Ah, fall… the weather cools, the bugs disappear, and our parks become a kaleidoscope of stunning reds, oranges, and yellows.
If you love fall hiking, northeastern Ontario is the place to be. The combination of the rugged Canadian Shield and spectacular fall colors make hiking in northeastern Ontario a bucket list item.
Our parks are home to incredible, must-see sights that light up each year with the changing of autumn leaves. Here are some of our favorites.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Known to beach lovers for its stunning 3km sandy beach, Pancake Bay Provincial Park is equally exciting to explore in the fall.
In mid-September, the sugar maples, red oaks, red maples and yellow birches that dominate the forests of this part of the Lake Superior shoreline take on a hue of color. In early October, they switched to bright shades of red, gold, peach and burgundy.
The Edmund Fitzgerald Overlook is the place to see it all. High above the curving sands of Pancake Bay, the view encompasses a vast expanse of Lake Superior, contrasting with the brilliant forests of the Algoma Hills around Batchawana Bay.
From the lookout you can see Whitefish Point. This stretch of Lake Superior is known as the “graveyard of the Great Lakes,” where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a fierce Superior storm in 1975.
Kettle Lakes Provincial Park
Autumn turns the aspen, larch, white birch, and ferns of the boreal forest from emerald to gold in this glacier-formed northern landscape.
See a new side of the boreal forest by hiking the Tamarack Trail in Kettle Lakes.
Tamaracks line the shores of one of Kettle Lakes’ many spring-fed lakes with gold
This short 1km trail winds around Tamarack Lake, a wetland created by glacial ice more than 12,000 years ago. This lake’s namesake, the Tamarack tree, turns bright gold before dropping its needles, making it a deciduous conifer, a unique characteristic for a tree with cones.
Green Lake reflects more gold than its namesake color once fall arrives
Explore the park via hiking trails, bike along park paths or 14km of easy mountain bike trails, or take a scenic drive to visit one of our many lakes (22 to be exact!) .
Enjoy the stunning colors around Heart Lake, Green Lake or Hughes Lake; in fact, all its lakes are beautiful!
The greens and golds of fall really put on a show along Heart Lake
Kettle Lakes is located approximately 45 minutes east of Timmins and 4 hours north of North Bay.
It is open until October 10, 2023 and offers electric and non-electric campsites. Paddleboard, kayak, canoe and bicycle rentals are available.
Killbear Provincial Park
The Twin Points Trail is the perfect way to experience Killbear Provincial Park if you only have an hour or two.
It passes through woodland, over rocky moors, along the coast of Georgian Killbear Bay and leads to a hidden beach.
The Twin Points in the trail’s name are wide expanses of smooth bedrock that were sanded by glacial ice over thousands of years.
The trail begins in the park’s day-use area, making it easily accessible to both hikers and campers at one of Killbear’s many campgrounds.
Killbear is open until November 6, 2023 for camping and day use. Georgian Bay moderates fall temperatures and fall colors appear later than inland.
Peak colors may continue long after Thanksgiving.
Chutes Provincial Park
Named for the log ramp that loggers built to avoid the main falls of the Aux Sables River during log runs, this park is centered around a river of waterfalls.
Autumn colors are reflected in the Aux Sables River above the main falls
The Twin Bridges Trail begins at the main falls and viewing platform, and follows Aux Sables passing a series of waterfalls, cascades and rapids known as the Seven Sisters.
French River Provincial Park
Beginning at the French River Visitor Center on Highway 69, the 1.5 km Recollet Falls Trail hugs the edge of the French River Gorge and ends at Recollet Falls.
The French River runs silky smooth over Recollet Falls
This visually stunning gorge is formed by one of the many faults of the Canadian Shield that follows the French River to Georgian Bay. Glacial ice sculpted the bedrock and excavated fault lines.
The French River was designated the first Canadian Heritage River in Canada’s Heritage River System. This award recognized it for its outstanding natural and cultural heritage and its recreational opportunities.
The French River was a key connection in a continental trade network established by indigenous peoples. It became a key link in the fur trade era and was important in the establishment of Canada itself.
At Recollet Falls, there’s a short ride through a who’s who of historical names, from 17th-century Algonquin chief Iroquet to French explorer Samuel de Champlain, to Radisson and Groseilliers, who were instrumental in the founding of Bay of Hudson. Company.
Mashkinonje Provincial Park
Wetlands are important ecosystems that store and filter water, as well as providing diverse habitat for plants and animals.
Mashkinonje Provincial Park, 60 km southeast of Sudbury, protects a variety of wetland types (swamps, bogs, bogs and ponds), interspersed with rolling granite ridges along the western arm of Lake Nipissing.
The Loudon Peatland Trail meanders through one of the park’s many wetlands.
Loudon Basin Peatlands is a provincially significant wetland in the park that, from the air, looks like a whirlpool. It is a swirl of rocky ridges with wetlands in between.
The barrier-free portion of the Loudon Peatland Trail ends at an observation deck with panels interpreting the park’s wetland habitats.
The first 600m of the Loudon Peatland Trail is barrier-free and leads to a viewing platform at the edge of the peat bog. Fall is a good time to go, when even the wetland grasses turn golden.
Ready to hit the trails?
Plan your trip to see these unique sights today! Don’t forget to prepare for the weather.