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Cyprus Lake Trail

Posted: June 5, 2007

Overlooking the cliffsArticle and photographs by Allsion Kennedy

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you have probably visited legendary Cyprus Lake. With its seemingly unreal aquamarine waters, it is perhaps one of Bruce Peninsula's most popular summer destinations. Unknown to many, Bruce Peninsula National Park is also an ideal winter destination.

The park's extensive trail system translates into a great cross country skiing or snowshoeing opportunity. Well marked and well maintained, it is a relatively short trip to the shoreline.

Cyprus Lake Trail, Horse Lake Trail, Georgian Bay Trail and the Mar Lake Trail are all suitable for cross-country skiing.

The easiest of the four trails is the Cyprus Lake Trail. This five-kilometre path follows the shore of Cyprus Lake and is relatively flat. There are a few hills and tight turns, but overall this trail is suitable for beginner skiers.

By following the Cyprus Lake Trail north for about 3 km and taking the appropriate turnoff, you can access the other three trails. Each is about a kilometre long and leads to the shore of Georgian Bay. When you arrive at the shoreline, don't expect to ski any further. The extensive rock formations and cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment are one of the most beautiful natural features in the park. However, that beauty isn't welcoming terrain for skis. Plan to pack your skis or snowshoes and walk to the shoreline. It will be well worth it.

Expect a stunning view as you make your way to the water's edge. Depending on the weather, there can be amazing ice formations along the cliffs. If things are not totally frozen, you will enjoy the same crystal clear turquoise water that greets summer visitors.

If you shed your skis and head for the rocks, be sure to use extra caution. The terrain can be very slippery.

During this winter's variable conditions, we found it ideal to travel via snowshoe. This way, when the snow becomes scarce, the shoes are easily strapped to a pack and the excursion changes to a hike. It is a good idea to bring collapsible poles with your snowshoes; they can also be easily packed. Alternately, they can be used on the rocky terrain that leads to the shore.

When snow pack allows, the cross-country skiing is great. There are some hilly and rocky sections, but for the most part the terrain is beginner to intermediate level. There is no grooming or track setting at Cyprus, so plan on breaking trail if there has been a fresh snowfall.

While Cyprus makes a great day trip, there are campsites available during the winter months. Sites cost $8 a night from October until April. Parking is available near the gatehouse and is $6 a day. The road that leads into the park is plowed up until the gatehouse. Expect to park here and ski or snowshoe to the trailhead. This will add an extra 30 minutes to an hour to your trip.

For more information about visiting Bruce Peninsula National Park, contact the park
office at 519-596-2233. Or go to Bruce Peninsula National Park Recreation

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