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The View From Behind Bars: 2016 Fall Colours Report

The View From Behind Bars: 2016 Fall Colours Report

From Ontario's Highlands through Algonquin Park, Muskoka and up to Manitoulin Island, the leaves are ablaze with colour. Here's where to find the best roads to bask in the glory of Ontario's biggest show of the year!



You will be happy to hear that the 2016 fall colour research ride, which took place just a few days back, was less than spectacular. How is that a good thing, you might ask? If this report was all about how magnificent the fall colours are, then I might as well just say, “You missed it.” The changing leaves are a progressive thing: blah today, on fire tomorrow. It was a purposeful decision to hit the road early in the fall season to see how things are shaping up. Here’s what we found.

Algonquin Park

The granddaddy of Ontario's fall colour peeping rarely disappoints. The west end was already approaching peak colour, but things got much greener as we travelled east, so there is still time. Highway 60 is always a spectacular ride with its sweeping curves, good surface, lake views and of course, busloads of selfie stick-touting tourists. You can’t have it all, I guess.

Ontario's Highlands

Photo location: Madawaska Road

Crisscrossed with spectacular roads and serving up constant tree top views of the rolling hills all around, Ontario's Highlands might just be the premiere fall colour viewing from the seat of your motorcycle destination in the province. Though there were impressive pockets of colour, the grand views were still fairly green.

Muskoka

Photo location Hyw 518

Heading along Highway 117 and 35 toward Algonquin was splendid, but the twisty road mecca of Highways 141, 518, 124 and 632 are a few days behind. I don't know if that’s a bad thing, considering there are more turns and twists per kilometre here than anywhere else in the province—the only colour you might be fixated on is the yellow in the middle of the road. By the way, Highway 632 is freshly paved south of Rosseau and absolutely spectacular.

Manitoulin Island

Photo taken at McLeans Mountain Lookout. Getting up there means a soft gravel twisty and steep uphill so rider beware, but the view is glorious

I must say, I was a bit surprised with the Manitoulin’s lack of early season colour. We spent a full day riding the Island end to end. With no traffic lights, only a handful of stop signs and virtuality no traffic, it was like we had the place to ourselves. If you prefer your fall colour viewing in the company of very few, Manitoulin Island is the place to be

Bruce Peninsula 

Photo location Isthmus Bay Road

With the map showing Highway 6 as the main road north, touring options on the Bruce Peninsula might look a bit slim. But with a bit of effort, you can easily spend the day exploring the coastlines of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron with Tobermory as a worthy destination. Passing through a week ago the fall colour was just scratching the surface with the Georgian Bay blue still the dominating colour.

There you have it.  A “chase is better than the catch” 1,800-km fall colour tour in the name of research. We might’ve missed the big show, but things are ramping up nicely. If fall colours from the seat of your bike is what you’re after, the time is now. The next two weekends will be epic.

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