Autumn in Ontario brings crisp weather, breathtaking scenery and the perfect opportunity to get adventurous. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled getaway or a pumpkin-spiced escape, fall in Ontario offers nearly endless options.
Below you’ll find activities located both near and far, and which are appropriate for day-, weekend- and week-long trips. Pick and choose to create the ultimate fall bucket list and make the most of this incredible season. After all, fall is the best season to travel in Ontario.
1. Hike Among the Fall Colours
Get your heart rate up while taking in the picture-perfect fall scenery on one of Ontario’s many hiking trails. From easy to more challenging, there are options for whatever the day calls for.
- Customize a private guided hiking tour in Northwestern Ontario with Outdoor Skills and Thrills
- Take a guided hiking tour in Algoma with Blaq Bear or Forest the Canoe
- Stay at Rock Island Lodge near Wawa and arrange for the staff at Naturally Superior Adventures to shuttle you to and from the many trailheads in Lake Superior Provincial Park
2. Chase Waterfalls
The rushing roar, misty breeze and renewed connection with nature—what’s not to love about waterfalls? Ontario offers some beautiful options to get your TLC vibes on. Visiting a waterfall is even more magical in autumn, framed by colourful leaves and without the throngs of people.
- Take a guided canoe trip down the Missinaibi River with MHO Adventures to view Thunderhouse Falls in all its glory
- Get outfitted by Smoothwater Outfitters for a trip down the Lady Evelyn River in Temagami with opportunities to view six major waterfalls along the way
- Hike the 10-km Silver Falls Trail along the Kaministiquia River at Silver Falls Provincial Park for views of Silver and Dog falls
- Take a waterfall tour on the Bruce Trail in the Hamilton/Halton Region with Grand Experiences
3. Go Camping
Pack your hot chocolate and snuggly layers—fall camping in Ontario is a must-do. With backcountry (both hike- and paddle-in) and car camping options aplenty, there’s an experience for everyone. Campfires are all the more inviting on cool fall nights and—best of all—there are no bugs to contend with! Some camping areas are open year-round and some are seasonal, so be sure to check dates while you’re trip planning.
- Car camp or paddle to a backcountry site at Restoule Provincial Park near North Bay
- Paddle to a backcountry site at French River Provincial Park near Sudbury
- Car camp or hike to a backcountry site at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay
- Car camp at Latibule Resort & Campground near Thunder Bay
4. Go Treetop Trekking & Ziplining
What better way to take in Ontario’s fall colours than by soaring over the treetops? Make sure you have a trusty lanyard for your phone, because you won’t want to miss a second of this gold-star Instagram content!
- Take a half-mile ride on the zipline at Eagle Canyon Adventures in Thunder Bay
- Go ziplining at Logos Land Resort in Cobden
- Take a canopy tour at Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve
5. hike to a Lookout & Take in Panoramic Views
Ontario certainly isn’t short on breathtaking views, especially during the fall when you’ll be awed by the display of autumn colours. You don’t necessarily have to hike far to get a great view either—there are plenty of options that require a short walk.
- Hike the trail to the canyon’s rim at Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park near Thunder Bay
- Hike up to the Eagle's Nest Lookout in Calabogie
- Hike up to a cliff-top view on the Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island
- Hike up to a lookout over Old Woman Bay on the Nokomis Trail in Lake Superior Provincial Park
- Hike up to a lookout over Charleston Lake on the Blue Mountain Trail at Charleston Lake Provincial Park
- Take in panoramic views on the Fire Tower Trail in Temagami
- Hike to the top of the Robertson Cliffs in Algoma
6. Do Some Stargazing
Look up, take a deep breath and let yourself be awed when you experience the night sky free of the city light. As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, you’ll have an even better view of the sky, making autumn one of the best seasons for stargazing. Plus, each season provides a unique view of the constellations and planets.
- Go backcountry camping at Killarney Provincial Park, a designated Dark Sky Preserve
- Car camp at Gordon’s Park, a designated Dark Sky Preserve on Manitoulin Island, and spend all night gazing up at the stars
- Frontcountry camp at the Agawa Bay campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park, one of the darkest Dark Sky Preserves in the world. There is a designated observation site on the beach.
7. View wildlife
Fall is a prime time of year for wildlife viewing. Many animals, such as bears, are more active during this time as they finish their preparations for winter. As well, as the leaves begin to fall, animals will become easier to spot among the trees. Keep an eye out for moose, lynx, beavers, deer, black bears, otters and more as you travel through the province’s pristine wilderness.
- Take a guided canoe trip in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park with Goldseekers Canoe Outfitting & Wilderness Expeditions for the chance to moose, bears and, yes, caribou
- Take a guided canoe trip down the historic Mattawa River with Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitter to see otters, beavers and deer
8. Explore Geological Wonders
Ontario is home to some truly special geological sites. Escarpments, mountains, canyons, potholes, badlands, caves, bluffs and more can be found all over this diverse and vast province. See exposed quartzite, granite and limestone. Take a tour with a local guide and get an expert’s insight into these unique places, or do your own research and see what adventures you can put together. As a bonus, to experience some of these spots you’ll need to be creative to get there—think hiking, rock climbing or paddling.
- View the quartzite ridges and pink granite mountains in Killarney Provincial Park
- Visit the Cheltenham Badlands at Credit Valley Conservation Area near Caledon
- View potholes at Rockwood Conservation Area near Guelph
- See the flowerpot rock pillars at Flowerpot Island in Fathom Five National Marine Park
- Get a view of the sleeping giant from the Thunder Bay waterfront
9. Go Birding
Ornithologists, rejoice! There are plentiful bird-watching opportunities all over Ontario in the fall. Migration is in full swing and you’ll be treated to spectacular displays of birds such as the yellow warbler and blue-winged teal moving south to their winter homes. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are ideal locations to catch a glimpse of turkey vultures, golden eagles or maybe even a snowy owl.
