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Lion's Head

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Lion's Head is a small town in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada.

Understand[edit]

Situated about halfway up the scenic Bruce Peninsula, Lion's Head is named for a (now partially-collapsed) natural rock formation resembling a lion on the face of the cliffs abutting the town. Though with a winter population of only about 1,000, the town swells in the summer with seasonal residents and visitors. Hours from the nearest major urban settlement, and abutting the massive Georgian Bay, the area features southern Ontario's darkest night skies.

Lion's Head is a popular but not crowded place for stargazing, hiking, and water activities. Many visitors make Lion's Head their base to explore the wider region, including nearby Tobermory, which in peak season is often jam-packed or even totally sold out.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Lion's Head is approximately 3½ hr northwest of Toronto. It can be accessed by taking highway 410/10 through Brampton, Orangeville, and Shelburne, then highway 6 near Owen Sound to the Bruce Peninsula.

By bus[edit]

The Parkbus from Toronto to Tobermory, which operates sporadically on weekends in the summer, stops in Lion's Head in both directions. Owen Sound, approximately 1h to the south, is regularly served by afternoon Greyhound busses from Toronto (with stops in Barrie and Collingwood, amongst others), which take about 4 hours. Owen Sound often has car rentals available for further transport, or a taxi to Lion's Head is about $100. Finally, as of 2017 Bruce Peninsula Transit is trialling a number of routes throughout the region. It is best to call to determine current times and prices, as the service changes regularly.

On foot[edit]

The 885-km Bruce Trail from Niagara Falls to Tobermory along the Niagara Escarpment passes through Lion's Head.

Get around[edit]

Small and compact, Lion's Head is perfectly walkable. Street parking is free everywhere in town.

See[edit]

  • 1 Greig's Caves, 407 Scenic Caves Road (Take highway 9 south of Lion's Head for about 9 km, then turn east following signage), +1 519-377-8762, e-mail: . 9am–6pm in summer. Privately owned scenic cave system with hiking trails atop the escarpment and dark caverns beneath it. Bring a flashlight and a jacket. Dogs not permitted, parking free. Adults $10, Ages 3-12 $5, Kids under 3 free.
  • 2 Stargazing, 1 Bruin St. You can do this anywhere with a clear night sky, but every Fri and Sat night during the summer, a local group of star aficionados brings their telescopes down to the marina, and gives talks while allowing you to see some spectacular sights that are inaccessible to the naked eye. Free.
  • 3 Cape Chin Bison Farm, 94 East Rd, +1 (519) 592-5010. There's no storefront, but you can call to make a meat order, or pull over on the side of the roads around the farm to take a look if you want to see a herd of farmed Canadian bison. (This is not a tourism operation, please be don't get in the way and don't call with tourism questions).

Do[edit]

  • Rock Climbing. There is a wide variety of rock climbing and bouldering routes along the Lion's Head section of the Niagara Escarpment. Many have pre-installed metal loops. There's a little bit of a legal grey zone, so most professional guide outfits won't take you to the escarpment. If you're going without a guide, you should be sufficiently trained and experienced. Be sure to consult widely within the rock climbing community and carefully inspect any pre-installed equipment. *Never* tie your ropes around trees; this is endangering ancient cedars in the escarpment area and risks getting rock climbing strictly banned. For professional support, consider Atlas Adventures in Owen Sound.
  • Paddling. There is good kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and other water sports available from the Lion's Head marina and in the wider region. Supporting businesses include (listed by distance from Lion's Head) Calypso [dead link], Explorer's Tread, Fathom, The Spirit Rock, and Suntrail.

Beaches[edit]

  • 1 Town Beach, 1 Forbes St. A small sandy beach and adjacent grassy park accessible to nearby marina amenities. The park is a local gathering spot and has a small stage for occasional live performances. Free.
  • 2 Sandy Beach at Black Creek Provincial Park, Sandy Beach Rd, Old Woman's River. A nice beach popular with locals but generally unknown to tourists. Calm clean warm water in a protected harbour that deepens gradually. Features a small block with pit toilets and a gravel lot, but is otherwise unserviced. Free.

