Fall is here and the trees have begun to trade their green summer fashions for brighter shades of orange, red and yellow. Ontario fall colours are perhaps among the best in Canada since there are many places to colour-watch throughout the province!
The best time for fall colours in Ontario is from mid-September to late-October. However, the colour burst in each area completely relies on the weather. The easiest way to know where and when to go for the best view is to check the Ontario parks fall colour report. Here, you will find information about the parks in Ontario and the colours of the trees in the area.
Ready for the best Ontario fall getaway? Here are a few destinations to visit during the best time for fall colours in Canada.
With almost 25 species of trees changing colours every year, Algonquin Park is one of the best places to see fall colours in Canada. During this season the park displays the widest array of fall colours in Ontario.
The iconic red maple leaves steal the Algonquin park colours show. But the brilliant yellows, flaming oranges and enduring greens are also a sight to behold. Algonquin fall colours are different depending on the time of the season you visit. Parks Canada recommends going to Algonquin Provincial Park from mid-September to late October to spot the park’s colourful foliage.
Algonquin Provincial Park is a large territory to explore. For the best Ontario fall colours observation, we recommend heading to the west side of the park where the warm orange and red leaves prevail due to the abundance of Sugar Maple Trees. This side of the park is also ideal for leaf-peeping as it has a natural elevated ground perfect for panoramic views of the Algonquin fall colours. If you are driving, the Highway 60 Corridor runs through a large section of the west side of the park and offers several look-out points along the way, making it a scenic drive that you won’t want to miss.
Another great way to enjoy the Algonquin park colours is by staying near the park and immersing yourself in the colourful forest. Since the park is a national territory, there are no private properties inside the park, but you can definitely find vacation rentals steps away from Algonquin around the nearby lakes. For the best fall stay, we recommend looking for rentals on the west side where you can find several waterfront cottages and cabin. Picture yourself relaxing by the water with the best autumn view!
For a perfectly picturesque view of Northern Ontario’s autumnal display, you can’t pass up Algoma Country. Like the rest of Ontario, the best time to spot the autumn leaves in Algoma is between the months of September and October.
Head to Sault Ste Marie and take the Agawa train ride for a panoramic view of Lake Superior along the Agawa Canyon bursting in fall colours. This train ride begins in Sault Ste Marie and ends at the Agawa Canyon where visitors can climb to a lookout area and take in the view of the canyon ablaze in colour. The route is a 4-hour ride each way and although the North Ontario fall colours are a great source of amusement, there is not much variety along the way. If you are travelling with kids, make sure to be prepared with additional entertainment for them.
Another option for enjoying the fall colours of the area is by hiking a mountain to see the bright blue lake ringed with a veritable flame of orange leaves. The Algoma district consists of 28,000 square miles so you’ll surely find a trail to accommodate your adventure needs.
If a train ride or a hike is not your travel style, take a scenic drive across the Algoma Country instead. The region has several routes that pass through the rugged landscapes, making it a delight to drive during the fall. Drive-up Route 17 to Lake Superior Provincial Park from Sault Ste Marie to find perhaps the best view of the area. This road was named one of the top ten drives in Canada and for a good reason: Route 17 winds its way along the shores of the largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior. During the fall, the drive offers scenic views of the changing trees against the lake, so feel free to stop along the way to take in the view.
The Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail may be too long to complete in just a day or two, but any section of this 890-kilometre hike is sure to bring you through some of best fall colours in Ontario.
Head to the Georgian Bay to see the turquoise waters against the bursting reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves. Late September is a good time to explore the Bruce Peninsula since the crowds are smaller, the shops and restaurants are still operating and you can get first access to fall foliage lookout point. Go up the 65-foot Observation Tower in the Bruce Peninsula National Park for an incredible view of the Georgian Bay, Tobermory and Lake Huron.
Devil’s Monument Loop
South of the Bruce Peninsula National Park, you’ll find a lesser-known hiking trail with incredible views of Ontario fall colours, the Devil’s Monument Loop. Rather short, this hike takes you through rocky, slippery and steep paths up to the top of the largest flower pot formation in the Bruce Peninsula. Although the hike is not difficult, it is not meant for kids or pets and we recommend wearing sturdy footwear.
Spencer George Conservation Area
Even southern down the Bruce Trail tail in Hamilton, take one of the several autumn hikes in the Spencer George Conservation Area. Visiting this place is rewarding at any time of year, but autumn is when the real show happens. The most popular points for the best autumn displays are Dundas Peak, Tew's Falls and Webster's Falls.
