Hiking Burnt Point Loop Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park
The sun hinted at a warming to come, but this early in the morning there was still a chill to the air. The sky was that pale blue, as though it had still not fully awoken yet. The sun made the open trail glimmer. The gravel crunched underfoot while birds began singing their morning greetings. I couldn’t help but grin as a sense of zen washed over me. It was just me, the birds, the trees, and the trail stretching out in front of me.
For my first solo hike along the Bruce Peninsula, I chose a moderate trail through the northern portion of the Bruce Peninsula National Park. The Burnt Point Loop trail feeds off of the Bruce Trail leading south of the Lookout Tower. And as only a 15 minute walk from my motel, I thought it would be a great start to my solo hiking on the Bruce.
I strolled up to the first of many lookouts. It was only a flavourful taste at the beauty to come. And with two red Parks Canada Muskoka chairs, and only a 10 minute walk from the Lookout Tower it was the perfect spot to sit and soak in the splendor of the Bruce Peninsula. From here the Burnt Point Loop trail takes on the typical Niagara Escarpment feel. Scrambling over roots and rocks rising from the ground, with alternating ups and downs, I made my way further into the Park’s interior.
The scent of cedar filled my lungs as the forest breathed around me. The forest landscape changed every dozen steps or so. This would be a continuous occurrence as the trail follows a revolving door of varying landscapes. Once surrounded by seemingly dense forest, I’m spit out onto a rocky shore. I emerged from the darkened forest and was blinded by the bright sun. There before me was Dunks Point. I clambered over the rocks to find a large one that screamed for me to take a seat. There was a hush as the breeze brushed my face. I never cease to shake my head in amazement at the crystal clear waters found along the Bruce Peninsula. As I unhitched my daypack to sit awhile my muscles eased thanks to this tranquil space which I only had to share with a lone sandpiper.
I could have relished in the moment forever, but alas the trail called. I headed across the rocky shore and entered back into the woods. But that moment returned when I found myself looking back out over the blue waters. This time crossing over a little river reaching out to those big, grand water beyond. Nestled within a clearing between forests on either side, it was like stumbling upon a hidden gem.
The revolving door of forested trail meets picturesque water lookouts was certainly an ongoing theme. As no sooner had I entered the dense forest, yet again, that I found myself faced with another sign – lookout ahead. And just when I thought these beautiful marine vistas couldn’t get any better, I was proven mistaken.
I stepped out slowly from the shadows of the trees, into the blaring sun. A sweeping panoramic view of Fathom Five Marine National Park was before me. I could see little rock islands scattered around. One, home to a family of mergansers warming in the heat of the mid-morning sun. And, off in the distance, I could see a larger island. I could make out a large stone formation off its shore. The proverbial lightbulb went off! It was Flowerpot Island!
I was absolutely astounded at how this trail could offer so many breathtaking views over the same waters, yet all of those views look so different! But then I remember, that’s the beauty of the Bruce. This small and delicate peninsula never ceases to amaze with its wealth of beauty.
When I finally tore myself away I followed the trail back into the forest. With occasional boardwalks over marshy areas, past the Escarpment’s rocky boulders, and accompanied by the Park’s many bird species, it’s a lovely way to reflect on the beauty of the trail.
To be honest, I don’t know I would have fallen in love with the trail as I did if it was on a busy weekend. But during the week, early in the morning, I had the trail all to myself and cherished every moment. With varying landscapes, stunning lookouts over the water, and the rugged Niagara Escarpment, the Burnt Point Loop Trail is a must hike.
Time – 2.5 hours
Difficulty – Moderate
Distance – 4 km
Parking @ Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre parking lot
Pin this image for later!