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Best Time for Fall Colours in Ontario
Between mid-September to mid-October, Ontario’s landscape transforms into a brilliant tapestry with multiple shades of bright reds, vibrant oranges and golden yellows. It’s the best time for a fall bike ride and tour in Ontario.
Where are the Best Fall Colours in Ontario?
First to change are the province’s beautiful hardwood forests—warm amber, fiery orange, and brilliant crimson burnish each leaf until the entire canopy is aflame with the colours of fall. In Northern Ontario, the golden tamarack forests are next—these unique members of the pine family are the only Canadian conifers that shed their needles each year.
The Ontario Parks’ Fall Colour Report offers weekly updates on how the leaves are changing across the province. The report provides a map of current fall foliage conditions at 62 parks and surrounding areas.
It a great tool to help you plan your fall colour bike ride, vacation or weekend bike getaway. Camp or stay in roofed accommodation.
where are the best fall bike rides?
BEST GUIDED FALL BIKE TOURS AND EVENTS
Participating in a guided fall bike ride or special event is a fun, social way to enjoy great fall touring while learning about a new area and meeting new people with a shared interest. All the logistics have been done for you – just book and go.
ALVAR FALL BIKE TOUR
Manitoulin Island’s all-inclusive Alvar Cycle Tour explores nearly 300 km of country roads and island attractions on a five-day tour with four nights at lakeside lodges and cottages. Two tours in early and mid September coincide with Manitoulin’s changing leaves and early autumn harvests.
PEDAL YOUR ARTS
Local adventure guide Yours Outdoors offers a variety of guided bike tours through peak leaf season, including the Pedal Your Arts day trip series. Meet local artists and watch as they demonstrate their craft on the easy 10-12 km Tour du Village Tour, moderate 35 km Gears for Guilford Tour or the challenging 60 km Rolling Hills of Harburn Tour.
FALL COLOURS CYCLING RETREAT
Join Madawaska Kanu Centre’s Fall Colours Cycling Retreat for one to four days of gorgeous riding and campfire camaraderie. Each day you’ll choose from various road or mountain biking routes, and then return to MKC for a delicious meal and comfortable room or cabana.
6-DAY FALL COLOUR BIKE RIDE
See the best of beautiful Bruce County on a guided and fully supported six-day cycling tour along Lake Huron and Georgian Bay with Humdinger Bicycle Tours. This late September tour visits beaches, lighthouses, and villages, wrapping up on the Bruce Peninsula beneath the white cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment.
BRUCE PENINSULA LIGHTHOUSE GRAVEL GRAN FONDO
Experience the peninsula’s finest gravel back roads and secret trails on the one-day Bruce Peninsula Gravel Gran Fondo, held early October annually. Route options from 30 km to 15 km skirt the shoreline between Lion’s Head and Cabot Head lighthouses, boasting panoramic lake vistas and canopy-draped roads painted with fall colours.
HASTINGS HIGHLANDS HILLY HUNDRED
Avid cyclists who prefer punishment to pampering will want to sign up for the Hastings Highlands Hilly Hundred, billed as Ontario’s Toughest Century Ride. Whether you select the classic 160 km century or the Canadian 100 km century ride, you’ll face nearly 1,000 metres of elevation gain while spinning through the colourful hardwood forests, small lakes, steep hills and peaceful river valleys around Bancroft. Sensible cyclists can also enjoy a shorter 40 km fun circuit. The event is held in early October annually.
FALL BIKE RIDES WITH AWESOME VIEWS
GREY COUNTRY - The escarpment makes for an incredibly scenic backdrop for any ride in this area. Road riders should try the 85-km Island View ride heading north out of Owen Sound or a shorter route with big climb on the Blue Mountain Loop. Wanting to stick to an off-road ride? The Georgian Trail is tree-lined and sure to be stunning this time of the year.
HALIBURTON HIGHLANDS - The views and the hills are equally breathtaking in the Haliburton Highlands, where Technicolor forests cradle deep blue lakes. A smattering of pretty villages are linked by meandering roads that lend themselves to looping day trips or even a weekend adventure. Local cycling group Cycle Haliburton produces a map of recommended routes, as well as resources for visiting cyclists. There are lots of fall colour bike rides to explore. A 109-km looped route passing through Tory Hill and Kinmount: an easier 39-km loop following in part Kashagawigamog (say that fast!) Lake Road; or the 33-km County Rail Trail to Kinmount, connecting to longer Victoria Rail Trail.
