Reflections of clouds and trees with fall colour on a lake

Mikisew Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

Best Ontario Parks to visit this fall

Reflections of clouds and trees with fall colour on a lake

Mikisew Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

During the autumn season, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to these parks to witness the breathtaking beauty of vibrant fall colour.

Some of Ontario’s parks are so popular that visiting them during the short fall season becomes a challenge due to the sheer number of guests.

Follow the Ontario Parks fall colour report to alternative destinations for gorgeous fall colour, diverse hiking trails, exceptional paddling and the chance to squeeze in one last camping trip.

You might just find your new favourite Ontario Provincial Park.

Northern Ontario

Iconic for hiking trails, paddling routes and camping, Algonquin and Arrowhead Provincial Parks are popular year-round, especially during the colourful fall season. Discover even more nature, adventure and photo-worthy scenery at these quieter locations.

A couple enjoying fall colour and birdwatching in a park
Mikisew Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

Mikisew Provincial Park

Situated on the western shore of Eagle Lake, about 20 kilometres northwest of Sundridge off Highway 11, Mikisew is a 130-hectare park with sandy beaches, ponds, wetlands and four interconnected loop trails through beautiful mixed maple and pine forest.

Dog owners will be thrilled with the large, fenced-in, off-leash pet area that extends down to the water.

Two forested car camping grounds are available with electrical sites included in both. Find canoe and kayak rentals, as well as groceries, supplies and fresh, hot pizza at Eagle Lake Narrows Country Store.

Location: 301 Park Road South, South River
Season: May 19 to October 10, 2023

Finlayson Point Provincial Park

Further north along Highway 11, about 40 kilometres north of Marten River, Finlayson Point Provincial Park is a peninsula jutting into the northeast arm of Lake Temagami. At 47 hectares, this park is relatively small but serves as a gateway to the magnificent Temagami wilderness that covers over 2,000 interconnected lakes and rivers.

Take in the stunning scenery on a paddling trip and climb the 100-foot (30 metre) Temagami Fire Tower nearby on Caribou Mountain for views of the park and the town of Temagami below.

Car camping is available, including sites with trail electrical hook-ups. Just north of the park, Temagami Outfitting Company provides everything you need for your trip, including canoe, kayak and gear rentals.

Location: 24 Finlayson Park Road, Temagami
Season: May 19 to September 24, 2023

Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

To the north of Algonquin, along the Trans-Canada Highway 17, and 15 kilometres west of Mattawa, Samuel de Champlain is a 2,550-hectare park that stretches along both sides of the Mattawa River. This waterway was along the route that First Nations guides led French explorer, Samuel de Champlain over 400 years ago.

Four main trail systems provide easy to challenging hiking trails with scenic views of Moore Lake and the historic Mattawa River framed by fall colour.

Location: 6905 Highway 17 East, Mattawa
Season: May 12 to October 10, 2023

Driftwood Provincial Park

Located along the Ottawa River shoreline, northeast of Algonquin, Driftwood treats visitors to picturesque, waterfront campsites and a couple of hiking trails that include an awesome lookout spot over the river and valley below and the Laurentian Hills beyond.

It’s also a great destination for paddling, specifically sea-kayak adventure. A small fleet of canoes, personal flotation devices (PFDs), boat safety kits and paddles are available at the campgrounds. Inquire about availability in advance.

Location: 39520 Highway 17, Stonecliffe
Season: May 12 to October 10, 2023

Northeastern Ontario

Soft, pink-coloured granite rocks along Georgian Bay’s shoreline and pale quartz peaks of LaCloche have drawn visitors to Killarney and Killbear Provincial Parks for almost a century. Discover even more of the area’s natural beauty at these parks.

French River Provincial Park

Canada’s first designated Heritage River, the French River flows over 100 kilometres from Lake Nipissing to its mouth, the French River Delta, along Georgian Bay’s rocky shoreline just south of Killarney. With sections of rapids and white water, the river offers exciting paddling and backcountry camping adventures.

From the Visitor Centre, follow the four-kilometre Recollect Fall Trail along the French River Gorge to the Recollect Falls for stunning scenery.

Hartley Bay Marina in Alban has been supplying visitors to French River with canoe and paddling equipment rentals for 50 years.

Location: 20526 Highway 69, Alban
Season: April 28 to October 22, 2023

Restoule Provincial Park

Flanked by Restoule Lake to the south and Stormy Lake to the north, Restoule Provincial Park sits just under Lake Nipissing and about 70 kilometres south of North Bay. Several trail systems offer a variety of lengths, ease and landscapes, including the Fire Tower Trail with amazing views from the historic Fire Tower and from the top of Stormy Lake Bluff.

