You may only reserve one time slot per vehicle per day. 

Can we book for several vehicles at once?

  • You may book up to three different vehicles for the same time slot, using one credit card. 
  • The fee to park is $11.70 per vehicle plus applicable day use and reservation fees. 
  • The reservation for each vehicle is linked to an occupant in that vehicle.  
  • Confirmation and matching photo identification must be presented upon entry.  

What if we need to cancel or change my reservation?

  • Once a booking has been made, modifications are not permitted. 
  • Cancellations can be made 2 or more days before the reservation. For full cancellation policies, visit PCRS.  

What if I have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass or Bruce Peninsula National Park Season Pass?

Holders of a Parks Canada Discovery Pass or Annual Bruce Peninsula National Park Pass are able to receive a refund of entry fees paid in the reservation process (reservation fees are non-refundable). To receive the applicable refund, visit the Cyprus Lake Office at the end of your visit to the Cyprus Lake area, and provide us with your valid pass, reservation confirmation and valid Grotto permit. Refunds are available on the date of use only and cannot be considered after leaving the Cyprus Lake area. This type of refund will only be made to the credit card used for the original reservation. 

What if I show up late for my reservation?

You must check in within two hours of the start of your time slot. After that time, your reservation is forfeited.  

What if we want to stay longer than 4 hours?

The time slot parking offers 4 hour time slots during the busy season. For visitors who would like a longer experience, please consider visiting in the Spring or Fall.  You may also like to experience semi-wilderness camping in Cyprus Lake Campground which provides all day access to the Georgian Bay Shoreline. 

Is there any other way to access the Grotto?

Hiking to the Grotto from other locations is not recommended due to the distance and rugged terrain. Campers staying at the Cyprus Lake Campground can hike to the Grotto from their campsite. For reservations, visit the Parks Canada Reservation System

Please note pedestrians are not permitted on Cyprus Lake Road. Drop-offs are not allowed. All vehicles require a valid time slot parking permit to enter the Cyprus Lake area. Vehicles are not permitted to drop off friends or family unless a valid entry permit is obtained for the requested time slot.

What if we are late getting back to our car and exceed the parking time limit?

Parking enforcement is in effect, including parking tickets and towing.

We’re camping at Cyprus Lake, does the new Grotto parking time limit affect us?

Campers are encouraged to hike directly from their campsite. If you’d like to park in the Grotto parking lot, you will need to book a parking space in the same manner as anyone else.

Do parking reservations and time limits apply to other places in the park?

No, the time limit parking is only in effect for the Grotto parking lot. 

Can we get in before 8:00 a.m. in the morning?

There is no early access to the Grotto parking lot. Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your reservation time.

Can we give our pass to our friends when we leave?

Passes are not-transferable to others. 

What do I need to bring to check-in? 

At check-in you will need to provide your reservation confirmation and photo identification matching the name on the reservation. 

Can I show my Grotto parking confirmation email on my smart phone?

Cellphone signals are not reliable in the park. Please print a copy of your confirmation email in advance and bring it with you. 

Can we drop off and pick up at the Grotto as long as we don`t park?

All vehicles require a valid time slot parking permit to enter the Cyprus Lake area. Vehicles are not permitted to drop off friends and family unless a valid entry permit is obtained for the requested time slot. Please note pedestrians are not permitted on Cyprus Lake Road. 

Grotto FAQs (General)

What can I see in 4 hrs?

The hike to the Grotto and Indian Head Cove is roughly one hour round trip. This provides more than enough time to explore the Grotto, Indian Head Cove and the the surrounding area of Georgian Bay Shoreline before returning to your car. 

What are the trails to the Grotto like?

Although the Georgian Bay Trail to the Grotto is a wide crushed gravel trail with very few hills about 1 km long, it ends at the Georgian Bay shoreline where the trail changes to rugged limestone rocks. Sturdy footwear is recommended as flipflops and high heels may not be suitable or safe. Know your limits.

Is it wheelchair or stroller accessible?

No. While we’ve made the path there smooth and wide, it does not technically meet the standards to be considered wheelchair accessible. That said, many visitors who use wheelchairs are able to get to use the trail to view the shoreline.

Can I eat at the Grotto or the shoreline?

There is no food or water available at the Grotto, but visitors can pack in a picnic if they would like. There are no garbage facilities along the shoreline so visitors must pack out what they bring in. Open alcohol is not permitted at the Grotto. 

Can I have a family barbecue at the shoreline?

Barbecues are not permitted at the shoreline due to fire hazards. There are facilities for barbecues at the Head of Trails situated close to the parking lot. If using a charcoal barbecue please be sure to dispose of used coals in the coal receptacle provided at the Head of Trails near the picnic tables.

How busy is the Grotto?

Being one of the most popular attractions on the Bruce Peninsula, the Grotto is no longer considered a hidden gem of Ontario. During the summer thousands of visitors make the hike to the Grotto each day, If you are looking for a quieter visit to the site consider coming during the early spring or late fall. 

Is it safe to swim?

There are no lifeguards on duty in any area. Visitors choosing to swim do so at their own risk. The water at Indian Head Cove and the Grotto is very cold and wave conditions are often rough. Even when waves look swimmable, undertows and currents can present drowning hazards. Please keep children well attended and swim within your ability.