Let’s be honest—most of us don’t go on nature walks or hikes just for the exercise—we’re in it for the visual rewards. In our opinion, the best of these outings have a satisfying payoff by way of a spectacular lookout point along the way. Ontario might not have the views that some of the western provinces have, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any great vantage points. Here are some of the best views in Ontario.
The Crack at Killarney Provincial Park
The landscape here inspired artists like the Group of Seven, and it’s no wonder, since a panoramic view of lakes, hills, and the Georgian Bay coastline await after a moderately challenging climb up a deep crevasse that gives the lookout its name. Find the trail just off Highway 637 on an old logging road seven kilometres northeast of Killarney Provincial Park’s main gate (it eventually merges with a section of the La Cloche Silhouette Trail).
Spy Rock Lookout at Foley Mountain Conservation Area
Located 50 kilometres south of Perth, Foley Mountain Conservation Area in the Rideau Valley is famous for its Spy Rock Lookout atop a granite ridge, which offers scenic views of the Upper Rideau as well as the village of Westport.
Irish Mountain Lookout near Meaford
Another excellent view of Georgian Bay and the apple orchard-filled countryside nearby can be found atop Irish Mountain. It can be reached by turning off Highway 26 and heading north on County Road 112 just west of Meaford.
Osler Bluff Lookout
The highest point on the 890 kilometre-long Bruce Trail, the Osler Bluff Lookout is 540 metres above sea level and offers a lovely vista of the valley below this stretch of the Niagara Escarpment, as well as the blue waters of Georgian Bay on the horizon. To get here, take the Osler Side Trail from 2nd Line Road by Collingwood and follow the blue-blazed trail in the Pretty River Valley Provincial Nature Reserve.
Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon
All trails that lead to the badlands have now been closed off due to an overwhelming number of people walking onto them, but you can still took a look at these fascinating red rolling hills of rock by heading towards the viewing area on the south side of Olde Baseline Road between Creditview and Chinguacousy Roads, west of Highway 10 in Caledon.
The five lookouts at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
There is not only one, but five lookouts to enjoy from Rattlesnake Point’s 12 kilometres of hiking trails, and it’s difficult to choose a favourite from Buffalo Crag, Nassagaweya, Nelson, Pinnacle, and Trafalgar Lookouts—all perched along the edge of the towering cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment in Milton.
Manitoulin High Point on the Cup and Saucer Trail at Manitoulin Island
A breathtaking view is guaranteed from the highest point on Manitoulin Island near Tobermory, at the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The most direct—and scenic—route to reach the point is to follow the white (as opposed to the blue) trail of the Cup and Saucer, and then take the side trail that branches to the right at the East Lookout.
Brock Harris Lookout at Mount Nemo in Burlington
Take in the view of the surrounding countryside for more than 50 kilometres from the Brock Harris Lookout atop Mount Nemo, the best place to enjoy the wonders of the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington. From here, you can see Rattlesnake Point across the valley, and maybe even turkey vultures soaring above in the summer. On a clear day, you may even be able to spot the CN Tower!
Hilton Falls in Milton
Explore over 30 kilometres of trails at the Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton and be sure to soak up the beauty of its main attraction—the eponymous 10-metre waterfall cascading over the Niagara Escarpment—a perfect place for a picnic.