There is also a designated off-leash beach area for dogs to have a swim.

Campgrounds with and without electricity are available for car camping, plus backcountry sites for more experienced campers. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the park—read more about fall paddling at Restoule.

Location: 8818 ON-534, Restoule
Season: May 19 to October 10, 2023

Northwestern Ontario

Located along the northeastern shores of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Superior Provincial Park draws visitors to its spectacular scenery and diverse outdoor experiences. This fall, venture further into Sunset Country for unbelievable hiking, paddling and backcountry adventure.

Two people canoeing on a lake surrounded by fall colour
Restoule Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

Northwestern Ontario Driving Route

Embark on the road trip of a lifetime to almost a dozen different provincial parks across northwestern Ontario between Thunder Bay and Kenora.

Hike, paddle and camp in some of Canada’s most beautiful and pristine wilderness landscapes. Even the skies are stunning from postcard-perfect sunsets to the dramatic Northern Lights.

Locations include:

Southeastern Ontario

Each year Frontenac and Bon Echo Provincial Parks attract visitors for outstanding paddling and hiking opportunities, as well as fascinating Indigenous pictographs, etched on the face of the 100-metre-high Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo. Further south in Prince Edward County, the trails, beachfront and sand dunes make Sandbanks Provincial Park a popular spot all summer long and well into the autumn.

This fall, explore more beautiful parks in Southeastern Ontario.

A forest with fall colour surrounds a scenic wetland
Lake St. Peter Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

Charleston Lake Provincial Park

With features of the Canadian Shield, islands, bays, coves and rocky shorelines of Charleston Lake, swimmable beaches and over half a dozen trails through mixed forest and wetlands, Charleston Lake Provincial Park is stunning in the fall. Don’t miss the scenic lookout at the end of Quiddity Trail or for more experienced hikers, the views from the top of Blue Mountain.

There are over 200 campsites including electrical service and group sites, 10 backcountry campsites and four yurts available to book. Plan on a mid-week visit. Plus, canoes and kayaks can be rented into the fall season, ask about availability at the gatehouse.

Location: 148 Woodvale Road, Lansdowne
Season: May 12 to October 10, 2023

Lake St. Peter Provincial Park

Located in Hastings County, south of Algonquin, the interconnected Lookout Trail and Cabin Trail offer hikers stellar lake and forest lookout views. The scenery from Lake St. Peter’s sandy beaches or along its shoreline is equally stunning in the fall.

The park features 65 spacious, forested campsites and a selection of canoes and kayaks can be rented from the park office.

Location: 356 Lake St. Peter Road, Lake St. Peter
Season: May 12 to October 10, 2023

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Located in Haliburton Highlands, approximately 25 kilometres west of Bancroft, Silent Lake is a non-motorized lake, so as its name implies, it’s peaceful and serene for fall paddling, as well as hiking. Both the easy and more challenging trails wind through mixed forests of hemlock, maple, cedar, oak, pine and black-ash and feature scenic lookout stops.

In addition to car camping, several semi-wilderness walk-in campsites are available, as well as ten rustic camp cabins and eight yurts. Seasonal canoe rentals are available at the park, however into the fall you may want to contact Kawartha Adventure Rentals for your equipment needs. Delivery fees apply.

Location: 1589 Silent Lake Park Road, Bancroft
Season: May 12 to March 24, 2024

Presqu’ile Provincial Park

Jutting out into Lake Ontario in the southeast corner of Northumberland County, Presqu’ile features woodlands, meadows, wetlands and beach area, and is a key migratory stop for hundreds of bird species in the spring and fall (shorebirds in September).

Explore the marsh along a beautifully maintained Marsh Trail boardwalk, visit Ontario’s second oldest operating lighthouse and hike one of several woodland trails.

Eight separate campgrounds provide campers with a selection of wooded or lakeview sites, offering various amenities. There are also four unique soft-sided, canvas tent structure available. Plan on a mid-week visit.

Location: 328 Presqu’ile Parkway, Brighton
Season: Park operates year-round, camping April 28 to October 31, 2023

Southwestern Ontario

From the sun-kissed beaches of Long Point on Lake Erie to the stunning sunsets from Pinery on Lake Huron, Southwestern Ontario’s waterfront parks are simply gorgeous. Here are a few more to put on your radar this season.