GREAT WEEKEND FALL COLOUR BIKE RIDES
MUSKOKA - The Muskoka region offers an intoxicating combination of twisty back roads and fiery red maples, highlighting panoramic views of oranges and yellows. Add a bluebird sky and the emerald spires of Muskoka’s hallmark pines, and you have a pedalling paradise. Check the region’s detailed fall colour report for the best places and times to visit, and then choose from a dozen popular cycling routes.
ST. JOSEPH ISLAND - Just east of Sault Ste. Marie, St. Joseph Island is renowned for its maple syrup producers, which should tell you something about the scarlet sugar maple canopies that adorn the island in the fall. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail makes a 70-km circuit of the island, with plenty of opportunities to get off your bike and savour the sights and tastes of St. Joseph’s friendly communities. Discover more island rides here.
HALDIMAND - Looking for a weekend long ride? Then this 135-km, two-day ride itinerary that starts in Caledonia, follows the Grand River to Lake Erie and loops back after an overnight in Dunneville is the perfect fall bike trip. Get a preview with cute local guides. For some fall day rides in the area use the new interactive cycling map.
LATE SEASON CAMPING OR CABIN ESCAPES
GEORGIAN BAY ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK – Fall is the best time to explore Beausoleil island, where no vehicles are allowed. Accessible by Parks Canada’s DayTripper boat from Honey Harbour, you can rent a bike at the island’s visitor centre to explore over 20 km of pleasant trails through mature maple-beech forest, or more challenging riding to windswept pines, lake vistas, and granite shores. Secluded campsites and waterfront cabins allow cyclists to extend their park visit overnight.
ROAD SHARING MADE EASY
CALEDON - Forks of the Credit Road is famed for fall colours and draws a huge crowd. With the reduced speed limit of 30 km and speed bumps installed, sharing the road with vehicles is easier. Experienced cyclists can try the 30-km Credit River Ride loop, just off the Greenbelt Route, trail riders can too enjoy the area along the Caledon Trailway, 37 km connecting park lands and villages.
Ride The Rail Trails
For an intimate view of the changing leaves, Ontario’s widespread network of former railways converted to recreational trails are perfect for casual bike riders or families. Even avid riders will appreciate not having to jockey with vehicular leaf-peepers in bustling hot spots like Algonquin Park.
There's a reason thousands of people flock to Algonquin Provincial Park in autumn each year. The red and sugar maples shine brightest from mid-September to early October, followed by the “golden encore” of aspens, birch, and beech, with the tamaracks wrapping up the display in mid to late October. Escape the traffic jams on Highway 60 and witness the rolling hills of colour from your saddle on the park’s Old Railway Bike Trail, which runs 16 km from Rock Lake Campground to near Cache Lake. Bicycle rentals are available near the trail’s midway point at the Lake of Two Rivers Store. For comprehensive, real-time updates and fall colours viewing tips, check the Algonquin Park Fall Colour Report.
Following along the southern shore of Georgian Bay, cyclists on the 35-km Georgian Trail enjoy lake views on one side and the jewel-toned steeps of the escarpment on the other. Autumn also brings brilliant red apples—and tasty apple-infused treats—to the orchards and country markets straddling the trail between the towns of Meaford, Thornbury, and Collingwood.
Not a rail trail, but deserving of a mention here, is Sault Ste. Marie’s Hub Trail, which takes cyclists on a stunning fall colour tour without leaving the city. This scenic 23-km circuit links the city’s waterfront, downtown and historic districts with its greenbelts and forest parks. A leafy oasis in the northwest corner of “the Soo,” Fort Creek Conservation Area offers some of the finest viewing.
BEST FALL MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES
Carving through the trees on a mountain bike is an exhilarating, up-close way to experience the fall colours.
Minutes from downtown Sudbury, fantastic trail networks in Kivi Park, Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, and the Walden Trails weave through a magnetic landscape of Precambrian shield outcrops, sparkling lakes, and hardwood forest. The bare-rock riding here is addictive, so be sure to take a break at numerous trailside panoramas.
Cross-country riders will find over 50 km of fast and flowy singletrack just north of Sault Ste. Marie at the Hiawatha Bike Trails and Stokely Creek and Algoma Highlands Conservancy. Algoma’s rugged topography and extensive maple forests create a breathtaking autumn backdrop, offering something for riders of every level with trails ranging from easy to technical. In the Soo, Vélorution rents top-of-the-line bikes to get you trail ready.
GRAB YOUR BIKE AND GO
When the leaves begin to change, grab your bike and get rolling on these colourful fall bike rides. Autumn is one of the best seasons to enjoy mountain bike trails and cycling on roadways, trails and bike paths.