There is no loop trail or authorized parking available at each point, so we recommend taking the shuttle bus to the tree location from the Spencer George parking lot.
From the two falls in the tour, our favourite one is Tew’s Falls. This 22-meter curtain waterfall shines during the autumn months among the orange trees. The lookout point is above the falls rather than at the bottom. This elevation allows for a prime leaf viewing of the area and the water below. From this point, you can take the 40-minute hike to Dundas Peak for an even more mesmerizing view.
When you arrive at the top of Dundas Peak, you can take a breather on a cliff overlooking the entire valley below. Be prepared to be rendered speechless! The mosaic of reds, yellows, oranges and greens below is a view that you won’t mind hiking.
With the immensity of the Bruce trail, we could write for hours and still not cover the entire trail. One thing that’s for sure, whichever portion of the trail you decide to explore in the fall, we are positive the views of the fall leaves will take your breath away!
Along the Niagara River
The road along the Niagara River is a wonderful place to take in the Fall colours in Ontario. However, there are two places in particular that are popular among locals and tourists alike: Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is by far the crowned winner of this trip, especially if you prefer a much more relaxed and local vibe. This area is Ontario’s wine country and during the fall, the vineyards, orchards and maples turn their colours to receive the harvesting season. Take some time to stop and snap a few pictures, wander through the town and enjoy a glass of wine on a crisp October day.
Niagara Falls, on the other hand, is way more flashy city and one of the most popular places to see fall colours in Ontario for tourists. If you are there to enjoy the fall foliage, your options are bottomless. From hikes to helicopter rides, it’s not hard to find yourself in a fall colour hunting adventure. The city provides several aerial activities during the summer and fall months. Some of the most recommended ones are the Niagara Skywheel where you get to see the falls and the colourful leaves from 175 feet above, or dining at the Skylon Tower where you can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the view from above. For a unique experience, take the Whirlpool Aero Car, a cable car that runs for 1 kilometre above the falls, which provides a close-up view of the water and the autumn trees.
Moving to a much more local destination, Ontario’s cottage country, Muskoka is a magical place in the autumn months.
The best way to see Muskoka fall leaves is by taking a road trip all the way to this wonderful fall destination. Get off the main roads and take the back roads! It’s worth slowing down a little and enjoying the scenic view. For awesome Ontario fall colours scenery, drive the backroads of Highway 400, Highway 11 North to Gravenhurst or the Highway 60 Corridor.
Take your Muskoka experience a notch up and stay at one of the many cottages in the area to immerse yourself in nature. The region has more than a thousand lakes, which means there is an abundance of waterfront homes. Picture yourself waking up on a crisp fall day to the reflection of the turning trees over the lake right outside your window!
Beautiful Ottawa is rendered even more appealing with its fashionable outfit of fall leaves! The city’s historic architecture, lovely lakeside and green lawns are most attractive with a background of orange and yellow foliage. There are many ways to enjoy the fall colours in Ottawa. Take a walk through the park, kayak along the edge of the lake or go all out and run the Ottawa Fall Colours Marathon!
If the city is not colourful enough, the nearby Gatineau Park is the ultimate destination for Ottawa autumn leaves. The most popular and easy-access lookout point is the Pink Lake trail, which is often considered one of the best hikes in Canada. Make sure to check the park’s Fall Rhapsody Festival in October for other hiking trails. The festival offers guided tours and free shuttles from the city to see the region’s fall foliage.
Looking for fall colours without giving up the city vibe? Toronto has it all!
Head to High Park for the best Best fall colours in Toronto. During this season, the tree’ leaves put up a colour show right in the heart of the city. The central and east side of the park are well known among Torontonians as the best place to spot golden yellow and red trees. The Best time for fall colours in Toronto is late September or early October right before the rainy season begins and the leaves start falling down.
One of the most unique places to see fall colours in Toronto is Evergreen Brick Works. This site is located right by the Don River Valley and its best-kept secret is the mountain lookout point hidden within. Head to the back of the building to find a short and easy hike to the top of the mountain where you will be able to see the best East Toronto autumn leaves view. Evergreen Brick Works is a great family-friendly place to visit in the fall as it offers several festivals, farmers markets and kids activities to enjoy during the weekends.
Now that you know where to go, get out and explore! Need a place to stay during your Ontario fall colours trip? Find a cottage or a condo and enjoy the view right from your rental’s window.