Now is the time to plan a fall trip to be awed by nature’s wonderful canvas.
If you’re an Ontario resident, you have lots of places to choose from. Some are just a weekend road trip away. Others may take a bit longer and can be seen by bike, canoe, train or old-fashioned hike, but one thing’s for sure – they’re all stunning.
To check if colours are at their peak at your intended destination, Ontario Parks offers an online service by which you can gauge if it’s the right time to make the trip. To get the most out of your autumn adventure, visit the Fall Colour Report to see peak viewing times and dominant colour at parks throughout the province.
While by no means exhaustive, here’s a list of seven spectacular places to truly appreciate the season’s kaleidoscope of colour:
- Get inspired in Algonquin– With over 1,500 lakes and a majestic countryside, one cannot go wrong by visiting this park to view fall colour. Algonquin Park is known for its Sugar and Red Maples which turn colour from mid-September to mid-October. There are numerous spots, such as the Lookout Trail, to take in fall’s tranquil beauty. Or, if you prefer, you can paddle on one of its serene lakes with the bonus of a chance to spot wildlife – such as a loon or a moose – as you paddle quietly through the water. Canoe rentals are available from various outfitters such as Algonquin Outfitter or The Portage Store. If you prefer to avoid crowds, explore what the park has to offer in the middle of the week.
- Be mesmerized by Muskoka– Muskoka’s Dorset Tower Lookout stands 142 metres above the Lake of Bays and provides 360-degree views of surrounding Muskoka and Halliburton counties. If staying close to the ground is more your style, there’s a 2.3-km hiking trail to explore the beauty of the surrounding forest. There are also cruises on the Muskoka Steamship lines in Gravenhurst, sunset cruises in Port Carling and Midland Tours in Port Severn just to name a few. You can also visit Georgian Bay Island National Park in Honey Harbour – Muskoka’s national park. There changing colour mix with the wind-swept pines that have made the area famous and attracted artists for centuries.
- See Niagara with new eyes– In Southern Ontario, head to the Niagara River Recreation Trail. It’s a 53-kilometre route that follows the waterway from Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie. Except for a couple of breaks in Queenston and Niagara Falls, this paved path is restricted to non-motorized vehicles. If driving is more your style, take the Niagara Parkway, which travels along the Niagara River from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Table Rock, Niagara Falls and continues as a rural riverside highway to Fort Erie. Sir Winston Churchill, after having been driven down the parkway, once called it “the prettiest Sunday drive in the World.”
- Become one with the Bruce - The Bruce Peninsula offers a wonderful contrast between colourful fall foliage and the incredibly blue waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. While you’re there, you can check out the shipwreck-strewn bays of Tobermory. See how you can explore the Bruce on a weekend road trip in the Bruce here.
- Experience fall from the treetops in Collingwood – You can get a different perspective on fall in the Blue Mountain area. From the suspension bridge at Scenic Caves, you can walk through a blazing forest canopy through a web of walkways three metres above the ground and there’s also a mountain bike lift at the resort, where there are numerous vantage points from which to take it all in. Feeling more adventurous? You can take a half-mile spin on Ontario’s longest twin zip line with the autumn colours flashing below.
- Take a ride in the Agawa Canon - If you're serious about fall foliage, the Agawa Canyon Tour should be on your bucket list. Its one-day 114-km train tour around Algoma that departs from Sault Ste. Marie that will make you feel like you’ve entered a Group of Seven painting. You’ll be surrounded by Northern Ontario’s rugged beauty and have some time to enjoy the park, which includes waterfalls and some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the province.
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