You don’t have to leave southern Ontario for a great fall experience. Rondeau Provincial Park, an oasis of nature located between Windsor and London, has provided visitors with just that for more than 125 years.
Ontario’s second oldest provincial park has it all: spectacular colours, vibrant wildlife and activities for the whole family.
Here are five reasons why Rondeau Provincial Park is a must-see this fall:
1. Events throughout the season
Join park staff on October 12 for a Halloween celebration, complete with costume contest, pumpkin carving contest, games and more.
Rondeau staff in their Halloween-themed costumes, 2016
The annual Chili Cookoff is another popular event, taking place this year on October 19. Contestants will show off their award-winning chili recipes, with prizes up for grabs.
Discovery programs, including walks, evening programs and children’s programs, also run until late fall. Keep an eye on the events page for more details.
2. Migrations of many types
Do you want world-class bird watching? The fall Rondeau season is for you.
The Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways overlap the park, making it a popular stop for birds migrating south. More than 360 species of birds have been identified in the Rondeau area.
A rose-breasted grosbeak, which flies south in September or October.
But birds are not the only creatures that leave for the winter. Rondeau hosts a Monarch Butterfly Migration Festival every September to also celebrate his journey.
3. Fall colors everywhere
There’s no better place in Southern Ontario to see the fall colors than the Rondeau hiking trails.
The Spice Bush trail is particularly beautiful. It winds through a southern hardwood forest of old growth tulips, American beech and maples. You can explore the transition between the Carolinian forest and the swamp, one of the best places in the park for bird watching.
Fall colors come from more than just the trees; They can also be seen on the forest floor among wildflowers. The yellow flower of goldenrod produces seeds that are eaten by migratory Rondeau birds. Azure and Fringe Blue asters add shades of blue to a predominantly red and orange forest, while New England asters add purple color.
Even poison ivy comes to life with yellow and red flowers and bright white berries that provide food for wintering animals (just don’t touch them!).
4. The weather
Did you know that Rondeau is at the same latitude as part of Northern California? In the southern tip of Ontario, it is sometimes hot until late October. Northern Ontarians will want to visit to enjoy the last fleeting moments of summer before a long winter approaches.
The location also means that the sun rises later in the day. Fall visitors can sleep in and still enjoy watching a beautiful sunrise over the calm waters of Lake Erie.
5. An exploration of indigenous culture at the Visitor Center
All visitors must stop by and view the exploration of indigenous culture at the Visitor Center. For the past year and a half, Rondeau has partnered with the Aamjiwnaang and Eelunaapèewii Lahkèewiit First Nations to incorporate art, nature and Indigenous teachings into the centre. This includes a Indian store and work by Aamjiwnaang artist John William.
Painting by John William at the Rondeau Visitor Center
There’s no better time to visit than when the summer crowds have disappeared. The Visitor Center is open:
- September: Thursday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- October: Saturday and Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Start planning your trip
The beauty of southern Ontario awaits your arrival. Overnight camping and day use are available through October 27, so there’s still plenty of time to book your fall visit.
Interested in planning ahead for your next day trip? Our visitors will now be able to obtain a daily vehicle permit in advance.
Advance daily vehicle permits are available at 7:00 am, five days prior to arrival date. Reservations can be made online (here’s a tutorial on how to book, including how to use your seasonal permit).
See you soon!
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