The Bruce Trail is Canada’s longest hiking trail, winding along the Niagara Escarpment all the way from Niagara Falls to Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula. With some careful planning and organization, the ambitious goal of hiking all 890 km of the Bruce Trail can be achieved. The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) recognizes “End-to-Enders” with an official end-to-end badge.
It may seem overwhelming, but there are a few options available for those who want to walk the whole Trail from end to end.
It is possible to complete the Trail in one go, in as little as 30 to 60 days. This requires a good level of physical ability, as it means hiking for around 4 to 8 hours, or an average of between 15 and 30 km, per day. It will also require a lot of advance planning to organize places to stay and meals. Don’t worry though; help is available. The BTC lists a selection of inns, B&Bs and other accommodations, as well as a list of over 40 campsites, along the various sections of the Trail. Detailed PDF maps are also available for purchase at the BTC online store. Planning out your journey in advance will help you achieve your goal.
If you want to pace it out, another option is to complete the Trail in stages. There are nine Bruce Trail clubs, each representing their own section of the Trail, and offering organized end-to-end hikes of their own Trail sections. The hikes generally take place over a couple of weekends in the summer. Registration is required and there is usually a fee, but there are also water and snack stations along the way and you’ll earn your club badge at the end. This option allows you to complete the 9 sections over a number of weekends, and once you’ve earned all your club badges you will eligible for the coveted end-to-end badge.
If you want to break it down into even smaller steps, you can complete different parts of the trail over several months of even years. Just make sure to keep a trail log detailing where you started and finished each day. You can complete the entire Trail on your own or do a combination of self-guided and organized hikes. In order to claim your badge, submit your trail logs and the date you completed the Trail to the BTC. Keep in mind that you must be a member of the BTC at the time of completion.
If you decide to go ahead and hike the whole trail, it is recommended that you purchase the Bruce Trail Reference Guide, which includes all 42 maps of the Bruce Trail.
Whether you complete the trail in a 30 day marathon or in bits and pieces over many years, you’re sure to have a wonderful adventure exploring the beautiful variety of forests, wetlands, meadows, and cliffs of the Escarpment. Good luck and enjoy the journey!