Ontario’s Breathtaking Fall Palette: Autumn Hikes
There’s a very specific sensation associated with the glow of the morning at a certain time of year, isn’t there? Strolling under trees as they stare out at vibrant swells of fresh lake water, stretching their limbs in impatient preparation for an oncoming slumber that promises restoration and adequate time for contemplation. Not without ensuring that they go out with a bang, peacocking in their final and arguably fullest form. There’s a curated crispness in the air that mitigates the usual muscle-memory-induced need to shed every single layer that could potentiate your body’s insulation by even a little bit. Traveling diagonally through autumnal landscapes without carrying the internal temperature of a bread maker is one of the many advantages of choosing this time of year to hike.
Fall hiking is objectively unparalleled in terms of temperatures, bugs, and views. Unless you have an entire year to spend reading this article it will be unfathomably difficult to provide coverage for all of the beautiful, surprising, hidden gems that Ontario is home to during the fall months. I will, however, provide you with a few starting points; trailheads, if you will, for some of the best hikes in the fall that Ontario hiking has to offer.
Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario “The Crack”
Whether you want to sleep under the shimmer of the night air that encapsulates Killarney provincial park during the months of September, October, and November, to start your day with a serene morning paddle to the water access point for “the crack”, or to drive through the winding hills of an auburn palette that flows past you like sweet smelling embers of a harmless fire to reach the trailhead, chances are you’ll enjoy yourself just getting there. The 6-kilometer exploration of Ontario’s pale mountainous rockface, dotted with conifers and sleepy wildlife will enamor you through scenic sensory overload and welcome stimulation.
This trail is for those who prefer to encounter differentiation throughout their hiking journeys, and those who enjoy a consistently changing landscape. Both the scenery and terrain shift in syncopation as if to signal for the commencement of a new act in a theatrical production of your choosing to take this path. From the leaf-soaked, wooded strolls on soft soil that begin the hike, to calf-burning rocky inclines that are molecules away from being considered climbs, to mountaintop passes that induce amnesia regarding your current geographic location: “The Crack” has it all. Its piece de resistance is the climactic view from the summit, making an entire portion of the 103 square kilometer park look like a postcard, staged to elicit nothing, but pure joy.
Truly it’s something that needs to be experienced, as trying to capture its beauty with mere language would be unwillingly doing this natural panorama a disservice. In short: go hike “the crack” in Killarney as soon as you can possibly make it there.
Fall Hiking Close to Home: Uxbridge, Ontario
Often overlooked is this small arts and culture-loving town in Ontario. Uxbridge is a little over an hour northeast of the city and is host to a prolific collection of trails. Boasting as Canada’s trail capital, you can start your day with a coffee from a local shop and soon find yourself comfortably taking part in a leisurely 2-kilometer stroll through the warm farmland portraits and wetland areas that make up the 220 kilometers of managed hiking trails in the area. If you’re looking for something a little more along the lines of controlled adventure, you can try your hand at the 7-hour-long multipurpose hiking trail beginning in Uxbridge and ending in Cannington.
The Beaver River Wetland Trail runs along an old railway and is host to a collection of short bridges, boardwalks, and gravel pathways. All in all the entirety of this trail’s difficulty comes from its length, measuring roughly 32 kilometers the hike requires a certain dedication of time to complete. Those who do decide to take advantage of it will experience a range of some of the best fall colors that Ontario has to offer. Walk through the array of winding wetland walkways, as they showcase the remaining greenery accenting the overwhelmingly colorful tree lines.
The trail permits walking, running, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and even horseback riding so users are welcome to experience this moderately challenging route by whichever means they choose. This journey, although long, is not overly traveled; meaning if you are in search of a fall hiking route to spend a good chunk of time alone on this is your destination. This type of terrain would typically lend itself to being overtaken by insect activity, but one of the many advantages to fall hiking in Ontario is to enjoy yourself without the interruption of bugs, while your serenity and solitude are respected.
Local tip: Make a visit to Blue Heron Books Uxbridge beforehand to grab some reading material for your mid-hike breaks amongst some of the best smells and fall colors that Ontario is home to during this perfect outdoor season.
This last mention is my personal choice for one of the best hikes in fall that I have ever experienced. Finding yourself at the beginning of this trail means you’ve driven through some seriously scenic routes in and around the areas surrounding Bancroft, Madoc, and Perth, to get to my favorite Ontario fall hiking spot: Bon Echo’s Cliff Top Trail. Camp at the park to get an early start or show up to the rustling of the cool October afternoon wind. Either way, you’ll have more than enough time to enjoy this beginner hike that is both beautiful and easily accessible. The trail takes you through Bon Echo’s distinctive forest pathways and inclines, to some uniquely wonderful views from the tops of the rockfaces that are home to ancient Ojibwe pictographs.
This hiking trail’s Highlight is the method of access, as it requires a less than five-minute-long canoe ride to reach the base of the trail. The park offers short-term or full-day canoe rentals on the beach across from the trailhead so Ontario hikers can paddle to the base of the rockfaces to search for the pictographs that inhabit Mazinaw Lake. Between the short paddle, the glimpses into stories of the past, and the views from the highest point of the Cliff Top Trail: this hike has something for everyone and I can not recommend it enough.
Fall Hiking Ontario
These are, but a miniscule selection of marvelous hikes that Ontario has to offer, and though we do recommend each one of these hikes as destinations for this fall or next, more than anything we hope this serves as a sense of inspiration to get outside and explore your area this autumn. Wherever you live the hiking options in this province are plentiful and we hope that you take advantage of the peace, adventure, and colors that the elements have to share with us right now.
What you can gain from booking a hike with a Local Guide
Booking a hike with a guide can make your experience into an outdoor adventure you never thought possible. From finding the best most private locations to sharing their knowledge about wildlife, conservation, and ecology, you may find you gain more in two hours with a guide, than you would on your own in months!!! And because GuidED gives back to mother nature with every booking, we can all help change the world one adventure at a time!