Camp at Stormhaven Beach
Canada › Stormhaven Trailhead, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Added by Rob Nelson
A relatively short hike to an amazing semi-private white stone beach surrounded by limestone cliffs.
You need to plan ahead to make the most of this trip. Permits for backcountry camping in Canadian National Parks open up in mid-January and competition for popular places (such as this) can be fierce. Get the date nailed down before applying and get online right away.
After you've secured permitting and travelled to The Peninsula, visit the park office to get the paper permits for the campsite and for your car. Drive back to the highway and go south to Emmett Lake Road and follow the signs to the Halfway Log Dump Day Use Area to park. Gear up.
Walk a few hundred meters towards the beach and before going down to the beach take a left on the Bruce trail, as in an IMMEDIATE left, 6 inches past the sign that points left. This turn is very easy to miss and if you go down to the beach you've gone too far.
Travel along the path following blazes to Stormhaven, it should be under two hours. You will have a few areas where the trail follows along the edge of the cliff hundreds of feet above the water. There is a clearing, sign board and stairs down to the beach which should alert you to your arrival at Stormhaven.
There are four tent platforms below the escarpment along the beach (these are obviously the best ones) and more up top on the south side of the trail. The tent platforms guarantee a dry tent floor but you'll need a sleeping pad to make your sleep bearable. The tent platforms have hooks where you can tie your tent down, which may be necessary as the wind coming in off the lake can be strong although the trees do offer quite a bit of protection. There are bear-hangs available for food overnight and a composting toilet near the stairs.
To the east is a big cliff with a cave, you can walk all the way to it along the shoreline if the waves are small. There are also a couple other caves down there hidden in the trees which are huge and have an amazing view across the bay.
If the waves are big it's amazing seeing them crash against the limestone slabs in the middle of the beach and to hear them rearrange the cobble beach, when it is calm the lake can look like glass. Sun hitting the water over the white limestone bottom makes it look tropical (but doesn't make it feel like it until late August if you're lucky).
You can hike NW along the shore to the next beach, in the direction of The Grotto if you're nimble, don't have much stuff and the waves are small.
Stay up late and check out the stars, the dark skies of the northern peninsula are fantastic, if you're really keen wake up early for a sunrise across the bay!
*no open fires are allowed and the area is closely monitored so please don't try. Plus, most of the trees along the escarpment are VERY old despite being quite small due to the harsh living conditions.
- hiking backpack to hang food in overnight
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad
- water filtration system
- pots and pans
- stove (no open flame allowed)
- rope for clothes line (and other stuff)
- mask and snorkel
- solid hiking shoes, the trail isn't too technical so big boots aren't required
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