With international travel still on hold perhaps this year is a good time to stay local and enjoy the wonderful things our home province has to offer. And one of the questions you might ask yourself is "what are the best places to see fall colors in Ontario?". So from my own travel experience, here are my favourite spots to see fall colours in Ontario.
Best known for summer canoe and camping adventures, Algonquin Provincial Park is perhaps also the best spot to do some serious leaf-peeping. Drive Highway 60 through the park from there there are plenty of hikes, ranging from the short and easy Lookout Trail and Hardwood Lookout Trail to two of my favourites, the Track and Tower Trail and the Mizzy Lake Trail. Ask us about a log cabin rental or lodge stays, or, if you are hardy camper, take a late-season canoe trip.
One of my favourite fall colour hikes is on the Bruce Trail from the Hockley Valley, north up the hill. From the top you get a marvelous view of the valley and when you drop down on the north side, you feel like you have walked into a Kodachrome forest. Download trail map #18 here. And if you feel energetic, or want to make this a car shuttle hike, continue on to Mono Centre where you will find one of the best pubs in Canada. (Ask me for details).
Further north consider walks around Collingwood's Blue Mountain. From nearly anywhere along the top of the escarpment you'll get great views of the Georgian Bay coastline. And Blue Mountain of course has plenty of accommodation options, should you wish to make this a weekend.
For those of you with cottages in Haliburton, I recently discovered some great hiking trails near Carnarvon, ranging in length from just under one kilometre to six kms. You can find the trail maps here.
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park
I have a great memory of one of my very first falls in Canada - a walk through Forks of the Credit Provincial Park where the yellow of goldenrod contrasted with the bright red of sumach. There are lot of trails you can walk here and you'll find the trail map here.
Just north of Burlington, Crawford Lake and Rattlesnake Point offer fantastic hiking. The trails along the Nassagaweya Canyon have some great views and the forests are splendid in fall. Find more on the hikes here.
Niagara's Wine Country
A favourite day trip from Toronto or Hamilton for many is a trip to Niagara Wine Country. The Niagara Parkway has been dubbed by people far more famous than me as "the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world", and the section between Queenston Heights and Niagara on the Lake often has wonderful colours.
Prince Edward County
Perhaps not the first place one would go for fall colours, the drive around the peninsula from Picton past Lake on the Mountain and around to Waupoos and Milford has some very pretty spots indeed. I wrote about the County in an earlier post.'
The cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment rising out of Georgian Bay along the Bruce Peninsula offer some fantastic fall colours and hiking opportunities. Especially on a sunny day the colours will stand out against the azure waters of the bay. The hike out to Gun Point from Lions Head is a great hike but can be challenging at times - ideally you allow for a full day to complete the circuit. Download map #38 here.
Fall colour report
Use Ontario Parks fall colour report as a guideline to where you can find the best colours on any given day.
What are you favourites?
Perhaps you know of a great hike near you you would like to share? I would love it if you dropped me a line!