Route: Lion's Head Perimeter Loop

Submitted by jamiesonhatt on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 05:21pm
Ontario, CA
9.8 mi
Vertical Gain
850 ft

Lion's Head Provincial Park is a nature reserve in Ontario, Canada, located near the town of Lion's Head on Georgian Bay. The park contains portions of the Niagara Escarpment and is noted for its glacial features, especially potholes. Part of the Bruce Trail runs through the park.

This area of the Niagara Escarpment is well-known for its rock formation that from a distance resembles the profile of a lion. Some 400 million years old, these Cabot Head, Amabel, and Guelph formations of bedrock are exposed in the cliff face. Glacial out wash and eroded potholes lie on top of the escarpment, while mounds of rock debris overgrown with vegetation, lie along the bottom. The cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, including those at Lion’s Head, support one of the most ancient and least disturbed forest ecosystems in North America. Of particular interest are the ancient white cedars found along the cliff’s edge. The park is also known for the presence of both nationally and provincially rare plant species.

This park is part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks System, and the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve. The Bruce Trail passes through here. There are no visitor facilities. The purpose of this 526-hectare nature reserve is to protect the rock formation and the plants unique to the area. The area is best suited for hiking and nature appreciation. Visitors are asked to remember that the natural features are vulnerable and easily damaged.

This is probably one of the coolest, shorter loops you can do in Ontario! Feel free to start anywhere on the loop and go in either direction. There are some inland trails but this loop follows the perimeter of the park. The loop consists of the famous Bruce Trail, the Ilse Hanel Side Trail and the Warder Side Trail. The Bruce Trail is blazed white and the side trails are blazed blue. 

I find the best place to park is at the end of Cemetery Road. There's only a few spots though so getting there early is a good idea. You can also park on McCurdy Drive. This is paid parking and has limited spots which fill up quick during popular times. No matter which spot you park at, you have to travel inland a bit to get to the official loop. 

The white blazed section of The Bruce Trail from McCurdy Drive to the lookout point on the west side of the park is the most traveled by far. Be prepared for lots of technical rock. Completing in dry conditions would be advised. The lookouts are breathtaking and often the trail goes really close to the edge of the cliff. Enjoy!


GPS Track