The Grotto, Bruce Peninsula National Park

Location

If you think of Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada, you probably instantly think of The Grotto. It is one of the most identifiable landmarks of Bruce peninsula national park, carved deep into the rocky shoreline of Georgian Bay. The Grotto was formed over thousands of years of being pummeled by the relentless waves of Georgian Bay.

The Cliffs Above The Grotto

The view of the sun setting from the cliffs directly above the Grotto.

The Grotto is only accessible via an easy 3 kilometre hike from the main parking lot within the National Park. Once you pass Indian Cove Head, the main beach where the turquoise waters beckon, hang a left and you are almost there. It is easy to walk right by the Grotto as there are no signs. Usually you’ll know because there are groups of people milling around. Once you arrive, you will also be on the cliffs, 12 metres (40 feet) above the cave so you’ll have to find a way to descend safely.

“Where The Grotto Lies” The view from the entry point to descend down the rocky cliff into the grotto. You can see the entrance of the Grotto on the right. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

Descending into The Grotto

There are two ways to access The Grotto, down the side of the cliff or via a tunnel through the rock. The tunnel is as too narrow for me and my gear so I went the cliff way. While the path to get from the parking lot to this point was relatively easy and accessible, the route to the The Grotto itself is anything but. It is a difficult climb among the treacherous, jagged rocks so make sure you have good solid foot wear to descend safely to the cove where the entrance of the grotto lies.

“The Grotto Cove” The view of the cove of the grotto and the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay. To the right out of frame, lies The Grotto. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

While lots of people take a dip in the frigid waters inside the Grotto, only a few thrill seekers dive deep below the surface and through a tunnel which opens up on the other side of the rock and into the open waters of Georgian Bay. Inside The Grotto, you will see light coming through the water from the other side.

The best time to view The Grotto is early in the morning when the crowds are not too large. Go early enough and you might be the only one in the cave as I was albeit briefly.

“The Grotto” Deep inside the world renowned Grotto. This was taken early in the morning when no one else was around. An hour later and it would be teaming with people. Purchase a print of this image in the shop.

Sun sets in August are unique as the path of the setting sun penetrates the cave, very briefly and in small, piercing, rays.

Another view from within The Grotto, this one a little deeper and at sunset. Had to wait until the sun had set to get this one, because there were too many people around. Also the bright of the sun and the darks of the cave leaves a camera unable to deal with the extreme dynamic range presented.

The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park is an unforgettable site you won’t want to miss. More on this awesome national park is coming soon, so make sure you subscribe.

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  1. Pingback: A Grotto with a View - Steven Vandervelde Photography

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