With fall set to arrive at 10:49 a.m. on September the 22nd this year, it’s time to start planning a great fall getaway. The beautiful colours and milder temperatures make it the perfect season for exploring the great outdoors in our beautiful province, so why not add one of these top autumn tours to your fall bucket list?
The Haliburton Highlands, nestled between the Kawarthas and Algonquin Park, can sometimes be overlooked by travellers, but the region’s dense forests and numerous lakes make it a wonderful destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially during the fall. Take a walk in the clouds with one of the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve’s Canopy Tours. On this tour, you’ll enjoy a view like no other as you trek through a brilliant sea of gold and red approximately 20 metres above the ground. Afraid of heights? A peaceful bike ride or hike through the Haliburton Sculpture Forest is another great way to experience this area. These trails will take you past a unique collection of outdoor sculptures created by local and international artists and displayed among the beautiful colours and cool, crisp air.
The Agawa Canyon Tour Train may be one of the most unique ways to enjoy fall’s beauty in Ontario’s wilderness region. The train begins its journey in Sault Ste. Marie then travels 114 km north, moving across an area of ancient forests, granite rock formations and pristine rivers and lakes. The train makes its final stop at the bottom of the Agawa Canyon, where passengers can take a ninety minute self-guided tour of what’s been dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the North.” The best time to experience the area’s magnificent fall colours is during the last two weeks of September and the first week of October. This unique experience books well in advance, so don’t wait to do so.
The Ottawa Valley
The unique topography of the Ottawa Valley makes it one of the finest destinations to see the change of seasons in our province. From self-guided driving tours of the Valley up to the numerous hikes available in Algonquin Park, the whole family can join in the fall fun. The best time to view this region’s fall foliage spans from mid-September to late October, depending on how far north you venture. If you’re going to explore the colours in this area, plan to head there during the Rural Ramble, a driving tour with tons of sites to visit based on themes such as Adventure and Exploration, Agriculture and Food, Arts and Culture, and more. This free, self-guided tour attracts thousands of visitors to the area each year.
This popular Ontario cottaging region is home to spectacular scenery and fun activities for both the young and young at heart. This season, why not head to the 34th Annual Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour. More than 20 local artists invite you to take a scenic drive through the dramatic landscape of brilliant autumn colours, which will allow you to see how this beautiful Canadian wilderness inspired their various works of art. If it’s that connection to nature you are longing for, another perfect way to explore this magnificent region is on horseback. The view from the saddle during the autumn season is truly awe-inspiring. Explorer’s Edge, the regional tourism organization for Muskoka, Parry Sound and the Almaguin Highlands, offers a number of one of a kind tours that include instruction for novice riders and bigger trail expeditions for experts.
The Niagara region’s microclimate and stunning natural beauty makes it is a place like no other to explore this time of year. Start off with a peaceful bike ride along the Niagara River Recreational Trail. You’ll be in awe as the region comes alive under a blanket of red, gold and green. You can even take some breaks along the way at one of the region’s many wineries that the trail passes. If it’s a hike you’re after, look no further than the famous Bruce Trail, which provides the only public access to the Niagara Escarpment, designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Take in the rainbow of colours from atop one of the trail’s many scenic lookouts or cool off near one of the 120 waterfalls outside the Hamilton area.
For more information on the best time to visit these regions, this list by Ontario Parks will give you a detailed report of when fall colours reach their peak in various regions of the province.