While natural hazards are present in Bruce Peninsula National Park, the risk of injury can be minimized by taking reasonable precautions. Parks Canada provides information to help you prepare for your trip and evaluate potential safety hazards. Ultimately, your safety is your responsibility.
Water in campground faucets is potable. Water from streams and lakes should be boiled for at least 5 minutes or filtered before drinking. Please use personal refillable water bottles rather than disposable bottles. There are no drinking water faucets in the backcountry.
Hiking Safety and Preparedness
- Check the weather forecast and be aware of sunset time.
- Dress appropriately. Spring and fall can be surprisingly cool, especially along the coast. Pack rain gear and extra warm clothing.
- Proper hiking footwear is a MUST. Ankle injuries are common on the trail.
- Ensure someone has your trip itinerary including route and expected return time.
- Although cell phone coverage is not reliable in the park, it is still recommended that you bring your cell phone. Make sure it has a full charge. In an emergency, call 911 or Parks Canada Dispatch 519-596-2702.
- Always pack a first aid kit, headlamp/flash light, whistle, water and snacks.
- There are no garbage cans in the backcountry or beyond the trail heads. All garbage and belongings must come back with you so pack smart and avoid bringing unnecessary items.
- Bring navigation tools that you know how to use, including a map and compass. Electronic devices are handy but susceptible to power failure and poor reception.
- Familiarize yourself with a map of the area before you leave for your hike.
Stay on the Trail.
The most frequent distress call received by our public safety team is to assist hikers who are lost on the trail. The following tips will help you stay on track and enjoy your hike.
- Stay on the trail. It is much more difficult to navigate and locate you once you have left the trail.
- Avoid hiking alone.
- Don’t leave too late. Give yourself enough time to finish your hike before sunset.
- Observe your surroundings. Pay attention to prominent landmarks and geographic features. Take pictures you can refer to later if you are unsure.
- Check your map often. Many incidents relate to hikers who have travelled too far in the wrong direction.
If you do get lost.
- Stay calm.
- Check for cell phone service. If you have coverage, stay where you are and call 911 (or the park number 519-596-2702). Make sure that you tell the dispatcher your cell phone number and where you think you are. Don’t continue walking until you have received instructions from park staff.
- If you don’t have cell phone service retrace your steps until you find enough to call for help or you find the trail again. Pay attention to where you are walking when looking at your cell phone.
- Rescuers can confirm your general location if you have a cell phone signal.
Accessing the Grotto from locations other than Cyprus Road
During the summer months the parking lot at Cyprus Lake campground fills to capacity daily, resulting in visitors being denied access. Although the Grotto is accessible using the Bruce Trail, these routes are extremely difficult and long. Visitors should consider the following before departing from the parking lots at either Little Cove or Halfway Log Dump.
- Halfway Log Dump – Grotto is a difficult 6 km hike, including numerous steep inclines and descents, requiring at least 6 hours return for fit, equipped persons.
- Little Cove – Grotto is a difficult 9.5 km hike that will take at least 8 hours return for fit, equipped persons.
- There are no transportation services to shuttle you back to your vehicle, you must walk back the way you came.
- It is not recommended to leave later than noon, to be sure you will arrive back before sunset. Low light on the trail increases the likelihood of injury and getting lost.
- The terrain is very rough in some sections, including steep inclines and large boulders.
- Cell phone service is limited and non-existent in many areas.
- There are no potable water sources or other services along the trail.
- This route is recommended for experienced hikers only.