Limited Parking on Little Cove Road, Tobermory
Little Cove Road offers access to the Georgian Bay shoreline on National Park property at Little Cove. Due to concerns about crowding and public safety, Parks Canada and the municipality implemented a new policy in early August: parking is now limited to the parking lot at the end of Little Cove Road. Roadside parking is not allowed. When the lot is full, traffic is turned around at a barricade 2 km from the beach. Hikers on the Bruce Trail are not affected.
• Tobermory boat cruises now offer full schedule.
When Ontario entered Stage 3 of the pandemic recovery on July 17, it allowed Tobermory’s boat cruise companies to offer a full schedule of cruises. Check online or call the companies for reservations and information.
• Grotto Parking Booked Weeks in Advance
As of Aug 8, the first available parking appointment for the Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park is late afternoon on Aug 31. “Daytime” spots are booked solid until Sept 2. There are no exceptions and there is no other way to get to the Grotto.
• Parking Banned from Moore Street in Lion’s Head
If you are looking to visit Lion’s Head Provincial Park, on-street parking on Moore Street in Lion’s Head is no longer available. Crowding and safety issues were so serious that the local municipality has banned parking from Moore Street and the landowner has closed the Moore Street Side Trail. Access to the park is now limited to the main Bruce Trail, which can be accessed from the McCurdy Street parking lot (which will probably be full from early morning to late afternoon). Parking is available in the village of Lion’s Head at the arena and the high school. Lion’s Head Provincial Park can also be accessed from the east end of Cemetery Road.
• Singing Sands, Halfway Log Dump Move to Full Capacity
As of July 17, first-come, first-served parking at Singing Sands and Halfway Log Dump parking lots in Bruce Peninsula National Park has been raised from 50% of capacity to full capacity. Once these lots are full, all cars will be turned away. There is no reserved parking at these lots. Both lots tend to fill up by mid-morning and remain full until mid- to late afternoon. Plan an alternative.
Your Visit to the Bruce Peninsula: Know Before You Go!
Hello and welcome to the Bruce Peninsula! 2020 is a tough year for a vacation on the Bruce Peninsula. We’ve tried to give you the information you need to have an enjoyable time.
Beaches and Shoreline Access Points
Cape Croker (Neyashiinigmiing / Nawash First Nation) is closed until further notice. All other shoreline access locations are open (but probably crowded).
Water levels in Georgian Bay and Lake Huron are at historic highs. This means that most beaches are not nearly as wide as they were a few years ago, which reduces the number of people they can comfortably accommodate.
The Town of South Bruce Peninsula closed its beaches (including Sauble) for a few days in June of 2020 because of crowding but opened them again a few days later. For updated information on the beaches at Sauble, Oliphant, Red Bay, Bluewater Park and Hope Bay, see the Town of South Bruce Peninsula website.
Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park have reduced capacities at some locations (Flowerpot Island, the Grotto/Indian Head Cove) by 50% in an effort to reduce crowding and permit physical distancing (see National Parks story this page).
Beaches and shoreline accesses in Northern Bruce Peninsula are open . Sandy Beach at Black Creek Provincial Park plus the shorelines at Lion’s Head Provincial Park and White Bluff/Smokey Head Provincial Nature Reserve are open. Check the Provincial Parks website for updated information. Northern Bruce Peninsula municipal beaches and shoreline accesses are open. For updated information, check the Municipal website.
All canoe, kayak and boat launch areas are open. Please observe physical distancing.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
The Head of Trails parking lot serving the Grotto/Indian Head Cove/Cyprus Lake at Bruce Peninsula National Park has been reduced to 50% capacity until further notice. This may be increased or reduced in response to conditions. Parking is by reservation only and is booked online or by telephone. It is booked weeks in advance; see details below.
Singing Sands parking lot (fee applies) offers access to Singing Sands beach on Dorcas Bay. Space is available on a first come, first served basis. The lot is full most days by mid-morning and remains full until mid- to late afternoon. There is no alternative street parking.
