Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto

Difficulty
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Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
500 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto

Hiking the Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto Trail is an amazing experience along the shores of Georgian Bay that will see you climb uphill along the rocky escarpment for some stunning views across the water. While out on the trail, you will pass through tranquil stretches of forest along the rocky and rugged shoreline, eventually arriving at the scenic rock caves of Indian Head Cove and the Grotto. While the middle portions of this trail likely won’t be very populated, the start and end points are popular tourist destinations that will see a dramatic increase in foot traffic.

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Route Description for Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto

While the Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto Trail is not an overly busy route in itself, the start and end points of the hike are often busy with tourists that want to take in the breathtaking scenery along the shoreline of Georgian Bay, and who can blame them! If you want to complete this route and not have to share any of the scenery with crowds of people, try arriving early or attempting it during the shoulder seasons when there are less people hanging around. Additionally, you will want to make sure that you wear proper hiking boots for this trek, as the terrain along the coast is very rocky and rugged.

Even with the visitors and difficult trail, this is a breathtaking hiking route in Bruce Peninsula National Park that will expose you to some truly stunning scenery. While out on the trail, you will hike along the rugged shore and experience some beautiful views across the waters of Georgian Bay to the north, as well as the peaceful expanse of the forest to the south. Reaching the end of the trail, you will come to the popular rock formation known as the Grotto, a cave that allows you to peer through the rock of the escarpment into the waters of the bay below. This is an amazing hike that should definitely make it onto your list if you find yourself in the Bruce.

Setting out from the Halfway Log Dump parking lot, head to the northwest along the trail as it enters into the forest and arrives at a junction in 250 m. Head right here and continue through this easy part of the hike, enjoying the peaceful forest atmosphere as you make your way toward the water. Reaching a four-way intersection with some washroom facilities, take the trail on the left and follow it through the forest to hike parallel to the shoreline of Georgian Bay, receiving some nice intermittent views across the water in the process.

After 1.3 km along this trail, you will climb uphill and come to the Cave Point Lookout, which will provide some stunning views overlooking the rock formations along the edge of the shimmering blue water. Continue along the trail to the west for another 1.3 km, where you will come to the Stormhaven Campsite, which is a great spot along the water for some backcountry camping if you want to make this into a longer adventure.

Leaving the campsite behind, you will traverse some more of the same rugged terrain for the next 2.5 km, keeping right to hug tightly to the water’s edge and enjoy the dual views of the charming woodland setting and the vast expanse of Georgian Bay on your right. After crossing a stretch of beach, you will make your way back into the forest and around a rocky point to receive some stunning views overlooking Indian Head Cove. This popular destination is great for taking photos of a stunning rocky shoreline that would not feel out of place somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Depending on the time of day and year, this portion of the hike will likely be the busiest due to the large volume of visitors that have just completed the much shorter 45 minute walk from the Cyprus Lake Campground to visit the Grotto. Even still this is a beautifully scenic place that can be enjoyed by all. Continue around the trail to the west for about 275 m, taking in the stunning views across the water until you arrive at the Grotto, a weathered hole in the escarpment that will allow you to peer down into the water below. Those that want to swim in the refreshing waters of the bay can follow one of the trails that lead down to the edge of the water, although caution should be exercised in doing so.

After taking in the amazing sights of the Grotto and Indian Head Cove, retrace your steps along the rugged trail and keep left to follow the shoreline, gaining a different perspective of the landscape as you make your way back to the trailhead where you started the Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto hike.

Trail Highlights

The Grotto

This stunning cave is a popular tourist destination and swimming spot for adventurous people looking to take a dip in the refreshing waters of Georgian Bay in a serene setting. Along with nearby Indian Head Cove, the Grotto is a natural rock formation that is the result of thousands of years of weathering caused by the waters crashing against the rock.

Georgian Bay

Making up the eastern portion of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay is almost like a Great Lake in itself and is sometimes referred to as the “sixth Great Lake.” Containing tens of thousands of small islands and beautiful shorelines, the bay is roughly 190.0 km in length and 80.0 km wide, making it nearly 80% the size of Lake Ontario. Found within the traditional lands of the Huron-Petun and Anishinaabeg First Nations peoples, Georgian Bay was first explored by Samuel de Champlain in 1615-1616 and later renamed by the English in the name of King George IV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in the Grotto?

The Grotto and Indian Head Cove are a great place to swim, providing crystal clear waters and interesting rock formations that can be explored. Getting down to the water can be a bit difficult in some areas, so make sure to exercise caution.

How far is the Grotto from Tobermory?

While hikers wishing to visit the Grotto along this route will need to follow the directions posted above to access the trailhead, day visitors that aren’t interested in a longer hike can drive to the Cyprus Lake Campground for a much shorter 45 minute walk to the Grotto. The drive from Tobermory to Cyprus Lake is roughly km.

Insider Hints for Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto

  • Wear proper hiking footwear, as parts of the trail are rough and rocky.
  • Arrive early if you want to avoid bumping into the throngs of people that crowd around the Grotto.
  • Parking can be limited during peak times and you will need to pay a fee per vehicle to enter the park during a time slot. This can be done in advance to ensure that you secure a spot. Alternatively, camping in the area will mean that you can simply hike over to the Grotto whenever you want!

Getting to the Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto Trailhead

To reach the parking area for the Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto Trail from Tobermory, head to the southeast on ON-6S for 13.8 km and turn left onto Emmett Lake Road, following it for 6.5 km. Make a left onto Halfway Log Dump Road and continue on for 1.4 km to arrive at the parking area.

Route Information

  • When to do

    April-November

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Stormhaven

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    One Way

Halfway Log Dump to the Grotto Elevation Graph

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