Travel the Bruce Peninsula: Owen Sound to Wiarton

Travel the Bruce Peninsula from Owen Sound to Wiarton provides you with a leisurely, scenic trip. The panorama that awaits you on this leg of the journey is at times breathtaking. The rest of the time it is merely awesome.

Leaving Owen Sound

As you drive from Owen Sound, take your time to stop at various vantage points to enjoy the view of Georgian Bay's sparkling water. Before entering the village of Balmy Beach, you will see Legacy Ridge Golf Club, which was originally the Owen Sound Golf & Country Club on your left.

Travel the Bruce Peninsula: the Scenic Route

After 15 minutes of driving, with the panorama of Georgian Bay looming out your passenger-side windows, you will reach the village of Kemble.

Here, ignore the signs directing you towards Wiarton. Instead, at the four-way stop sign (The only stop sign in the village) drive straight ahead. You are now headed to Kemble “Mountain”. But don't worry, you are still on a path to travel the Bruce Peninsula.

As you climb the “mountain”, go slowly, because the view to the right, as well as out of your rear window is awesome!

Once you reach the top, continue on to the first intersection and turn left on Concession Road #24.

Turn right at the next side road, which is called the Big Bay Side Road.

Count to ten. Stop the car.

The view will definitely take your breath away! 

Before you, the deep blue of Georgian Bay is dazzling. In one direction lies the entrance to Owen Sound. Straight ahead, there is nothing but deep blue water. To left lies the entrance to Colpoys Bay, protected from the wind and heavy Georgian Bay surf by its three sentinels, Griffith, Hay and White Cloud Islands. Beyond the entrance to Colpoys Bay, the cliffs of the Bruce Peninsula shoreline loom majestically.

Once you have caught your breath, proceed down the “mountain” to the village of Big Bay. If you go straight ahead at the stop sign you will enter a short road that in 30 seconds (or less) brings you to the shoreline of Georgian Bay. The view is awesome!

You can take a stroll on the government dock as the waves crash against the pilings. In the 1870s and 1880s this dock was an important fueling stop for the many coastal steamers that plied the waters along the Georgian Bay shoreline between Owen Sound and Tobermory. For many years maritime traffic was the only reliable transportation route on the Bruce Peninsula.

The beach to the right of the dock is very rocky. But, if you don’t mind the hard walking, or you have swimming shoes, take time for an invigorating swim in the fresh Georgian Bay water.

Returning to the main road after your visit to the dock, turn right (north) at the stop sign and make your way towards Wiarton as you continue to travel the Bruce Peninsula. How long it takes you to reach Wiarton depends on how many times you stop to take in the incredible scenery of the cliffs and water of Colpoys Bay.

Along the way there are some great lookout spots with picnic facilities. You will never eat your lunch with a better view!

If you are a golfer, make sure that you check out the Wiarton golf course. It is located on the left side of the road. You will reach the golf course about ten minutes after you leave Big Bay. (The golf course is interesting, but the view is incredible!)

After passing through the hamlet of Oxenden, you will pass the entrance to the Wiarton airport, which is the major government airport facility in the region.

Wiarton: Points of Interest

When you arrive in Wiarton, take time to turn right at almost any intersection before you come to the main highway and you will find yourself at the great municipal park, which offers a stunning view of Colpoys Bay.

Ironically, although the area around the present-day community had for centuries been a staging area for an important portage route (now known as the Rankin Portage route) for native and non-native travelers, Wiarton was the last community to be settled on Colpoys Bay.

In Wiarton, turn right (north) on Highway #6, which if you don't stop in town will will continue your route to travel the Bruce Peninsula taking you directly to Tobermory, and the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.

The downtown features some great little shops and unique places to grab a cup of coffee or a light lunch.

A right turn at any intersection on Highway 6 in downtown will take you to the town’s waterfront. The main attraction is a large park that features the community’s most famous citizen, "Wiarton Willie." There is a restaurant, a swimming pool and lots of space with playground equipment to allow the younger travelers to burn off some pent-up energy.

The Wiarton Marina and dock offer the opportunity to see a wide variety of sailing vessels.

The local tourist association has a visitor centre located in the old train station just a short distance from the shoreline of Colpoys Bay. 

Don’t forget, that Wiarton is also a great place to visit in the winter. This is especially true around the weekend of February 2 (Groundhog Day) when the whole world turns to Wiarton and its most famous citizen "Wiarton Willie," to find out how long winter will maintain its icy grip.


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The Great Lakes Raconteur

It is time to move on to the next stage of your trip and travel the Bruce Peninsula, Hold your Breath! There are more incredible views on the horizon!

Discover More About the Bruce Peninsula

Getting to the Bruce Peninsula is a relatively easy driving trip. Here are driving directions from three regions to the peninsula.

Bruce Peninsula Lumber History details the impact of the forest products industry on the development of the region.

Bruce Peninsula Lumbering provided the stimulus to develop and grow the pioneer economy on the newly settled Bruce Peninsula. 

Bruce Peninsula Municipal Politics: No matter what the venue, or the issue, seldom is a popular decision made that suits everyone. 

Bruce Peninsula Travel Routes were often a matter of debate because in the early years, land travel was virtually unattainable for settlers and lumbermen alike.

Bruce Peninsula winters could be difficult, especially in pioneer times when transportation connections were limited to only a few months each year.

Colpoys Bay Vista - Awesome! A short drive from either Wiarton or Owen Sound is one of the most magnificent views to be found in the province of Ontario!

Forest Products on the Bruce Peninsula contributed greatly to the growth and development of that region of the province of Ontario.

Gillies Lake: aka Ghost Lake has a mysterious past as its original name, Ghost Lake, implies.

Great Grey Owls on the Bruce Peninsula was a surprise discovery for ornithologists and others. Sadly, the story of their visit had an unfortunate conclusion.

Pioneer Campers: Hope Bay mostly considered the peninsula untamed wilderness and some of the locals were not about to disappoint them!

Pioneer Missionary James Atkey arrived on Colpoys Bay to minister to the native community near Oxenden until a treaty uprooted his parishioners.

Pioneer tourists first visited the Bruce Peninsula in the 1800s and the region continues as a great recreational and tourism destination today!

Pioneer Vacations on the Bruce Peninsula got an eerie start in the Hope Bay region of the peninsula.

Lighthouses  Lighthouses were vital to Georgian Bay Sailing.

A Flowerpot Island cruise is not only entertaining, but it is also very educational as you will see things that you have never viewed before!

Travel the Bruce: Owen Sound to Wiarton  A wonderful journey from Owen Sound to Wiarton.

Travel the Bruce: Wiarton to Tobermory  Relaxing and historic journey.

Bruce Peninsula  The Bruce Peninsula is a compelling place, with a rich history, to visit. Once you have traveled there, we guarantee that you will return, again and again!

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