Halfway Log Dump parking lot (fee applies) offers access to the Bruce Trail and the Georgian Bay shoreline at Halfway Log Dump. Space is available on a first come, first served basis. The lot is full most days by mid-morning and remains full until mid- to late afternoon. There is no alternative street parking.
Head of Trails parking lot on Cyprus Lake Road offers access to Cyprus Lake and The Grotto. (The Grotto cave itself is closed for 2020 but the arch, the cliffs and the shoreline of Indian Head Cove remain accessible.) Parking only by confirmed reservation on the web or by phone at 1-877-737-3783 (fees apply). Expect all desirable time slots to be booked weeks in advance. There is no other way to access these places.
National Park shoreline and the Bruce Trail can also be reached at the National Park Visitor Centre (fees apply) and at Little Cove (5km south of Tobermory). No limits have been placed on these locations as of late July but this may change if crowding becomes a problem.
Moral of the story: check availability before you drive up to the park.
Boat Tours & Cruises Tobermory & Flowerpot Island
Under Transport Canada regulations and Ontario’s Phase 3 re-opening, Blue Heron Cruises and Bruce Anchor Cruises are permitted to offer cruises in Fathom Five National Marine Park and to drop off passengers at Flowerpot Island. Reservations required.
Tobermory Wave Adventures offers small group tours (up to 10 people).
The Bruce Trail
As of late July, all Bruce Trail segments and side trails are open on the Bruce Peninsula, except for those segments and side trails which pass through Neyashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) which are closed until further notice. The Bruce Trail passes through Bruce Peninsula National Park plus various Provincial Parks and nature reserves. These jurisidictions can close Bruce Trail segments at any time.
For updated information check the Bruce Trail Conservancy’s website.
The Chi-Cheemaun ferry from Tobermory to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island is running three round trips per day at limited capacity during the summer.
Masks/Face Coverings and reservations are required. Visit www.ontarioferries.com for more information.
The Mountain Bike Adventure Park (formerly Albemarle Tract Trails) on County Road 9 north of Colpoys Bay is open.
Lindsay Tract Trails on Hwy 6 north of Ferndale is temporarily closed (as of early August) due to logging damage.
The status of both can be checked here.
Spirit Rock & Bruce’s Caves
As of late July, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority reports that all its properties are open. This includes Spirit Rock/the Corran and Bruce’s Caves.
Get up-to-date information at www.greysauble.on.ca
Tips & Tricks
• Masks/Face Coverings are MANDATORY in many Bruce Peninsula businesses and public places – PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY; WEAR A MASK.
• Many stores are limiting the number of people allowed inside – BE PREPARED TO WAIT IN LINE. Especially for food and liquor.
• Restaurants may be limited to take-out and patio service only – THERE MAY BE LINE-UPS.
• Many accommodations are only offering multiple night stays – COME AND STAY FOR AWHILE.
• Driving on Highway 6 is going to be unpleasant — you’ll be sharing the road with a bunch of cranky people who have been turned away from where they wanted to go – SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE RIDE.
• Speed limit is strictly enforced on highway 6 – DO NOT SPEED. Vehicles clocked at 50km/hr above the limit are impounded for a week and the driver’s licence is suspended. It’s not worth it.
• Limited washrooms for 2020 – PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR NEXT BATHROOM STOP.
• Limited garbage containers for 2020 – Leave no trace; PACK IN-PACK OUT.
• Paid Parking is in effect in the downtown Tobermory and Sauble Beach areas – BE PREPARED TO PAY (exact change or credit card required).
• Things may be closed or parking lots may be full – RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO. Plan alternatives.
• Don’t assume the beach or Bruce Trail segment you have chosen will be open – CHECK BEFORE YOU DRIVE.
• The Grotto parking lot is booked weeks in advance. Singing Sands and Halfway Log Dump parking lots will probably be full from mid-morning until late afternoon – PLAN AN ALTERNATIVE.