Sun. Feb 25th, 2024
Sudbury Rocks for Fall Hiking!

September is one of the best times of year to get out into nature and hike!

Most of the month of September is still technically summer. While it is generally cooler on average than August, it is still hot and often non-humid. Not to mention, bugs are just a distant memory!

The Sudbury region is rich with opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy nature as summer arrives.

Eight provincial parks within an hour’s drive of Sudbury, six of which are open after the September long weekend. Each has its own character and set of recreational opportunities.

Here’s a selection of parks and trails to consider if you live, stay in town, or camp in the Sudbury area this September:

Halfway Lake Provincial Park

Open until September 24, 2023

Located on both sides of Highway 144, about an hour northwest of Sudbury, this park has a distinctly different character than other Sudbury parks.

forestThe hills of Halfway Lake come alive with the colors of the boreal forest in September

Its rugged landscape contains the rocky Canadian Shield but is covered by boreal forest, rather than the mix of maple and pine common south of Sudbury.

Jack Pine, Black Spruce, and Balsam Fir are the evergreen trees that dominate this forest, along with deciduous white birch, aspen, and other aspen species.

pathThree Island Lake is one of several lakes that the Hawk Ridge Trail passes through inside the park.

As fall arrives, deciduous trees turn gold, orange, yellow and peach, contrasting the evergreens.

Halfway Lake has three trails that share a trailhead.

The short Moose Crest Trail (2 km, moderate) with its viewpoint over the campsite and Lake Halfway itself.

Echo Pond Trail (6 km, moderate) is longer and really immerses hikers in the boreal forest.

person sitting lookingOne of the bedrock overlooks high above Three Island Lake on Hawk Ridge Trail

Falcon Crest Trail (15 km, strenuous) offers the longest and most challenging hike. This trail runs through the park to a chain of lakes on its west side, with excellent views highlighting its rugged landscapes of the Canadian Shield, forests and light blue lakes. Make this an all-day hike and enjoy some stunning views.

Chutes Provincial Park

Open until October 10, 2023

Although the river’s name means “Sand River” in French, it flows through slides over bedrock in a spectacular series of waterfalls, cascades and rapids known as the “Seven Sisters.”

Waterfall with fall colored trees in Chutes Provincial Park.The main attraction of the park: the Aux Sables River

This spectacle comes to a grand finale when the river reaches Main Falls. Visitors can stand on a viewing platform to enjoy the majesty of the river here.

During the first half of the 20th century, loggers built a huge log flume over this cliff to protect the wood they had cut in the winter and carried to the mill. The log flume or “hopper” is what gave the park its name.

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Collage of waterfalls in autumn.

Follow the Twin Bridges Trail (6 km) to see the river perform its acrobatics. This is an easy hike to the first viewpoints and the bridge over the river.

The second half is more typical of a park hiking trail and crosses the two bridges to the east side of the river.

Chutes is located about an hour west of Sudbury, off Highway 17 in the town of Massey.

Killarney Provincial Park

Open all year long

Killarney is a popular destination for hiking and canoeing, especially in autumn!

Many of the trailhead parking areas fill up on weekends. Weekdays are the best times to visit as fall colors reach their peak.

The crack It is a favorite destination for many visitors and its parking lot usually fills up first. The Crack is a difficult hike and before attempting it, hikers should ensure they are prepared, properly equipped, and have enough natural light to complete the route.

Do you need a different trail? You’re lucky! Killarney has six different trails to choose from to suit your skill level and schedule.

autumn view of the lakeAn autumn view of Lake of the Woods from the trail along the north ridge

If you haven’t tried the Forest Lake TrailIt should be your first stop!

This 3.5km trail (moderate to difficult) circles Lake of the Woods in the southeast corner of Killarney, accessible from Bell Lake Road.

Recommended as a counterclockwise walk, the trail climbs a granite ridge on the north side of the small, picturesque lake with great views of the lake below, passing rock moors and patches of forest, before descending into the small valley that contains the lake.

lake viewLooking towards Lake of the Woods

On the south side of the lake, a side trail crosses a boardwalk to a small island overlooking the lake to its west end.

