Uncover the hidden beauty of fens

Bird enthusiasts know – fens are the perfect spot to head to catch sight of numerous birds! Each spring, over 200 species of birds can be observed in the three fens, as well as orchids and carnivorous plants. Bring your camera and see how many you can spot!

What are fens?

Fens are low and marshy areas of land that have water flowing through them, unlike a bog that’s only source of water is rain. You can visit three fens in Bruce County: Oliphant, Singing Sands and Petrel Point. Each spring, over 200 species of birds can be observed in area, as well as orchids and carnivorous plants.

All three of these fens have boardwalks – some are accessible, and all guarantee beautiful pictures and plenty of birding opportunities. These are all part of sensative ecosystems so it’s always recommended to stay on the paths and boardwalks.

Oliphant Fen

This 1.4 kilometre long wide boardwalk is equipped with bumper boards on both sides and was built by local field naturalist groups and is intended for wheelchair access as well as for walkers. It winds through the fen across the road from Lake Huron shoreline allowing views of lady slippers in spring and a slew of gentians and other wildflowers in fall. Throughout the fen you’ll be able to find interactive panels.

Singing Sands

This 3 kilometres Singing Sands Loop is an easy and accessible trail for all ages and hiking ability. The trail winds its way through cedar forest and sand dunes with great opportunities for viewing birds and wild flowers, in particular some of Bruce Peninsula National Park’s famous orchids. Make your hike a loop by coming back along the Dorcas Bay shoreline with large expanses of flat limestone rock, sandy beach, and great views of the bay. An additional 200 metre boardwalk into a fen ecosystem provides rare glimpses of some of the parks carnivorous fen plants. Cool off after your hike at Singing Sands Beach in the shallow inviting waters of Lake Huron. Check out the map to see which sections of the trail are accessible and how you can get into the beach area.

Note: Singing Sands currently has limited accessibility due to high water levels, please stay out of the roped areas.

Petrel Point Nature Reserve

A Federations of Ontario Naturalist nature reserve, the Petrel Point Boardwalk runs on both sides of the road, snakes through cedar bush bordering the fen as well as through the fen itself. Several orchids grow here, blooming in late spring or early summer. The main boardwalk is narrow and unsuitable for wheelchair access, however a section of boardwalk has been upgraded to be suitable for wheelchair access.

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