Leaf peepers unite! ‘Tis the season to enjoy the splendours of autumn.
If you’re looking to dodge the crowds, these parks sure pack a punch when it comes to fall colours:
Restoule Provincial Park
Park staff often sing the praises of Restoule. This lesser-known park near North Bay has oak, maple, and birch forests that blaze with colour every fall. Dog owners and their canine friends love the pet friendly beach and play area.
Hikers favour the 7 kilometre Fire Tower Trail, which leads to a historic fire tower. Mountain bikers can tackle over 8 km of mixed single and double track trails. The Angel’s Point Trail (2.8 km) provides two mountain biking loops through vibrant hardwood forests and the Ranger’s Point Trail (860 m) is perfect for a casual ride.
Mikisew Provincial Park
Mikisew Provincial Park lies on the western shores of scenic Eagle Lake, and is the perfect park for your fall camping trip.
The park’s deciduous forest turns electric in late September and early October. Visitors can hike one of the park’s trails to see a beaver wetland and some of the area’s Canadian Shield bedrock. Or take in a game of disc golf at the park’s 18-hole course!
Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park
Located on the historic Mattawa River fur trade route in the scenic Mattawa Valley, Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park has outstanding fall colours and lots to keep you busy.
The park boasts an excellent system of hiking trails that will take you through diverse views. Take in the sights of the Mattawa River, wander through tall majestic Red Pine forests, or venture out onto a peninsula in the middle of Moore Lake.
Paddlers of all skill levels can also explore the park by canoe at one of several access points.
Halfway Lake Provincial Park
Located just one hour from Sudbury, Halfway Lake Provincial Park is an excellent family camping park with great opportunities to take in fall colours.
The park’s extensive trail system through the rugged southern edge of the Boreal Forest has something for everyone. Choose from trails offering ample opportunities to experience scenic vistas over lakes, glacial ridges, wetlands, and more.
Don’t miss the park’s two canoe routes!
Lake Superior Provincial Park
One of Ontario’s great fall drives is between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa. The fall colours are stunning and nowhere more so than Lake Superior Provincial Park.
The park is the transition point between a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest of sugar maple, red maple and yellow birch, and boreal forest which is dominated by evergreens. That’s what makes this park so special.
The Group of Seven painters recognized its beauty early. Their first exhibition in 1920 was largely inspired by what is today protected park landscape. There are 10 hiking trails to choose from this year. The longest is the 65 km Coastal Trail which you can break up into sections and hike as day trips. Fall salmon fishing in this park is great too!
Don’t forget to get your daily vehicle permit in advance!
Charleston Lake Provincial Park
If you’re in the Ottawa or Kingston areas, try Charleston Lake Provincial Park, near Brockville. Eastern Ontario’s highest point of land is in this park and you can hike to it for a spectacular fall view.
Paddlers can explore beautiful fall colours from the lake’s 75 km of shoreline and numerous bays and coves. Portions of Running’s Bay and Slim Bay are designated motorboat-free, so visitors can enjoy the peacefulness of the lake. A limited number of canoe and kayak rentals are available.
If you love to stargaze, many visitors head to a field in the park that provides great night sky viewing opportunities. If you prefer a roof over your head, four yurts are available for rent.
Ferris Provincial Park
Ferris Provincial Park, near Campbellford, is an easy two-hour trip from Toronto. Kids love to bike the Trans Canada Trail which runs through the park. Ranney Ferris Suspension Bridge is a park highlight and one of many fall colour views.
Ferris’s 3.2 km River Gorge Trail passes the beautiful Ranney Gorge before heading downriver, past an old quarry and a historic “sheep’s wash” turned picnic area.
Lake St. Peter Provincial Park
Scenic Lake St. Peter Provincial Park is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful fall camping trip.
If you can tear yourself away from the stunning lake views, you may enjoy the park’s excellent fishing opportunities or three hiking trails. The 2.5 km Lookout Trail crosses rugged terrain, passes close to a kettle lake, and leads to a spectacular lookout over the lake.
Awenda Provincial Park
Explore over 2,900 ha of forested land along the picturesque shores of Georgian Bay. The park’s trails, lakes, shorelines, fens, bogs, and campgrounds offer a mix of habitat for a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities.
Missed the fall colours? Check out the Bluff Trail. Views of Georgian Bay from this section of trail are especially spectacular during the leaf-free season.
Earl Rowe Provincial Park
Located just under 100 km out of Toronto, you’ll find lots to explore at Earl Rowe Provincial Park.
You can watch spawning salmon at the fish ladder (a space for fish to leap over obstacles) or explore one of the many trails in the park. Discover what surrounds you on the Resource Trail (1.5 km) or hike the Lookout Trail (4 km) to the platform and check out the park and surrounding area.
Can’t pick one? Conquer the Rainbow Run (11 km) which includes all the trails in the park. Fletcher’s Mill Pond is paved for accessibility and is an easy walk around Earl Rowe Lake. No matter what your comfort level, Earl Rowe has a trail for you!