Towering yellow birches and sugar maples add fall color to the forest in late September and early October.

French River Provincial Park

Open until October 22, 2023

One hour south of Sudbury on Highway 69/400, the highway crosses the scenic French River.

This river was the first river designated as Canadian Heritage due to its outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values. The French River remains a popular canoeing and kayaking destination among campers and backcountry paddlers for good reason.

rapidThe French River falls over the Recollet Falls

For those who are simply passing through or staying in the area but don’t want to get out on the river and camp in the backcountry, the award-winning French River Visitor Center with its “Voices of the River” exhibit hall offers an excellent overview of all its outstanding values.

He Recollet Falls Trail (2.5 miles round trip, moderate) leaves the Visitor Center and follows the river with plenty of views of the French River Gorge.

Follow the trail for 2 km to the Recollet waterfall. Here you will find the picturesque falls and a short shuttle around them that allows canoeists to avoid a dangerous fall. This transport is part of an indigenous network of waterways used for trade and travel for thousands of years, and was a key link in the Canadian fur trade.

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A sunset view of Recollet Falls from the historic harborA sunset view of Recollet Falls from the historic harbor

Located 70 km south of Sudbury, the French River Visitor Center is open through Thanksgiving, Thursday through Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Open until October 10, 2023

Just south of the French River, Grundy Lake contains a wide variety of landscapes, from lakes and wetlands to pine forests and open rock moors, making it a great place for walking.

The park has several great trails, but the Gut Lake Trail might be the one that best summarizes the park’s collection of diverse habitats.

person looking at the lake

The 2.5km trail winds through the towering White Pine, past light blue lakes and green wetlands, as well as traversing open, bedrock moors that have that iconic Canadian Shield look.

Glacial ice sculpted the bedrock here for thousands of years, grinding, smoothing, gouging and hollowing.

The ice left deep holes where lakes formed and shallow ones where wetlands formed.

wastelandsRocky moors are ideal for hiking, but are a challenging habitat for plants

The sand and gravel deposits were colonized by plants: at first, tundra and taiga, then boreal, and finally the present-day forest dominated by the towering white pine. Added to this mix of habitats are the open moors, often expansive, where plants barely survive in the crevices of the rock.

This mix of landscapes and habitats creates a diverse ecosystem full of plants and animals. It’s also a really interesting and scenic hike!

Grundy Lake Provincial Park is located between Sudbury and Parry Sound, one kilometer off Highway 69 on Highway 522.

Looking for more reasons to visit Grundy Lake?

Mashkinonje Provincial Park

Open all year long

Mashkinonje Provincial Park, located at the western end of Lake Nipissing, features a diverse wetland system that is home to all major wetland types, including swamps, bogs, bogs, and ponds.

swamp with yellow grass

Fall is a good time to enjoy this park. Even wetland grasses turn gold!

The first 600 meters of Mashkinonje Loudon Peatlands Trail It is barrier-free and leads to an observation platform at the edge of the peat bog.

group at the viewpoint

The trail has a fine surface and a long boardwalk that crosses the first wetland. There is also an observation deck overlooking the wetland with some interpretive panels.

The trail includes accessible parking, restrooms, and picnic tables at the trailhead.

Mashkinonje is 1 hour from North Bay and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Sudbury via Highway 64.

Keep your eyes on the Fall Color Report!

Are you planning your hike to include fall colors? Don’t miss the Ontario Parks Fall Color Report.

autumn colors

The parks update their fall color change weekly.

Have a good hike!

walker

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable walk.

Remember to carry water, wear appropriate footwear for the trail you are taking, bring a backpack with useful items (sunscreen, snacks, insect repellent, extra fleece or raincoat, flashlight, first aid kit).

You never know when you’ll need them!

Know the area you’re hiking through: take a physical map, make sure your phone is charged and has service, and watch for trail signs; Familiarize yourself with the trail layout at the trailhead before beginning your hike.

Learn more about how to hike safely.