If an epic winter adventure is on your bucket list then you can go hiking on snow-covered trails that lead past icy caverns in Ontario this season.
Bruce Peninsula National Park is known as a popular summer destination but some of the trails, including the one that leads to the Grotto, are open during the winter.
While you'll have to plan ahead and take extra safety measures when visiting in the winter months, the amazing frosty views are beautiful to take in.
The Grotto and Indian Head Cove, including the Cyprus Lake trail, are accessible in the winter, as well as Burnt Point Loop Trail. Grab your boot spikes or snowshoes if you have them because the park's open trails are not maintained during the winter months and are likely full of ice and snow.
You'll be able to reach the Grotto and Natural Arch along the trail which is covered in sparkly snow. The sea caves and shoreline cliffs will likely be covered in ice and you can view them from above or from a distance as you would in the summer months, but entering the caves is not advised.
Day passes can be purchased from the campground office on Cyprus Lake Road and the park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You'll want to get there earlier in the day so you are hiking in full daylight.
Besides the extra safety cautions during the frozen winter months, you'll need to plan ahead when it comes to accommodations and food. Many hotels, restaurants and shops in Tobermory are closed in the winter and the gas station does not operate during regular hours, for example.
Winter camping is an option for an overnight stay in the national park in yurts or your own front-country vehicle. The cold clear nights mean the sky will be ideal for stargazing from one of the yurt tents. Camping reservations can be made online.
If the idea of navigating the cold, snowy conditions makes you nervous you can choose to book a guided tour with companies such as My Eco Adventures. The Snowshoe the Grotto adventure takes place on select dates in January and February. It will lead you near ice-covered rock faces, through forests and around frozen lakes. Don't forget to bring extra thermal layers and snacks.
Halfway Log Dump on Emmett Lake Road, Singing Sands, Little Cove Road and Crane Lake Road are all closed during the winter months. Tour boat companies do not operate in the winter so there is also no access to Flowerpot Island.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Price: $8.50 admission per adult
When: Winter season until April 30, 2023
Address: 469 Cyprus Lake Rd., Tobermory, ON
Why You Need To Go: You can hike or snowshoe through forests and into hidden caves that become icy spectacles in the winter. Make sure to plan and dress accordingly for the winter conditions.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.