Close up of red leaf on boardwalk

5 reasons to visit Rondeau this fall

You don’t need to leave southern Ontario to have a great fall experience. Rondeau Provincial Park — an oasis of nature nestled in between Windsor and London — has given visitors just that for over 125 years.

Ontario’s second oldest provincial park has it all: spectacular colours, vibrant wildlife, and activities for the whole family.

Here are five reasons why Rondeau Provincial Park is a must-see spot this fall:

1. Events all season long

Join park staff on October 12 for a Halloween celebration, complete with costume contest, pumpkin carving contest, games, and much more!

Staff from Rondeau pose for the camera wearing costumes from the Super Mario videogame
Rondeau staff in their themed Halloween costumes, 2016

The annual Chili Cookoff is another popular event, held this year on October 19. Contestants will show off their award-winning chili recipes, with prizes to be won.

Discovery Programs, including hikes, evening programs, and children’s programs, are also held until late fall. Keep an eye on the events page for more details.

2. Migrations of many sorts

Want world-class birdwatching? Rondeau’s fall season is for you.

The Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways overlap the park, making it a popular stop-over for birds migrating south. Over 360 species of birds have been identified in the Rondeau area.

A Rose Breasted Grosbeak: a small red and black bird sitting on a treebranch
A Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which flies south in September or October

But birds aren’t the only creatures leaving for the winter. Rondeau hosts a Monarch Butterfly Migration Festival every September to celebrate their journey as well.

3. Fall colours everywhere

There’s hardly a better spot in southern Ontario to see the colours of fall than on Rondeau’s hiking trails.

The Spice Bush Trail is particularly beautiful. It winds through a southern hardwood forest of old-growth Tulip Tree, American Beech, and maple. You can explore the transition between Carolinian forest and marsh – one of the best spots in the park for bird-watching.

View of a fall tree looking upwards

Fall colours come from more than just the trees; they can also be seen on the forest floor among the wildflowers. The yellow bloom of the Goldenrod produces seeds eaten by Rondeau’s migrating birds. The Azure and Fringe Blue Asters add shades of blue to a predominantly red and orange forest, while the New England Aster adds purple.

purple aster

Even Poison Ivy comes alive with yellow and red flowers, and bright white berries that provide food for wintering animals (but don’t touch!).

4. The climate

Did you know that Rondeau is at the same latitude as part of northern California? This far south in Ontario, it sometimes stays warm until late October. Northern Ontarians will want to visit to embrace the last fleeting moments of summer before a long winter ahead.

Sunrise at Rondeau

The location also means that the sun rises later in the day. Fall visitors can sleep in and still enjoy watching a beautiful sunrise over the calm Lake Erie waters.

5. An exploration of Indigenous culture at the Visitor Centre

All visitors should stop in and see the exploration of Indigenous culture at the Visitor Centre. Over the past year and a half, Rondeau has teamed up with Aamjiwnaang First Nations and Eelunaapèewii Lahkèewiit to incorporate Indigenous art, nature, and teachings into the centre. This includes a wigwam and work by Aamjiwnaang artist John William.

Five people stand in front of a painting of a bear
John William’s painting in the Rondeau Visitor Centre

There’s no better time to visit than when the summer crowds have disappeared. The Visitor Centre is open:

  • September: Thursday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • October: Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Start planning your trip

The beauty of southern Ontario awaits your arrival. Overnight camping and day-use are available until October 27, so there’s still plenty of time to book your fall visit.

Interested in planning ahead for your next day trip? Our visitors will now be able to obtain a daily vehicle permit in advance.

Advance daily vehicle permits are available at 7:00 a.m., five days in advance of your arrival date. Reservations can be made online (here’s a walkthrough of how to book, including how to use your seasonal permit).

See you soon!

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