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Bruce County Cave Crawl

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The perfect family outing.
The perfect family outing.

Shaped by the wave action of post glacial Lake Algonquin, the caverns of the escarpment along the Georgian Bay shoreline are a spectacle to behold. The majority of these karst formations (meaning: dissolved by water) found on the Peninsula have well groomed trails to lead you there, and with proper planning and preparation you can be sure to have a safe and pleasant outing with the family while exploring these 7000 year old wonders of the region. 

Caving essentials
Caving essentials
  • Flashlight or Headlamp - with a fresh charge of batteries.
  • Sturdy footwear. A curiosity to explore these underground hidden gems found within the Peninsula. It is recommended to have long sleeves and pants while inside the caves, as some sections may require you to belly-crawl.
  • Pack a small lunch and carry water with you. It can be surprisingly physical to wiggle your way through the labyrinthine passageways and you may wish to rest and refuel throughout the day.
  • As always, don't forget your camera. You'll definitely want to snap some gems to look back on, and leave the natural ones in place.
Grieg's Caves
Grieg's Caves

Made famous in the 1980's classic film "Quest for Fire" and the 2013 family movie "Against the Wild", both movies were filmed at this location. These impressive formations are also known as "Ontario's Largest Natural Limestone Caves."

A series of 10 caverns and tunnels, linked by a one kilometre loop trail, these hollows combine belly-crawls and large galleries, with ceilings spotted with the sedimentary roots of stalagmite formations.

Access the caves within a 5 to 10 minute walk from the parking lot.

Bruce's Caves
Bruce's Caves

Follow the stunning 11km hike along the edge of Skinner's Bluff, on the Bruce Trail, and find the Bruce's Caves Conservation Area at the far end. You will pass multiple spectacular ridgetop views along the way.

The Bruce's Caves are a timeworn wave-cut cave (or sea cave) that is now nestled within the greenery of ancient cedars. It hosts a prominent rock pillar in the centre of the cavern.

Bootlegger's Caves
Bootlegger's Caves

One of two main caverns in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Bootleggers is completely hidden from the water, between Halfway Log Dump and Storm Haven Campground. The trail to these caverns is less obvious, and most adventurous. Be well prepared, as you won't have any cell along that shore in case something happens.

Follow a 1km groomed trail to the water, and then continue west along the shoreline. Eventually you'll have to scramble over boulders and obstacles en route for about .5km before heading into the forest. Eventually you arrive at the caves.

You can expect a wide cavernous room with multiple entrances, and the sound of Georgian Bay waves resounding just outside. Expect to feel like you've time-warped into prehistoric time. Have lunch inside the cave and plan enough time for the return hike. 

The Grotto

The most famous of all caves along the peninsula is the Grotto. Be sure to plan ahead by booking a reservation well in advance.

A 5km trail leads from the Cyprus Lake parking to the shoreline. Follow the rocky trail along the coast until you arrive about this popular site. The cavern is down below the trail and semisubmerged in Georgian Bay waters. The Grotto is a wave-cut cave in action. Make sure to read and obey all park signs leading up to the Grotto, as sometimes they might have a limit on entering the cave.

For both the Grotto and Halfway Log Dump, it is highly encouraged to plan on visiting in the shoulder seasons, (spring/fall) and be sure to call ahead and book a reservation. 

Brought to you in partnership with
Brought to you in partnership with

Learn all about visiting Bruce, Grey, and Simcoe counties here