Monday, November 9, 2020

Lion's Head Trail: The perfect family hike in Ontario

Taking a break on top of Lion's Head

COVID-19 has created a lot of extra stress on families.  It is important to spend time as a family just having fun together and away from the mundane of everyday life.  A great way to spend time together as a family during the pandemic is to hike as a family.  It's a great way for both parents and children to put away their phones and to spend time outdoors while physically distancing from others.  

More people seem to be hiking during this pandemic than ever before, which is probably due to closures of so many activities.  And so the challenge has been to find the perfect hike, at the perfect time, and hope to have the perfect weather.  We have been avoiding the popular trails during the weekends and instead opting for 'hard to reach' trails during the weekend and then saving the more popular trails in the mornings during the week when the trails are typically not as busy.   

Although Lion's Head Loop Trail has been on our list for a day hike, we knew it was going to be busy so we went on a weekday when the weather report was gloomy, chilly with the potential for rain.  Our gamble paid off, as the weather kept others off the trail, the hike was unusually quiet, and we even had the sun come out during the hike!

The Lion's Head Trail is just north of Owen Sound and near Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.  The trail is a 15.3km loop, which is part of the Bruce Trail.  The trail provides many breathtaking views from the cliffs, interesting Potholes,  a rock beach, and a diverse array of plants and trees along the trail. 
View from the cliffs at Lion's Head

The trail starts out with a short trek to the Potholes, which were formed by the Glaciers with pebbles caught under the ice and in the layers of the water.  As the ice moved, it would create a whirlpool and the pebbles swirled around and created these amazing Potholes.  Many people frequent this part of the trail so if you go during the busy times, you may not have much time to enjoy this amazing sight.

Entrance to the Potholes at Lion's Head

From the inside of the Potholes at Lion's Head

On the way to the potholes and look out there were wild Forget-me-nots and Trilliums that lined the trail. It was beautiful.


Once you get past that area, you hike along the cliffs for at least 4km with areas that you can sit and enjoy the view of the lake.  Along the shore, the water is a beautiful turquoise colour.  

Views of the shoreline at Lion's Head

The cliffs in many areas are straight down and there are some cracks that you need to step over.  

Rock bridge on Lion's Head

The trail is very safe and we had no concerns.  But it is important that you stay on the trail and use common sense. 

Once you move away from the cliffs you make a bit of a decent and what seems like a quick turn around a corner(About the 6.5km point), you are on a beach covered in smooth stone from the lake.  It was a great place to have a break and enjoy some snacks.  

Enjoy a snack on the shore on Lion's Head Trail

This trail is well-marked and it is easy to follow.  In areas by the shore where there are fewer trees, there are these wonderful cairns to guide the way.

Cairn guiding the way

The trail then moves away from the lake and heads back into the forest,  lined with forget-me-nots and trilliums.

Trillium floor

The next section has some uphill but then levels off once on top of the cliffs.  

Back on the cliffs at Lion's Head

To finish the loop, we walked along a side trail towards the parking lot.  It was about 4.3 km from the reconnection point.  Part of this trail was obviously an old road which allowed us to walk side by side and chat.  It was great.  The sun was shining through the trees and on the flowers. 

Sun in the Trees


According to, Lion's Head loop is rated as the most popular day hike in Ontario and it makes perfect sense to us why it is the most popular.  

Lion's Head can be extremely busy and overcrowded due to its popularity.  Avoid doing this trail on weekends and plan to complete the trail in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.  

The sights are amazing, the trail is moderately difficult but not too demanding, and the trail is full of fun surprises.  It is a perfect trail for an extended day hike with the family.  It's a trail that is long enough to pack a lunch, but not too long that you have to worry about breakfast and dinner too!  If you are in Ontario, it is a "must hike trail".  

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