Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
Best Fall Adventure Destination: Paddle, Bike, and Hike in Restoule Provincial Park

Influencer Diana Lee lives for adventure, the outdoors, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP)! Find out what @only1phoenixx likes on Instagram and Twitter.

Experience the magic of fall in a park that has it all: Restoule Provincial Park!

From quiet paddling routes to scenic trails for hikers or mountain bikers, there’s something for everyone! And this tranquil park doesn’t hold back on the vibrant colors of fall!

A tent, SUP, bike and hammock set up at a fall camp in Restoule.Just from the gear you see here, guess what I’ll be doing on this camping trip 🙂

Restoule Provincial Park is just over four hours from Toronto and well worth the drive. The winding path leading to the park warmly welcomes visitors and gives them a preview of the stunning autumn views.

A path lined with autumn colored trees in Restoule.

I first visited Restoule in the summer during a stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) road trip to northeastern Ontario. Although my stay here was short, I fell in love with this cozy campsite. I knew fall would bring a whole new experience, but I didn’t know how magical it would be.

Some tips when considering a fall adventure in Restoule:

  • Check out the Ontario Parks Fall Color Report. This is an incredibly useful resource, especially for photographers and nature lovers who want to time Paddleboard on the shore.your visits with the leaves changing color. Some like golden yellow tones, others expect reds, while I like a mix of everything!
  • Always check the weather and bring insulated layers, waterproof and windproof gear. Although it rained all three days I was there, being prepared allowed me to adapt to the weather conditions and continue enjoying the beauty of the park, making this trip my most memorable fall adventures to date!
  • Can’t decide whether to camp in the countryside (motorhome) or in the countryside in Restoule? Consider the activities you want to do. Please note that Restoule offers canoe, kayak, SUP and mountain bike rentals. This way, you won’t have to worry about bringing your own equipment, or if you have a spontaneous urge to paddle or hit the trails, you can rent it!

Here are some activities I enjoyed during my stay in Restoule with some suggested routes, tips and photo inspiration:

Row your heart out: canoe, kayak, stand up paddle board (SUP)

As an avid stand-up paddleboarder, I usually find a way to fit some SUP time into my trips and adventures, and Restoule is the perfect paddleboarding paradise, especially in the fall with all its beautiful colors contrasting the blue of the! open water!

A SUP on Stormy Lake in Restoule.The beautiful view when launching my SUP on Stormy Lake.

Before embarking on your paddling adventure, check the weather, water levels and conditions, and go with a partner. Always wear the appropriate gear for the weather, a life jacket/PFD and a SUP leash if you’re on a paddleboard, and review Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide (which includes information for SUP riders).

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Beginner paddlers can hang out close to shore around the beaches and still enjoy the fall scenery. For more experienced paddlers, Restoule’s one-day paddling route map suggests five fun routes.

One-day paddling routes in Restoule.

There are also rentals available at three different locations in the park, two of which are right next to the campgrounds. This means you can get out of your sleeping bag, walk to the lake, and enjoy your coffee while watching the sunrise!

Making coffee on SUP on the lake.Enjoying coffee on board on Lake Restoule

There are also two piers and three piers with several waterfront campsites!

Check these areas off your list:

Whether by canoe, kayak or SUP, paddlers can explore three different parts of Restoule:

The north side of stormy lake It is where you can see the 100 meter cliff lined with ancient cedars at the base and the iconic fire tower. Observe weather and wind conditions to avoid being blown into the open lake.

A man in his canoe with his dog on the lake.Matthew and his Border Collie, Quinn, are always up for a paddle!

The south side of Lake Restoule It’s a perfect spot for those cool, misty paddle sessions rolling off the lake early in the morning, where you can hear the loons in the distance.

He river on the west side it connects both lakes (a short 200m portage is necessary just before the bridge during the fall to avoid the rocky, shallow section of the rapids). Watch the pine needles fall as you paddle through this quiet, sheltered spot.

