Views. Views on views on views.

We all like views. We all enjoy hiking, canoeing, walking, and simply going on an adventure to discover beautiful places and stunning things. While there are SO many locations that offer marvellous vistas in this great big, beautiful world, there are some pretty magical spots here in Ontario as well, a perfect example being the Bruce Trail.

Oh, we all know that I could probably spew out a never-ending stream of compliments, commentary, and stories focusing on the Bruce Trail and its beauty, but I’ll contain myself and limit it to highlighting some of my favourite view-points from the trail, all of which are certainly worth seeing!

Honestly the whole trail is worth seeing, but on with the show!

Honourable Mention: Hamilton

Overlooking the City of Hamilton.

Wow - now that’s a plot twist! Who would have thought that the Hamilton skyline would make the list?

While the cityscape can hardly compete with Mother Nature in my humble opinion, this viewpoint does indeed deserve some recognition. The Bruce Trail is not a wilderness trail by any means, and this fact, while frowned upon in some circles, should be better appreciated. In many ways that’s the reason why this hiking trail is so special in the first place - the intersection between the urban and rural is decidedly beautiful. There is something incredibly unique about moving between each space, taking time to observe the traffic, bustling city-life, and people, eventually retreating to the forest where waterfalls, well-trodden footpaths, and wildlife is king. Urban spaces are important, but so are natural areas, those of which offer bountiful opportunities for recreation and honestly, some epic fun. There is beauty in both, so I encourage you all to explore the Hamilton area and appreciate the skyline in all its shapes and forms.

#10. Grimsby Mountain

The view from Grimsby Mountain.

Another magnificent viewpoint on the urban spectrum of the Bruce! Alongside Hamilton is the Niagara Region and wow, are there ever some lovely views in this area, Grimsby Mountain just being one of them - imagine all of the possibilities!

Lake Ontario is constantly within range as you hike along the escarpment, weaving in and out of the Carolinian forests this region is so famous for. When the lake isn’t in view vineyards and farms are a very welcome sight to the eyes - and even hungry tummies that are looking for a nice, wholesome snack! Vineyards are the perfect place for a feast! Grimsby Mountain however, is especially rewarding. The escarpment snaking around Grimsby and Beamsville - just beautiful. Well worth the hike!

Click images to enlarge

#9. Short Hills Provincial Park

Walking through the wildflowers.

Not a traditional viewpoint by any means - literally a whole Provincial Park - but in the spring this little park is just magical. Hidden waterfalls, rivers, and small, rolling hills. Freshly blooming flowers, little bridges, crevasses, and the odd deer lingering in and out of view in the distance. There are a plentiful number of side-trails to explore, some of which offer lessons in Canadian history, a prime example being the Laura Secord Side-Trail that crosses over the 4-Mile Creek. There are countless opportunities to take in the environment and explore, hence why this wonderful place has made my list!

Click images to enlarge

#8. Mount Nemo

A view from Mount Nemo.

A WONDERFUL viewpoint in the Iroquois Section of the Bruce Trail! Quite the steep, somewhat rocky climb up (just shy of 100m), but the trek is worth it. Glorious, picturesque views sweep out from under the escarpment towards Milton, Rattlesnake Point, the QEW, and Lake Ontario. You can see for kilometres - pretty useful when you’re thru-hiking, I’d say! You know exactly what to prepare for!

My only qualm with this magical little spot is the urban sprawl that is slowly migrating towards the escarpment from Milton. While I totally understand that nature cannot remain entirely pristine, especially in Southern Ontario in fairly close proximity to the GTA, I cannot help but feel somewhat sad. Perhaps I’m mourning for a loss that we’ll only truly come to recognize in the future? Maybe I just don’t big houses?

Regardless, this is still a great spot to enjoy the sunshine and scenery (even some rock climbing if you’re looking to take in the view from an entirely different perspective).

Panoramic views off Mount Nemo.

#7. Hockley Valley

Enjoying the views of the Hockley Valley.

Just outside the bustling town of Orangeville is Hockley Valley, a small hiking paradise home to some rather unique moraine topography. Defined by hills of all shapes and sizes, the terrain in this special spot is not to be underestimated. Well-used trails cleverly hide some pretty wicked elevation gain and of course, some stellar views. Those who have a healthy appreciation for geography and glacial history will be particularly impressed. The remains of the past are deeply ingrained within the landscape here. Every rock, tree, and hill tells a story - the question is, are you going to go and find out what that tall tale is?

Click images to enlarge

#6. Literally Anywhere in the Dufferin Hi-Lands

A smiling Sarah - look at those views!

Oh, I could talk about all the viewpoints in this section of the Bruce Trail for hours! There are SO many special, unique little spots that offer fantastic scenes of Lake Ontario from afar, a primary example being the hi-lands that stretch between 20 Sideroad and Honeywood. Not only can you see for kilometres, but you have the opportunity to walk in a gated pasture among various farm animals, particularly cows - pretty enjoyable if you ask me! The wind blowing through your hair is magical and makes you feel like royalty as you take in the panoramic views.

Other notable spots?

A panorama from Murphey's Pinnacle.

Boyne Valley Provincial Park - Murphy’s Pinnacle is to die for, omg. Lovely panoramic views that cover everything from Lake Ontario to Shelburne! And if you’re looking for good views combined with wildflowers, tree tunnels, and endless sky, why not give the section of trail that runs between Caledon Hills and Primrose a try as well?

So many options and that’s only a mere fragment of the Bruce Trail!

Click images to enlarge

#5. Lion’s Head

The amazing cliffs at Lion's Head.

