As one of the most iconic cottage country regions, Muskoka doesn’t disappoint when it comes to both hiking trails and spots to see the gorgeous landscape. As with any outdoor activity, be sure to plan ahead of time and check for warnings about bear sightings, and any other trail limitations. The terrain can change quickly in the fall and winter, so wear appropriate gear and be careful around lakes, waterfalls, or other slippery areas. Grab a water bottle and head to one of these hiking trails in Muskoka:
Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail
Iconic sunset spot, anyone? As one of the most popular lookouts in Muskoka year-round, Huckleberry Rock makes for a great evening hike, and it’s bound to be stunning when the fall colours are in their glory. It’s not just the view that makes this hike special, but what’s beneath your feet: some of the oldest rocks in North America, estimated to be more than a billion years old. While the trail is just under three kilometres long, there are numerous options to make it longer or shorter, and many off-shoot trails. (While worth exploring, they can also take you off track, so brush up on your route-finding skills.) Be mindful of where you are on the trail, and dress appropriately for sun protection even if it’s a cool day.
Torrance Barrens Loop
Did you know that the Torrance Barrens Conservation Area was designated as the world’s first permanent dark-sky reserve back in 1999? While the area is frequented for this reason, the trails within it are great for a fall stroll, day or night. The Torrance Barrens Loop can be made shorter or longer, depending on what you’re up for, and the trails here are also popular for mountain biking if that’s your preferred way to explore. Of course, dark sky viewing is an awesome experience in the area, so keep that in mind the next time you head out.
You may be familiar with the iconic Hardy Lake Provincial Park photo that features a boardwalk stretching out to a forested island. While that view is certainly worth the trip, the three trails throughout the park offer excellent mild to moderate hiking for the season. The trail with the park’s namesake is about eight kilometres long but a popular trek for people of all levels—just be mindful of signage, as it tends to meander, and it’s easy to wander off trail. Boardwalks are incorporated into each trail at Hardy Lake, making each hike more accessible and helping to keep your boots dry over the wet, muddier spots.
This short out-and-back trail near Skeleton Lake leads to a lovely little waterfall. While some like to swim around it during the summer, it’s equally worth visiting in the fall. Be prepared for a hike: though the trail is on the shorter side, there are a few inclines that will get your heart pounding. Be extra careful as you approach the falls, as the terrain can get a little trickier and steep, especially in wet or cold conditions. The access point is close to the Skeleton Lake Fish Hatchery, where there’s usually ample parking available.
Walker’s Point Lookout
At just under one kilometre, this easy, crowd-pleasing hike is a quick, simple way to take in the fall colours if you’re short on time. We like this trail because it’s low effort with a high reward—you’ll get a beautiful view of the iconic Lake Muskoka below. This area was once an unofficial path known as Berry Mountain, but now under the purview of the local township, it’s been formally made into a trail for locals and visitors. While the distance suggests an easy stroll, it’s mostly uphill, so you’ll also get a quick workout—but it’s well worth the view!