Bruce Peninsula National Park - The Grotto

A big cave on the shore, it was carved out by the waves of Georgian Bay over thousands of years.

Everyone hikes to the Grotto - it’s the most popular attraction in Bruce Peninsula National Park, if not all of Bruce County! A big cave on the shore, the Grotto was carved out by the waves of Georgian Bay over thousands of years. The cave itself is stunning, with sunlight from the outside revealing a brilliant underwater tunnel on the inside. You can walk along a ledge inside its cavity or swim in its cool, clear, turquoise water. 

It’s a 30-minute hike to the Grotto from the Head of Trails parking lot, down Cyprus Lake Road. Take the Georgian Bay Trail to the shore then follow the Bruce Trail west along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. The Grotto is located just past Indian Head Cove – another naturally stunning attraction. To reach the Grotto from the Bruce Trail, climb down through the natural chimney in the rock of the Niagara Escarpment. It’s a pristine setting; there are no signs, lights, stairs or handrails here. 

Rent your campground early, as spots fill up fast!

the grotto and Indian Head cove

Here's what you need to know:


  • During the summer months, parking to access these sites fill to capacity regularly, resulting in visitors being denied access.  Always make your first stop to the Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre for up to date information and incredible interactive displays. Or, consider planning your visit during the spring and fall. There are several other destinations and activities to explore when the parking lots are full.


  • The hike to the Grotto takes roughly 30 minutes along the 1 km Georgian Bay Trail.  Although the majority of the trail is hard packed, the shoreline is rugged. Descent into the grotto involves climbing down 40ft over a rocky open cliff.


  • When the P1 parking lot is at capacity, visitors are required to park in the P2 parking lot, which is a 50 minute hike to the Grotto and Indian Head Cove.


  • There are no garbage facilities at the Grotto or Indian Head Cove and you are required to carry out your garbage.


  • Open alcohol is not permitted at Grotto or Indian Head Cove nor anywhere other than your registered campsite.


  • Cliff diving is an illegal and extremely dangerous activity in the park and is enforced by fines and evictions.


  • The water at Indian Head Cove and the Grotto is very cold and wave conditions are often rough.  Even when waves look swimmable, local tows and currents can present drowning hazards.

(Information extracted from Parks Canada website -

***Also, see “Caves” under Things to Do.

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