It is officially autumn and the leaves are changing colours, which means we need to shift gears and prepare for the new season. Whether you are into activities like pumpkin picking or getting lost in corn mazes, there is one activity you should probably do every fall – taking a walk in nature to soak up all the beautiful shades of the forest. Check out my suggestions for some prime lookout spots during this colourful time of year and be sure to bring a camera!
Depending on what area you live in, the leaves might be at their peak right now. If you are familiar with the Ontario Parks website, be sure to check out their detailed description of a variety of parks, showing the current condition of the changing leaves.
Spencer Gorge Conservation Area (Dundas Peak)
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Take a colourful journey through Spencer Gorge Conservation Area to explore a majestic waterfall and panoramic views. Your hike will begin at Tew’s Falls and lead you to Dundas Peak, where you will be rewarded with endless views of the foliage in the Dundas Valley. It can get very busy on the weekends so if possible, plan to go on a weekday.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park (Clifftop Trail)
Location: Mono, Ontario
This loop-trail at Mono Cliffs will take you through a variety of landscapes – forests, open fields, past a lake and on to an incredible viewing platform to take in all the fall colours. There is also an option of climbing down the stairs to surround yourself with gigantic limestone cliff formations. The trails are also extremely well marked, which makes it easy to navigate your walk. Keep your eyes peeled as you will also spot wild berries and apples along the way.
Location: Collingwood, Ontario
With lots of activities to do in the area, from zip-lining to mini-golfing – this spot also boasts one of the best views of Georgian Bay and beyond. Make sure to cross the suspension bridge and take in the 360-degree views of the colourful forest. Take the self-guided trails that lead you to a labyrinth of caves and caverns (be sure to check out the “Refrigerator Cave”). Expect multiple lookout points along your hike, as well.
Location: Calabogie, Ontario
Situated in the beautiful Ottawa Valley, this trail will lead you to the most spectacular lookout. The hike isn’t physically challenging and allows options for all fitness levels. Climb gradually uphill while roaming through wildflowers until you reach magnificent panoramic views of all the colourful trees.
Location: Dwight, Ontario
Take in 360-degree views from the observation deck after climbing the numerous narrow stairs. It can be very steep getting to the very top of the Fire Tower so beware if you are scared of heights. Luckily, you don’t have to climb to the very top of the tower to catch glimpses of the gorgeous foliage. This is another spot you should aim to go during the week, as it gets super busy this time of year on the weekends.
Eau Claire Conservation Area (Eau Claire Gorge)
Location: Calvin, Ontario
The view from the gorge itself is spectacular, with lookouts over rapids and waterfalls along the trail. Located in the Amable du Fond Provincial Park, the gorge is also part of the Eau Claire Conservation Area. The waterfall has a 40-foot drop but the best way to view it is to climb down a steep yet short trail. It will lead you right to the edge of an enormous cliff that gives you incredible views over the powerful waterfall. It is definitely a stunning and unique place to watch the leaves change.
Location: Temagami, Ontario
This fire tower is situated on a 400-foot mountain called Caribou Mountain, providing vistas over tons of tiny islands. Take the staircase to the top to see the colours change from this elevated, breathtaking view. There are also several trails in the area that will lead you through thick old-growth forests.
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Nestled in the Don Valley, Evergreen Brickworks features century-old heritage buildings and beautifully paved trails. Toronto is famous for its ravines, and this is one of the most popular ones as it allows you to truly feel surrounded by nature. Walk the pathways until you are overlooking the entire park, where you will see all the fall colours and even glimpse a view of the CN Tower. There is also often something exciting going on during the weekends, from speciality markets to small festivals.