Wiarton to Tobermory: A Journey Up the Bruce Peninsula

The Wiarton to Tobermory leg of the journey up the Bruce Peninsula begins when you climb the hill northbound out of Wiarton. At the top of the hill at the north end of Wiarton a westbound road joins the highway at a T-intersection. A left turn on to this road, will take you to Oliphant and Sauble Beach, two of Lake Huron’s great resort areas.

A short distance further up the highway, on the right-hand side of the road you will note the entrance to Spirit Rock Conservation area. This is a great place to take time out from your journey. Here you can simply rest or stretch your legs with a little nature hike.

A few minutes north of Wiarton, turn right on Bruce County Road #9

As the road descends into the village of Colpoys, once again you will be struck by the awesome view of the shining blue water of Colpoys Bay.

Following Bruce County Road #9 on your way from Wiarton to Tobermory, the route turns northward away from the panorama of Colpoys Bay, but there are more stunning water views awaiting you!

Now the scenery varies from farmland, to dense forests, to meadows with large rocky outcroppings

Cape Croker

Along the way the road splits. Following the right fork will take you to First Nation’s community of Cape Croker. This is an interesting place to visit. In the summer one of great weekend events is the annual Pow Wow celebrating Indigenous culture. The food and entertainment will keep you coming back year after year. 

Wiarton to Tobermory: History on Bruce County Road #9

But if you remain on Bruce County Road #9, soon, a road sign announces the community of Adair. This was one of the first communities to be surveyed on the Bruce Peninsula. But, what happened when the lots went on the auction block will surprise you 

In 1880, the provincial government held an auction to sell the plots of land in around the town site that would be known as Adair. Ironically, in a time when settlement lands were at a premium, no one purchased a single plot of land! Seven years later, in 1887, only 191 acres had been cleared, so the government ordered the town site to be resurveyed into agricultural plots.

Hope Bay and Barrow Bay

A few minutes later, a sign points right to Hope Bay.

Note: Make sure that you watch for the many unique shops and other enterprises that dot the landscape in the many communities of the Bruce Peninsula. 

Descending into Hope Bay, one is struck by the amphitheatre affect created by high cliffs that loom along the shoreline. 

Almost immediately, you are at the water’s edge. Once again, the dazzling blue of Georgian Bay takes your mind away from any stresses of the moment.

Returning to Bruce County Road #9, turn right (north) to continue your journey up the Bruce Peninsula from Wiarton to Tobermory. 

The right turn will take you to Hopeness and Jacksons Cove. Once again, the stunning waters of Georgian Bay and the cliffs of the shoreline are breathtaking. 

Further up Bruce County Road 9 a right turn will take you to Greig’s Caves or further along the road to a secluded part of the Georgian Bay shoreline known as Rush Cove.  Here, we often stop for a picnic on the rocky shoreline. There are many different species of wild birds that frequent this location.

Shortly, you cross a small stream, known as Judge’s Creek. Turn right, on McKeague Road and you will be surprised by what you find. That quiet stream becomes a waterfall and nestled around it along the Georgian Bay shoreline is the community of Barrow Bay. (Note there are two roads before McKeague Road, which will also take you to the shore of Georgian Bay.)

Lion's Head

A short distance after leaving Barrow Bay, you will arrive at Point Hangcliff. 

“Point Hangcliff?” You ask.

“It’s not on the map.

Yes, it is.  But it is now known as Lion’s Head.

Make your way into town and turn right towards the water. Look along the southern shoreline. The steep cliffs hold the answer to why the community is called Lion’s Head.

This picturesque community has numerous eateries, shops and galleries to provide a break from driving. A picnic or just a few relaxing moments along the dock will provide a breathtaking natural vista or a look inward to protected docking facility will afford a glimpse of a wide range of vessels to perk your interest and your imagination

Returning to the main road and turning north to continue making your way from Wiarton to Tobermory, a short distance from town you will find an interesting cairn. This marker announces that you are on the 45th parallel. It is at this point that you are exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. (This is a significant marker for children who are interested in taking a trip to visit Santa Claus!) 

Shortly, you will come to an intersection. Turn right and you will soon find yourself in Dyers Bay. Turn left, and once again you will be on Highway #6. At the highway a right turn will take you to Tobermory. 

It may not be the fastest route to get from Wiarton to Tobermory, but is certainly scenic!

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.

Barrow Bay Ontario a Picturesque Georgian Bay Community owes its origin to the once-thriving Bruce Peninsula lumbering industry. Today it is a quiet summer get-away!

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.

Aboriginal History: Bruce Peninsula has a long indigenous heritage not just for the native nation living there today, but for other native groups as well.

Aboriginal History: the 1836 Treaty made promises to the native peoples of the Bruce Peninsula which did not last long before everything changed again.

Aboriginal land history continues the story of aboriginal land issues on the Bruce Peninsula. How it happened is a point for discussion by everyone.

Settler Impact on Bruce Peninsula Natives was not only from the imposition of treaties, but also from British military plans.

"Half Mile-Strip" Treaty made it possible for a relatively smooth overland connection to be built between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

Catherine Sutton: aka Nahneebahweequay was a hero, fighting for her Indigenous rights and those of her family.

Allenford United Church history details not only some important information about that community's church, but also about one of the founders of this Ontario community.

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!

Dyer's Bay Ontario: Began as a Lumbering Settlement and today it is a wonderful vacation retreat.

Elsinore Ontario is the southern-most point on the Bruce Peninsula, located about half-way between Owen Sound and the Lake Huron shoreline.

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!

A Pioneer Community: Driftwood Crossing, at the southern-most part of the Saugeen/Bruce Peninsula was at the midpoint between the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron coasts.

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.

Sauble Beach Ontario has seen it all. A fishing outport; a sawmilling centre; and an internationally acclaimed tourist resort area!

Sauble Beach  This popular beach is known as Canada's Daytona Beach.

Lion's Head  Sailors often sought refuge from the stormy Georgian Bay waters in its well-protected harbour.

Park Head  Grand Trunk Railway in Park Head Ontario was an important railway depot on the Bruce Peninsula when in 1894 the first train chugged through Park Head.

Stokes Bay  Welcomed fishermen as their first non-native visitors. Today, if you are a fisherman, you will also probably want to try your luck landing a walleye, lake trout or any of the other game fish that live in the coastal waters of Lake Huron.

Tobermory Ontario has a rich history and, is the northern- most destination point for travellers visiting the world famous Bruce Peninsula.

Tobermory Ontario Tourism is focused on shipwreck diving which has become so popular that tourism has become an important part of that community's economy. 

Tobermory pioneers experienced a life in a community that was anything but the tourism hive of activity that it is today.

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!

Wiarton Ontario  This historic community was a great place to live in the early settlement days and still is a busy tourist stop on your way up the Bruce Peninsula.

Wiarton  had ambitions to Succeed but while success brought them a railroad and other ventures did not have a sweet ending for many in the town.

Wiarton Ontario’s First Newspaper  A catalyst in supporting road construction and bringing the railway to Wiarton in hopes of making the town the economic leader of the area. But disappointment looms...

Wiarton news: 1890s, as seen in the pages of the local newspaper revealed problems typical of today's communities 

Wiarton Beet Industry was to be a great boost to the town's economy. Instead, it left most people with a bad taste in their mouths.

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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