Hit the trails: mountain bike.

Mountain biking in Restoule is another magical way to experience fall. Stroll through the crisp, colorful forest as falling leaves float past you.

A bicycle on a trail in autumn.

If you don’t own a mountain bike or decide you want to ride one after a trip through the countryside, Restoule offers excellent rental bikes made by Giant. A helmet and bike lock are also provided – all you need to do is hop on and go!

This park really makes it easy for you to play outside.

During my visit I enjoyed Angel’s Point Trail; I rode it several times! The wide trail is an easy 2.8km loop, with the option to take a more challenging inland loop.

While this was the closest trail to my campsite, having a bike with me meant I could easily explore every corner of the park without having to drive.

On top of a bicycle wheel on a trail in autumn.

Just like paddling, where there is a route that will take you to explore the different bodies of water that surround the park, there is a trail along each of these places to paddle!

Ranger Point Trail offers a viewpoint to have another view of the cliff, while the river trail takes you over the bridge and group picnic area with tall pine trees.

Tip: Bring a snack or lunch no matter which trail you hike, as there are secluded picnic tables and lovely spots to take a break. Places like this also mean you can easily meet up with your paddling friends as you hit the trails!

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A picturesque place where you can go by bike.

While some parts of the trails were too muddy to ride without ruining the trail, riding the paths around the maple-lined campsite was still a wonderful pleasure.

Keep an eye out for wildlife: a deer crossed right in front of me on the main park road and we passed a porcupine nibbling on something just off a trail at dusk.

Enjoy panoramic and scenic viewpoints: hiking

If you are visiting Restoule for the first time or only have enough time to choose one thing to do: walk around the Fire Tower Trail.

Not only is this the number one hiking trail in the park, but it is also he trail that takes you to the fire tower featured on the park patch and decal (be sure to pick one up with your Ontario Parks Passport if you haven’t already!)

Diana Lee on a trail in Restoule.Spoiler alert: the view from the top is spectacular. Video credit: Mateo (@Matthew416).

And whenever there is a fire tower, chances are there is an impressive observation deck.

The 4.1 km trail starts out easy enough, but gets steep and technical at points.

Diana Lee walking a rocky trail.

Take your time with all the rocky points and enjoy the colorful forest!

Diana Lee lurking on the trail.

Open water swimming

While most people consider swimming a summer activity, some people take every opportunity to jump into a lake—as long as there’s no ice!

A swimmer in the water in autumn.

I invited my friend and Ironman athlete Mauro (who is also part of GLOW, the Great Lakes open water swimming community) to take a dip in Restoule. He is always training for his next event, so I often act as SUPPORT in the water (get it 😉) during his swims.

I figured the 2.5km distance from the boat ramp to the cliff wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary.

Or so I thought.

A rock face topped by fallen trees.

“Swimming in Stormy Lake in Restoule Provincial Park was an exceptional experience. Every time she turned her head to breathe, she admired the crystal clear water that reflected the stunning colors of autumn. Not only was the view of the cliffs rising above the water a unique landmark, but the wild landscape made this an incredibly enjoyable experience that I absorbed with every stroke. “I’m already planning my return,” Mauro said after swimming.

With Matthew in a canoe and Mauro swimming in the water, each of us had a different perspective on the water, but we all embraced the cooler fall temperatures with a sense of outdoor adventure!

Edited by: Diana @ only1phoenixx. Drone images: @Matthew416.

There is always more to see and do

No matter what activity you decide to do in Restoule in autumn, you will enjoy stunning views and a relaxing moment in nature.

Diana Lee practicing SUP on the lake.

I was so tempted to extend my stay until the leaves fell because of all the fun ways to get out and about in Restoule.

Here are some additional fall activity suggestions:

  • fishing
  • fungus/fungus spotting
  • nature photography
  • trail running

Look no further than Restoule Provincial Park for your next fall adventure destination!