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Hike the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada

Updated on September 24, 2014

The Bruce Trail

The Bruce Trail is a 465 Mile (800km) hiking trail that follows the Niagara Escarpment from Queenston (near Niagara Falls) to Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce peninsula in Ontario, Canada. Most people hike it via day hikes, but using it as a long-distance trail is a viable option. You can stealth camp along the way, or go plush and stay in bed and breakfast inns. Either way, the scenery is awesome and it's an experience no one should be without:

-rare ferns

-limestone ledges

-rolling farmlands

-cobblestone beaches lining azure waters

-flowerpots formed by the forces of nature

-fields of wildflowers

-an array of different waterfalls

The Bruce Trail

The Niagara Escarpment is a long cliff of limestone that is responsible for Niagara Falls. Over 40 species of fern grow along it - some quite rare. Stunted cedar trees have clung to the ledges for over 500 years, escaping the wrath of forest fires, loggers, and farm plows.

The Bruce Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment for 500 miles from Niagara Falls to Georgian Bay and is an excellent way to learn about this unique environment first hand. The walk passes through three distinctly different regions. The southern segment is a narrow green corridor through a populated area of Ontario. It's a wonderland of waterfalls with panoramic views of ships on Lake Ontario. The central section becomes remote and hilly. Through the northern section, the walk is along azure waters of Georgian Bay, often high on the escarpment ledges.

Most people day-hike the Bruce Trail or hike the entire length by doing a series of day hikes. My husband and I chose to hike the full trail in one long backpacking trip, camping along the way. Our journal is published in the book Bruce Trail - An Adventure along the Niagara Escarpment (available as a print book or pdf e-book at ww.footprintpress.com). It will make you feel the blisters and savor the views.

A World Biosphere Reserve in Canada

The Serengeti Desert, the Everglades, and the Galapagos Islands were each named a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of their unique ecosystems. Ontario, Canada's Niagara Escarpment belongs to this prestigious group.

The Niagara Escarpment is a ledge of limestone, which runs from northern New York State, through Ontario, dips under Lake Huron, and resurfaces in Michigan. It's responsible for Niagara Falls. What makes it truly unique is the flora on the cliff tops and ledges. Over 40 species of fern grow there, including the rare hart's tongue and wall rue. Stunted, twisted cedars trees have clung to the ledges and been protected for over 500 years, escaping the wrath of forest fires, loggers, and farm plows. Although old, these trees are very small due to their hard lives.

The Bruce Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment for 500 miles from Niagara Falls to the tip of Georgian Bay and is an excellent way to learn about this unique environment first hand.

Travel Narrative: "The Bruce trail - An Adventure Along the Niagara Escarpment"
Travel Narrative: "The Bruce trail - An Adventure Along the Niagara Escarpment"

Bruce Trail Conservancy

The Bruce Trail Conservancy is the organization that builds and maintains this trail. Their web site is full of helpful information.

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      i don't think i could hike the full trail, but i want to do at least part of it

    • Peregrina LM profile image

      Peregrina LM 

      8 years ago

      This looks like a wonderful but difficult trip (I'm Canadian, but I have to admit I've done my serious walking in Europe, where you can often buy coffee every few kilometres). I'm going to feature this on my Slow Journeys lens.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm adding some featured lenses on my Great Long-Distance Walks Of The World, including this one.

    • footprint lm profile imageAUTHOR

      footprint lm 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to Ramkitten]

      Thanks. I see you did the AT. So did I in '96.

      So many long trials, so little time.....

      Have fun hiking. Sue

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oo, another long-distance trail. I love doing, reading about, and thinking about thru-hikes. This is very well done.

    • footprint lm profile imageAUTHOR

      footprint lm 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to pac-lit]

      Thanks for the invitation - I joined.

      Sue

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Nice local lens. Would you consider joining our backpacking group at www.squidoo.com/groups/backpacking? This lens would make a great addition to our collection.

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