Great places to enjoy Fall Colours in Ontario
By Natalie & Phil Thursday, October 15, 2015
Those living in the south may get the benefit of warm weather all year long, but ‘we the north’ get seasons, and all that comes with them. One of the best parts of the upcoming season is the chance to enjoy gorgeous fall colours, throughout the province. The combination of cool nights and warm days provide ideal conditions for leaves to change to the fiery red, orange and yellow we admire. When you walk through one of Ontario’s parks or gardens, you can get a gorgeous glimpse of the seasonal colours pretty much anywhere. However, if you are really serious about looking for the best of fall in Ontario, here are a few places that make “best of” lists.
Algonquin Park is on everyone’s list when the topic is ‘beauty in nature’. With its outstanding rivers, lakes and forests, it is best enjoyed on foot or by canoe. In terms of fall colours, the Park is filled with Sugar and Red Maples, which are usually at their height of brilliant red colour from mid-September to mid-October. By October, you can also see the poplar and birch trees, which turn a yellow-orange colour. Finally, the Tamarack (Algonquin Park’s only cone-bearing tree that changes colour and drops all its needles in preparation for winter) turns yellow and then winter is not far behind!
One of the best viewing places in Ontario is the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest & longest marked footpath. Running along the Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory, it spans more than 890 km of main Trail and offers access to the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO world biosphere reserve. Take a waterfall tour in the Hamilton Halton Brant area and watch the yellow and red leaves floating in the water. Or, in the Collingwood/Blue Mountain area, enjoy apple picking at one of the many orchards in the region. There are also activities and festivals galore at the Blue Mountain Village, so make it a weekend and enjoy. There is something particularly special about the fall colours on the mountains next to the water of Georgian Bay.
The Niagara Parkway runs on the Canadian side of the Niagara River from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The section north of Table Rock in Niagara Falls is designated as an Ontario Scenic Highway (who knew?!). Between the majestic Falls themselves and the Niagara wine region, the area is known for its lush beauty. Stroll through the Niagara Parks to see beautiful fall colours or take a fall colour drive on the Parkway, and after stopping to view the Falls, head toward Niagara-on-the-Lake to enjoy some of its incredible restaurants. Don’t forget to book a designated driver or car service so you can sample their world famous wines too.
Approximately 3/4 of the trees in Muskoka change colour and 50% lose their leaves, so if you are looking for a place to go that will knock your socks off, head to Muskoka! See the colours from the water on a scenic boat cruise, in a car on a driving tour or check out one of the hiking trails that criss cross the region, along the Canadian Shield rock. With antique stores, quaint boutiques, charming towns, wineries, farms and the Muskoka Lakes and Lucy Maud Montgomery Museums, there is plenty to do. Make a weekend of it and stay at one of the gorgeous resorts, inns and hotels that dot the area, many right on the waters of the big three Muskoka lakes (Rosseau, Joe and Muskoka).
While the fall colours in many regions are best viewed from a car, Ottawa’s fall colours are easily enjoyed from a bike or by foot. The beautiful paths that run through and around the city offer wonderful tree-lined promenades to enjoy the colours. You can also enjoy the colours from the water by taking a boat cruise on the Rideau Canal, which runs through the centre of downtown near the Parliament buildings. Late September is usually the best time to watch the leaves change in the Ottawa Region.
The 1000 Islands region is gorgeous year round, but autumn is a time when it really shines as each island becomes a dot of red, orange and gold on the blue water. Here is a place where fall colours are best viewed from the water. Take a boat cruise from Kingston, Rockport or Gananoque and marvel at the brilliant colours. Or, if you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, the 1000 Islands Skydeck Tower lets you view a wonderful panorama from 400 feet above the St. Lawrence River.
Bring a camera or a paintbrush or just take in the sights as you travel around Ontario on your fall colour tour. There has to be at least one positive thing to look forward to as summer draws to a close, and this is definitely a part of fall that we all appreciate!.