Hiking[edit]

  • 3 Sydney Bluffs. Park at Hope Bay (access via a ladder) or at Sydney Bay (access via stairs) for a ~8km loop along the top of the escarpment. The south side of the trail is hilly and a bit overgrown, while the north is relatively flat with beautiful vistas. Please be Bear Aware! Free.
  • 4 Lion's Head Lookout (Take Moore St east of town and park at McCurdy parkette.). A pleasant walk along a well-maintained section of the Bruce Trail to a series of stunning lookouts over the Lion's Head harbour. Other sights include 10,000 year-old glacial potholes and small caverns. Approximately 4km each way, with some rocky sections. Free.
  • 5 Devil's Monument, 201 Borchardt Rd (From Hwy 6 north of town, take Lindsey Road 5, E Rd, Cape Chin North Rd, and finally follow Borchardt Rd to the parking lot and the end.). A nice section of the Bruce Trail culminates at a 6,000-year old upturned "flowerpot" rock formation. You can follow the small creek and waterfall down from the monument to an isolated pebble beach with crystal clear waters, or continue along the nearby trail and side trails to do loops of various lengths. Free.

Buy[edit]

Shops[edit]

  • 1 Foodland, 7 Webster St. Summer Hours M-Th 8am-6pm, F-Sa 8am-8pm, Su 9am-6pm. The local grocery, it has all of the staples you would expect from any small town chain supermarket franchise. Upstairs is Grandad's Attic, a souvenir and craft store.
  • 2 Artists Co-Op Gallery, 2866 Hwy 6, +1 (519) 793-3080. Summer 10am-4pm M-Sa, 12pm-4pm Su. Weekends only the rest of the year. Features exhibitions of for-sale artwork sorted into sections by various local artists. Worth taking a look, and prices are usually fair if you're interested in making a purchase. $5–$3000.
  • Dandy Lions
  • Aunt Donkeys
  • The Cottage - Women's Clothing

Agricultural[edit]

  • Lion's Head Farmer's Market (Saturdays 9am-12pm)
  • Garden In Thyme

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Rachel's Bakery, 79 Main St, +1 (519) 793-3982. A small diner and bakery selling sweet treats like cakes and tarts.
  • Cindy Lou's
  • Marydale's Family Restaurant
  • Mom's Pizza
  • 2 Ferndale Drive-In, 2865 Hwy 6, Ferndale, +1 (519) 793-3400. Ice cream, burgers, and good subs. Open to 9pm most days in summer, later than most other shops and restaurants nearby.
  • Harvest Moon Bakery
  • 3 Katemma's Diner, 607 Pike Bay Rd, Pike Bay, +1 (519) 793-3150, e-mail: . 8am-8pm. Big portions, friendly service, and good food at a classic atmospheric roadside diner.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 LCBO, 1 Ferndale Rd, +1 (519) 793-3355. M-Th 10am-8pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Government liquor outlet at the entrance to town, where Ferndale Rd connects Hwy 6 to Hwy 9.
  • 2 Lion's Head Inn and Pub, 8 Helen St, +1 (519) 793-4601, e-mail: . 11am-11pm daily in summer. A large full-service bar and restaurant, in the off-season it doubles as a small hotel (during summer peak, these rooms are reserved for out-of-town staff working in the busy restaurant). Try the award-winning wings!
  • 3 Hava Java, 75 Main St, +1 (519) 754-7474. The only coffee shop in Lion's Head, Hava Java serves good fresh coffee. A side business to Sacred Fire crafts shop, the atmosphere is artsy, verging on spiritual, and the eclectic owner is friendly and talkative. Hours vary.

Sleep[edit]

Camping[edit]

  • Marina Campground
  • White Bluff Campground
  • Heron Point Campground
  • Hope Bay Campground

Indoors[edit]

  • 1 The Fitz Hostel, 4 Mill St (On Mill St, 3 buildings down from Main St.), +1 (519) 793-3267, e-mail: . Check-in: 3pm–8pm or by prior arrangement, check-out: 11am. Opened in 2016 in a renovated building dating to 1895, the 10-bed Fitz Hostel is clean and charming. It has shared bathrooms and a full kitchen for guests to use. Staff have lots of maps and tips for things to see and do. Peak season: $39 for dorm room, $110 for private. Lower prices during shoulder and low seasons.
  • Beach Motel
  • Lionheart Guest House
  • Nellie's B&B
  • The Cat's Pajamas

Connect[edit]

The town is served by a Canada Post office. Cellular service is available though sometimes spotty. Hotels and restaurants often offer free WiFi. The only bank is an RBC Royal Bank, which has a 24h ATM. There are two gas stations in nearby Ferndale, where the road to Lion's Head meets highway 6.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Lion's Head
EspanolaTobermory  N Ontario 6.svg S  Owen SoundGuelph


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