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DescriptionAlong both sides of the Bruce Peninsula, the park encompasses 155 square kilometres (60 sq. mi.). Bruce Peninsula National Park preserves one of the last remaining wild areas in southwestern Ontario; it is the core of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. The backbone of the park is a portion of the Niagara Escarpment, a 725-kilometre (451-mi.) ridge that extends from Queenston Heights on the Niagara River to Tobermory.
The waters of Georgian Bay have carved the escarpment into a spectacular series of overhanging cliffs and caves that form the park's eastern border. At the western edge of the peninsula the park assumes a different face as the terrain slides gently into Lake Huron in a series of marshlands, shallow inlets and sand dunes.
Between the rocky headlands of Georgian Bay and the gentler strand along Lake Huron are a diversity of habitats—cedar swamps, woodlands and rocky barrens. It is this diversity that nurtures the peninsula's rare abundance of orchids, one of the finest displays in eastern North America. About 40 species are found, along with wildflowers and ferns.
Traversing the park is the Bruce Trail, which weaves its way through cedar and birch forest as it skirts the cliffs along Georgian Bay. Trails from the Cyprus Lake area, that begin near the park's major campground, intersect with the Bruce Trail at several places.
Some of the geological highlights along these trails include bioherms, or ancient coral reefs, and the dramatic, sculpted features of Indian Head Cove and Natural Arch along the bay. Close viewing might uncover such orchid varieties as rattlesnake plantain and ladies' tresses, or the fossilized remains of corals, shellfish and other sea creatures.
Summer recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking; winter activities are snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The park is open all year. The visitor center is open daily 8-8, July-Labour Day; 9-5, May-June and day after Labour Day-Oct. 31. A camping office is open daily 8 a.m.-11 p.m., July 1-Labour Day; 9-5 (also 5-9), late Apr.-June 30; 9-5 (also Fri. 5-8 and Sat. 5-7), day after Labour Day-second Mon. in Oct. Admission is free in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. Otherwise $10.35 per private vehicle. For more information write the Superintendent's Office, Bruce Peninsula National Park, P.O. Box 189, Tobermory, ON, Canada N0H 2R0; phone (519) 596-2233 for information, or (877) 737-3783 for camping and yurt reservations (May through October).