It is officially fall, which means it's the perfect time to get outside and explore! There are so many places to visit in Southern Ontario and a long list of things to do. The start of fall is my favourite season by far, note 'the start of fall'. The air feels so crisp and fresh, the leaves are beginning to change colours and the conditions are still relatively warm! I love to see new places and I also love Ontario. And, the great thing about Southern Ontario is the vast range of landscapes, quaint towns and of course, lakes with towering escarpment...the two together make for beautiful scenes.
Here's a list of four places that are under four hours from Toronto that you must check out this fall. They won't disappoint.
1. Lake on a Mountain, Prince Edward County
Lake on a Mountain is a popular spot to check out the fall colours, for valid reasons. First, I'll sum up what Lake on a Mountain is: it's a lake, on a mountain. Literally. I know, an odd concept. Usually bodies of water are at the lower elevation, but that's what makes this destination so neat. On one side you look over Lake Ontario and have a scenic panoramic view of the fall colours and on the other side is the lake. When you're there you can read up on the theories behind how it formed.
Plan your route:
I highly suggest taking Loyalist Pkwy to the Glenora Ferry. You will pass by several Apple Orchards, Spring Meadows Orchards is AMAZING. You have to try their homemade donuts! From here you are just a few minutes from the Glenora Ferry, hop on that for a quick 5 minutes across the bay and arrive in Glenora. There will be signs to Lake on a Mountain. Also Lake on a Mountain craft brewery is a great place to stop and grab a growler of local beer. You are a short drive to the lovely town of Picton as well.
Toronto to Glenora Ferry: 3 hrs.
2. Cypress Lake, Bruce Peninsula National Park
At Bruce Peninsula National Park you have more than you could want. The Bruce Peninsula is situated on the Niagara Escarpment, the water is actually turquoise and it's paradise for hikers, climbers, paddlers and divers.
The fall season, in my opinion, is the best time to visit the park. During peak seasons the park can get filled up quick, meaning lines and crowds. If you go during the spring, fall or winter you miss that. It is a gorgeous spot to visit during any season, but with limestone bluffs, clear blue water AND the fall colours it is so picturesque. It's right on the Bruce Trail which offers hours, even days of hiking. The Cypress Lake loop is a must-do! It is a 15km drive to Tobermory, a harbour village with cute shops and delicious restaurants. You can also hop on the MS Chi-Cheemaun to get to Manitoulin Island, or take a smaller craft to Flower Pot Island.
Toronto to Bruce Peninsula National Park: 3 h 45 m
3. Old Baldy Conservation Area, Grey County
The lookout is situated along the Bruce Trail near the Village of Kimberley. In the spring the forest floor is blanketed with Trilliums, during the fall the view is beaming with colour. Reds, oranges and yellows light up the Beaver Valley, making it a spectacular place to enjoy the season. The cliffs are not only a popular spot for hiking and photography but climbing.
Toronto to Old Baldy: 2 hrs
4. Dundas Peak, Dundas Ontario
And lastly, my fourth suggestion is Dundas Peak. It's close to Toronto, it's a short walk and it has amazing views overlooking the city and the tree tops. If you want to see some great fall colours but don't want to drive far or maybe you're looking for a shorter and easier walk.....head here!
At Dundas it's easy to make this trip a quick hike to see the colours after work or a whole day outing. Being in Dundas there's tons of other things you can do. Don't go chasing waterfalls...kidding do. The waterfalls are what the Hamilton area is known for! On the walk up to Dundas Peak you'll pass Tews Falls too! I've been to Dundas Peak a few times, the picture below was on a very rainy day, my friend Brett and I still had a blast. The colours looked great!
If you're going for the fall colours I'd wait until mid October, it does depend on the season though. I went in mid September and the colours hadn't started changing. Still worth the trek.
Plan Your Route: Hit up Dyments Farm, Market & Bakery. Buy tarts or a pie, you won't regret it! If you're looking for lunch or a drink, put The Thirsty Cactus on your days menu.
Do you know of other great places to take in the fall season? I'd love to hear from you, comment below!