It’s the most anticipated time of the year - leaf peeping season! Already, everywhere you look, you can smell the familiar aroma of pumpkin spice lattes in the air. People have started to truly embrace sweater weather. Is there a time of the year when Canada looks better than autumn? Here are some of the best trails to visit in the GTA if you’re looking for some truly instagram-worthy sights.
Rouge National Urban Park
Located in Toronto, this is the largest urban park in all of Canada. With nearly 80 square kilometres of wilderness between Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine, there are several ways to soak up the fall hues in this city oasis. You can hike one of its many trails or drive north of Highway 401 to scenic lookouts, such as Glen Eagles Vista, that provide panoramic views of the Rouge River and the surrounding tree-lined hills ablaze with colour.
Crawford Lake Conservation Area
If you want to experience a lush forest with rare geologic marvel, you must head out to Milton. Crawford Lake is a rare meromictic lake - unlike most lakes whose layers of water intermix, Crawford Lake is a lake divided into three layers that fosters unique biodiversity. You can view the lake and the gorgeous autumnal trees surrounding it on the park’s 1.4 kilometre elevated boardwalk. Alternatively, get your heart pumping on the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail. It leads to neighbouring park Rattlesnake Point, which offers expansive views of the leafy canyon below.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park
Mono Cliffs park offers some of the best fall views along the Niagara Escarpment in Orangeville. You can choose between eight different hiking trails that let you wander through crevice caves, ancient white cedar forests, lookout points from 30 metre high cliffs - all while walking along a carpeted trail of crunchy leaves.
Lake of Bays
While my other suggestions have been parks, I am going to argue that this entire town in Muskoka must be discovered to truly get the most of leaf peeping season. There are countless ways to enjoy the town’s foliage - you can hike its extensive trail system, you can snap some photos while canoeing or kayaking, you can take a scenic drive with your car, an ATV or even a helicopter! Top Lake of Bays spots include the observation deck of the historic Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower, which provides 360-degree views of the region, and the Oxtongue Rapids Trail, which highlights the area’s rugged natural forest.
If you prefer to take in the fall colours with a meandering afternoon drive instead of a hike or a bike, I recommend the historic 56 kilometre Niagara Parkway. You will get an unparalleled stretch of autumn between Niagara-On-The-Lake and Queenston.
Have you been to any of these locations? Or do you have a favourite that’s not on the list? Reach out to us here, We’d love to know and be able to share your hidden gem with others.