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.

Visit Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula!

Everyone hikes to the Grotto. It’s the most popular attraction in Bruce Peninsula National Park. A big cave on the shore, it was carved out by the waves of Georgian Bay over thousands of years. 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. 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.

the grotto and Indian Head cove

It’s a 30-minute hike to the Grotto from the Head of Trails parking lot at Cyprus Lake parking lot. 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 avoid crowds, visit in spring or fall, yet rent your campground early, as spots fill up fast!

When deciding to visit the Grotto and Indian Head Cove, here is what you need to know.


  • During the summer months, parking to access these sites fill to capacity regularly, resulting in visitors being denied access.  Consider planning your visit during non-peak hours or in 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 trail to the shoreline is hard packed, the shoreline it's self is rugged uneven limestone, while the decent 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 min 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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