A wooden bridge over water leads into a forest
Selkirk Provincial Park | Ontario Parks

Selkirk Provincial Park

Under 25 kilometres east of Port Dover, Selkirk Provincial Park is the perfect spot for an autumn day trip. Follow the gentle 1.5 kilometre Wheeler’s Walk Trail along a boardwalk crossing marsh wetland and through forested sections bursting in fall colour. Or try out paddling on Spring Creek, kayaks and safety gear are available for rent. Four designated campground areas provide car camping opportunities.

Location: 151 Wheeler’s Sideroad, Rural Road #1, Selkirk
Season: May 19 to October 10, 2023

Rondeau Provincial Park

Ontario’s second oldest park, Rondeau stretches out on a peninsula into Lake Erie’s northern coastline. This sandspit creates a sheltered harbour that serves as a significant stop for migrating birds and butterflies. The Park is also home to one of Canada’s largest old growth Carolinian forests.

Seven trail systems offer over 30 kilometres of hiking through the mixed deciduous forest, marsh and beach area, with great lake views, chance of wildlife sightings and stunning fall colour.

Tent and trailer car camping site are available, plan for mid-week camping as the weekends can get busy. Kayak rentals are available nearby from Shrewsbury Kayaks & Bait.

Location: 18050 Rondeau Park Road, Morpeth
Season: Park operates year-round, camping April 7 to November 12, 2023

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

This 1,200-hectare park along the Lake Huron shoreline is home to a unique and diverse ecosystem of woodland, wetland, waterfowl and wildlife. Five easy to moderately strenuous trails and boardwalks offer hikers a variety of excursions. The 3.5-kilometre Tower Trail provides informative storyboard plaques along the way to the lookout viewing tower.

Special events in the fall include an arts festival and Halloween celebration. In addition to car camping, eight yurts and four new camp cabins are available to book, consider a mid-week visit as the weekends can get busy. Dog owners take note, the park features two shoreline off-leash zones for you to let your furry family member swim and play.

Location: 1593 Bruce Road, Rural Road #1, Port Elgin
Season: January 1 to December 31, 2023

Point Farms Provincial Park

At just over 300 hectares, Point Farms is a relatively small park along Lake Huron’s shore. But the park has an illustrious history, it was home to a beautiful Victorian resort from 1874 to 1924 and old farm fields and orchards speak to its agricultural past.

Three short trails are perfect for a leisurely fall hike through forests and meadows. Two campgrounds offer over 200 sites, over half of which with electrical hookups, so RVs, trailers and tents can be accommodated.

Location: 82491 Blue water Highway, Goderich
Season: May 12 to October 10, 2023

Tips for visiting Ontario Parks

Get your permit in advance

A daily vehicle permit is required for each park you visit. This permit includes entry for the vehicle and passengers for one day.

If available, purchase your pass ahead of time. You can purchase permits up to five days before arrival at several participating parks. For all other parks, permits are available as first come first serve upon arrival at the gatehouse or at a pay and display machine.

If you are a seasonal permit holder, reserve your day use spot ahead of time to avoid disappointment. It's always a good idea to make camping reservations in advance.

Plan a mid-week visit

Overall, weekends are much busier than weekdays at Ontario Parks, especially during the beginning of the fall colour season and over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Beat the crowds and book your visit during the week and later in the season. You’ll be rewarded with what’s known as the ‘golden encore’, when beech, birch and poplar trees turn a brilliant gold and amber after the first peak of maple.

Visitor etiquette #ForTheLoveOfParks

Protecting at-risk species and ecological integrity is a core value of Ontario Parks. There are some simple things you can do to help keep Ontario’s parks healthy.

  • Clean footwear and equipment prevent the spread of invasive species
  • Staying on trails and boardwalks and a zero-litter policy helps reduce the destruction of sensitive habitats
  • Reducing light pollution keeps the skies clean and dark for great stargazing and night sky viewing

Stay safe in Ontario Parks

Being prepared with the right equipment, supplies and safety gear will not only determine the success of your outdoor adventure, but it may even save a life. Here are some suggestions of what to bring hiking:

  • A good pair of hiking shoes or boots
  • Plenty of water & snacks
  • Map of the area & a compass
  • A flashlight
  • First aid kit that includes sunscreen, matches & a whistle
  • Weather-appropriate clothing, moisture-wicking fabric & layers are best
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable backpack

Always ensure that someone knows where you are hiking or camping and consider also leaving a copy of your site or route in your car. If there is an emergency, help will find you.

Finally, know your limits. There are vastly different ways you can camp in Ontario’s parks. Learn more about all the amazing things you can experience in Ontario’s Provincial Parks.

Last updated: February 21, 2024

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