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Fall Colours In Ontario
There's never a grey day when autumn sweeps over Ontario. Between mid-September to mid-October, the landscape becomes a fiery tapestry ablaze with golden hues, crimson reds and fiery oranges.
During this magical season, nights are cool and the days are warmed by the lingering summer sun, ideal conditions for leaf peeping tours, hiking, bird watching and other outdoor adventures. From the densely forested Hockley Valley and Caledon Hills located near Toronto to the inspiring landscapes of Algonquin and Killarney Provincial Parks, there are many scenic places to soak in the spectacle of nature's fall fashion show.
Canada's capital city perfectly combines its urban sensibility with outdoor beauty. Manicured park lands and outdoor spaces have a wide range of trees that are resplendent with colorful leaves in the fall. Peak season for fall foliage tends to be toward the end of September. View Ottawa's fall splendor while riding along its many bike trails or while cruising, canoeing or kayaking its famed Rideau Canal waterway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the Haliburton Highlands (2.5 hours north of Toronto) where a canopy of scarlet and gold spreads out before you as far as the eye can see. Climb the Dorset Lookout Tower for a panoramic view of Haliburton's blaze of colour. Don't miss the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Centre for the canopy walk and wolf centre.
In Autumn, Algonquin Provincial Park is the place for romance as forests dressed in crimson reds and deep oranges seduce the senses. The expanse of colour across the park's vast tree covered 7,725 square kilometers (3000 square miles) is truly a sight to behold. Catch the Maples at their peak in the last week of September or in the first few days of October. A couple of weeks later, the Aspens, Tamaracks and Red Oaks hit their best and put on their own kaleidoscopic show.
The 1000 Islands region is a romantic retreat all year round, but in the Fall the magnetism intensifies as island bolt-holds are ablaze with sultry hues of red, orange and gold. Enjoy a 1000 Islands cruise from Kingston, Rockport or Gananoque in Eastern Ontario and savor the visual spectacle along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. For another vantage point, climb the 1000 Islands Skydeck Tower on Hill Island and take in the islands in all their colorful glory from 400 feet above the St. Lawrence River.
The Muskoka Region, located only two hours north of Toronto, is breathtaking in all seasons, but autumn is when this tranquil resort region really shines. In the fall, a veritable bouquet of colour washes over the forests that surround Muskoka's small towns. The colourful tree canopies act as a dramatic backdrop when visiting the local attractions which range from heritage museums, cruising aboard the classic RMS Segwun steamship, golfing and a myriad of outdoor pursuits. For more active holiday makers, the Algonquin Park and all its outdoor activities are a short distance away. Why not enjoy the view while hiking or biking along the exhaustive network of trails throughout the park or enjoy canoeing along the many waterways. When you've done a day of exploring, visit a spa and then give your taste buds a treat at one of the resorts.
Climb onboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train to witness Northern Ontario's Algoma Country in all its fall colour glory. The train's large picture windows allow for great views and photos as it makes its way over towering trestles, alongside pristine northern lakes and rivers, and through the awesome granite rock formations and mixed forests of the Canadian Shield. This day trip into the beautiful Algoma region travels 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, to the bottom of the Agawa Canyon where visitors disembark and spend the afternoon in the Agawa Canyon Park. For rewarding views, take the sign posted trails leading to the most scenic spots, including four sets of waterfalls. For panoramic views over the Agawa Canyon, scramble to the top of the canyon wall to experience a mind blowing colour explosion. Fall colours run rampant in the park from mid- September to early October, but the tour is available throughout the summer (starting in mid June).