Perhaps one of the most famous and well-known viewpoints from the Bruce Trail, Lion’s Head is pretty damn magnificent. The Niagara Escarpment plunges deep into Georgian Bay, revealing some intense, dramatic bits of shoreline that resemble something right out of a painting or picture book. In contrast with the vibrant turquoise water the Peninsula Section is recognized for, hiking around this area is spectacular (and that’s only putting it simply). There is not one direction to look in, examine, or glace at that isn’t beautiful in one way or another. Hiking Lion’s Head is a dream, which is why I’ve included it on this lovely list.

Looking South at Lion's Head.

But why not number one? Why does it fail to be at the top?

What this viewpoint does not lack in beauty, lacks in privacy - Lion’s Head is often overrun by tourists and other outdoorsy folks also hiking, walking, or lounging on the trail waiting to enjoy the views. Yes, this viewpoint is wonderful, but there are SO many other places that I can think of where there are no people to be seen and sometimes, a little quiet-time is nice out there on the trail.

Panoramic views off of Lion's Head.

So go out there and enjoy this epic place, but bear in mind that you need to leave a little space for others as well.

#4. Old Baldy

The fall colours at Old Baldy.

Not the winner, but this is probably my favourite viewpoint on the Bruce Trail (it’s a side trail now, but still counts). Overlooking what feels like the entirety of the Beaver Valley, Old Baldy is a masterpiece in the making. As a geography nerd I can only imagine the power required by Mother Earth to carve such a deep, long, and honestly magnificent valley in the bedrock that’s nestled here in this special place. Every time I’m just blown away by the magnitude of it all - yes, even in Ontario!

The best part?

Hiking isn’t the only way to enjoy this view. Rock climbing is yet another activity that allows for full, absolute enjoyment of the scenery visible from Old Baldy. Up close and personal, there’s probably no better way to get to know the Niagara Escarpment. Much like the physical environment, every hand and foot hold tells a story. How many people have climbed before you? Did they enjoy the views too? So many questions and so many answers - you just have to go and seek them out at Old Baldy. Just keep in mind that this is a pretty busy spot as well!

Click images to enlarge

#3. Pretty River Provincial Park

Taking in the views after a very long day.

What a spectacular moment this was. When we hiked the trail night was falling - the sun was just beginning to set. Up and up we climbed, the elevation slowly ticking away on sore, tired legs. We didn’t know what to expect; none of us had ever been to Pretty River Provincial Park. We didn’t even know if there was going to be a view once we somehow scampered our way to the top of the escarpment. We were hopeful of course, but fatigue kept our growing excitement at bay. And honestly, what for? The so called ‘summit’ was more than we could have hoped for.

Views at the 'summit'.

The views from the uppermost trails in this provincial park are wonderful. As the sun slipped over the horizon we were greeted with sweeping views of Georgian Bay, Collingwood, and the Nottawasaga Bluffs. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. Vast expanses of green and blue, the coastline shimmering in the setting sun, the escarpment snaking away and fading into the distance - just wow. WOW. I sat admiring the view until the sunlight disappeared, slowly becoming enveloped in the night.

Panoramic views in Pretty River Provincial Park.

This will always be a view that I remember. Go make some of your own memories in this special place!

#2. Skinner’s Bluff

Hugs at Skinner's Bluff.

A photographer’s dream, perhaps?

SO many opportunities for pictures here along the escarpment, 193 meters into the air. It’s a bit of a hike to reach this viewpoint and a bunch of others that run along this glorious piece of rock, but let me tell you, it’s more than worth it. Not only can you see for kilometres, the forest going on and on somewhat endlessly, Georgian Bay rears in front of you like a giant beast, basically screaming to be seen and heard. White Cloud, Griffiths Island, and Hay Island loom in the distance, adding to the ever-increasing chorus of views that must be admired immediately. It’s an overwhelming, rewarding, and simply marvellous experience, one I personally plan on repeating as soon as possible.

Panoramic views from Skinner's Bluff.

This view literally took my breath away. I bounced and hopped around like a child as soon as my eyes came into contact with the scenery, my feet moving on their own accord just to get closer to the escarpment edge, my camera clicking madly as I tried to document the moment. Everything about this viewpoint is beautiful. Please, please, please check it out! You won’t be disappointed. The combined glory of the lake, forest, and bits of agricultural land in the distance is amazing.

#1. Dyer’s Bay

In awe of Dyer's Bay.

Ah! Miraculous! Amazing! Fantastic! Beautiful! Magnificent! Wonderful! Stunning!

The entire section of Bruce Trail that runs along Dyer’s Bay is worthy of so many words, descriptions, and honestly poetry if possible. Everywhere you walk epic views of Georgian Bay slam right into your face. Whether you’re up on top of the escarpment or down along the shore, there is SO much to see. Rocky landscapes, powerful cedars with roots that dig deep into escarpment, turquoise waters, waves, blue skies, and sunshine - uh! This section of trail is truly out of the world.

There are TONS of places to stop and create some dramatic photos using the many exposed cliff faces, in addition to the countless rocky crevices and ledges that are ultimately a defining peninsula section of the Bruce Trail.

There really isn’t much more to say!

Words can hardly describe the beauty of this expansive viewpoint on the trail. For me it will be forever engrained in my memory. The beaches in Dyer’s Bay offered me a place to nap and rest, the scenery made me smile, and after hiking for nearly a month and dreaming of finally being close to Tobermory, my mood was practically soaring - the views surpassed my expectations with ease.

Go hike in Dyer’s Bay.

Go check out the views in the peninsula section of the Bruce Trail.

Just go!

Click images to enlarge

The End!

There you have it - those are some of my favourite views from the Bruce Trail, and believe me when I say that there are far more out there that have yet to be discussed. Will I get to them? Maybe, but for now seriously get out there are find some beautiful sights of your own!