Ontario is celebrated as one of the prime destinations for fall colors. You've got to see its national parks come alive with red, orange, and yellow hues at least once in your lifetime. Take a road trip to Toronto or Niagara Falls, hop aboard a scenic train ride in the wild, or plan yourself an active weekend packed with hiking beneath the magnificent canopies.
When to see fall colors in Ontario
The seasonal colors burst throughout the province from mid-September to late October. Still, it's always about the weather when we dwell on nature-based phenomena. Hence, the best way to catch the peak fall foliage in Ontario is to check up-to-date reports by local parks.
Where to see fall colors in Ontario
One of the top choices for leaf-peepers is a scenic Niagara Parkway, meandering along the Niagara River from Lake Erie through Niagara-on-the-Lake. Every single mile along the route boasts unparalleled fall colors. But make sure to take a break and explore the secluded Dufferin Islands and breathtaking Niagara Glen. Besides, many like to climb Skylon Tower and ride on Niagara SkyWheel to capture kaleidoscopic views of the canopies from above. Just note that due to the warmer microclimate around Lake Erie, the season here starts a bit later than in other areas in the province, usually mid- to late October.
Toronto doesn't fall behind Niagara Falls. You can take in fall splendor while hiking around Rouge National Urban Park. It offers multiple trails of gradable difficulty, namely the Vista Trail, famous for its viewing platform, the Mast Trail, and the Orchard Trail. The park boasts fascinating landscapes, including the Carolinian forest, vast marshes, and a sandy beach on Lake Ontario. Besides, you will find stunning biodiversity, some of Canada's oldest indigenous sites, and the city's only campground.
Alternatively, if you're into a road trip, you can also visit several great places within an hour's drive from Toronto. Consider such popular choices as Cheltenham Badlands in Caledon, Rattlesnake Point in Milton, or Dundas Peak in Dundas.
The best fall foliage still unveils as you proceed deeper to the north. Muskoka District Municipality claims to be Canada's premier cottage destination with countless towering maple trees. Needless to say how gorgeous this area becomes during the fall color season. Absorb the ambiance while driving local highways and check out the highlights, such as Georgian Bay Island National Park, Lion's Lookout in Huntsville, and Huckleberry Rock in Lake Muskoka.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Another great option to go leaf-peeping in Ontario is Algonquin Provincial Park, set northeast of Muskoka Lakes. So if you're getting to Algonquin Park from Muskoka, take Hwy 60 east from Hwy 11 at Huntsville. Algonquin boasts true maple trees galore, which makes the area a scarlet wonderland in the fall season. One of the best hikes in the provincial park is a 6-mile (10-km) Centennial Ridges Trail. Note that the route is rated as intermediate and meanders through rocky terrain, so you'll need proper boots for this trek. Additionally, the park has several shorter and lighter trails, offering equally mesmerizing fall foliage vistas.
Agawa Canyon Park
Lastly, the remotest and most fascinating fall foliage destination is located in northwest Ontario, within the Agawa Canyon Park. The canyon, created 1.2 million years ago by Canada's last ice age, is home to harsh rocks, beautiful lakes of the Canadian Shield, multiple trails, waterfalls, and picnicking areas. Take a scenic train ride to discover these jaw-dropping landscapes, wrapped with fall colors. The 227-mile (366-km) round-trip starts from Sault St. Marie and costs $122 CAD. For more information and tickets, please go to Agawa Canyon Tour Train's official website listed in External Resources below.
Even though we've listed only our top five locations, the options are ample, and picture-perfect sceneries appear all over Ontario during the fall. No matter what area you finally choose for your bright getaway, we recommend booking your stay in advance. The map below showcases available options near the sites listed in this article.