10. Go Surfing on the Great Lakes
Get ready for a thrilling ride—this adventure is not for the faint of heart. Great Lakes surfing is increasing in popularity, but it requires some planning and flexibility. Surfing in these areas is heavily dependent on storms to create waves or is done with a windsurfing board (picture a surfboard meets a sailboat). During the fall, temperatures drop and you’ll need to have the proper gear to make sure you have a safe and fun experience. If you’re below an intermediate level surfer, take advantage of a local guiding company to provide the right gear and direction.
- Join in the fun at Waasaashkaa: The Gathering of the Great Lakes Surfers, a free event taking place October 14-16, 2022 in Terrace Bay
- Take a surfing lesson on Lake Erie with Surf On The Lakes
- Find all the gear you need at Surf The Greats in Toronto
- Learn where to surf and rent boards on Lake Huron
11. Explore caves
Caves of every shape and size can be found on hundreds of hiking trails in Ontario. If you keep an eye on your surroundings, you just may spot one to explore. In fall, they'll be easier to see as the foliage thins out. Of course, there are also a number of established cave attractions in the province. Often these caves have quite the stories behind their discovery and exploration throughout the years.
- Take a guided tour at Bonnechere Caves in Eganville
- Explore seven caves at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area near Peterborough
- Go on a self-guided tour at Greig's Caves on the Bruce Peninsula
12. Go on a canoe trip
Grab your paddle and hit the water—there’s no shortage of places to canoe trip in Ontario. Take your pick from lakes and rivers, and weekend trips and week-long excursions on established canoe routes. Make sure you keep your camera or phone handy because the classic autumn colours will be simply stunning reflected in the water along shore. Outfitters are plentiful in most areas and will help make sure you have a memorable adventure.
- Take a guided canoe trip or a rent a canoe from Forest The Canoe in Algoma
- Get outfitted or take a guided trip with Wabakimi Canoe Outfitters & EcoLodge
- Rent a canoe from Superior Outfitters in Rossport
13. Witness a Salmon Run
Salmon runs might not be top of mind when you think of fall activities, but this wild sight is worth putting on your fall to-do list. Salmon live in cool, deep waters but lay their eggs in rivers and streams. To get to these spots, they swim en masse upstream, jumping and putting on quite a show as they make their way to the very place they were born to lay their own eggs. There are many places to see the salmon run in the fall in Ontario. Your best bet will be rapid sets on rivers that are tributaries of the Great Lakes.
- Try the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie
- Visit the Kaministiquia River in Thunder Bay
- Travel to Chippewa Falls in Algoma District
- Check the Spanish River in Massey
14. Stay at a Resort
Pack all your coziest fall clothes and escape for a weekend among the fall colours at one of Ontario’s stunning resorts. Whether you’re looking for something with a rustic lodge vibe, or a more modern feel, there’s something for you!
- Stay at the Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa in Timmins
- Kick back at Killarney Mountain Lodge in Killarney
- Book a cabin at the Brennan Harbour Resort in Spanish
15. Cross a Suspension Bridge
There is something wondrous about the feeling of being gently suspended over a picturesque autumn landscape. We know the old saying goes, “don’t look down”—but in this case, we highly recommend it! Ontario is dotted with these unique structures and they make for the perfect fall activity as you walk over top and through the colourful woods.
- Go for a hike to the White River Suspension Bridge in Pukaskwa National Park
- Pull off the highway to walk across the William E. Small Bridge in French River Provincial Park
- Walk over the suspension footbridge at Eagle Canyon Adventures in Dorian
16. Go mountain biking
Mountain biking is a great way to get active and explore new areas in any season, but fall is an ideal time to hit the trails. You’ll love the scenic colours and new landscapes that Ontario’s singletrack brings you.
17. bike ontario's road and gravel cycling routes
Road and gravel routes abound in this cycling wonderland and you’ll never run out of spots to add to your bucket list of cycling adventures. If you don’t own a bike, no worries. Rental and guiding companies are available that can kit you out for whatever your trip calls for.
- Take an urban or gravel bike tour in Sault Ste. Marie with Red Pine Tours
- Ride the Voyageur Cycling Route from Sudbury to Ottawa
- Take a five-day cycling tour with Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates
18. Go Horseback Riding
Go horseback riding among the fall colours that splash Ontario’s landscape with a riot of reds, oranges and yellows during the fall for a picture-perfect adventure. Local trail riding companies will provide everything you need to enjoy this unique experience and tailor it to what works best for your party.
- Go for a ride at Honora Bay Riding Stable on Manitoulin Island
- Hit the trails at Whispered Dreams Ranch in Thunder Bay
19. Visit a Secluded Beach
Whether you fancy a chilly fall dip or simply seek stunning sunset views over the water, Ontario hosts an abundance of secluded and off the beaten track beaches, yours to enjoy this season.
- Visit Old Woman Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park
- Spend the day at Providence Bay Beach on Manitoulin Island
- Check out these pristine beach campsites in Ontario
20. Make the Most of the Last Cottage Weekend
Wrap up your cottage season in style with a weekend that includes all the fall cottage life staples. Have a campfire, bundle up with a warm mug of tea on a misty morning on the dock, go for hikes and spend evenings eating comfort food.
- Travel by floatplane or canoe to Cabin Falls Ecolodge, nestled in the heart of Temagami
- Stay at a cabin at Laurentian Lodge, near Elliot Lake
- Sea kayak to Porphyry Lighthouse for a weekend escape on Lake Superior
21. Ride a Mountain Coaster
Looking for a family-friendly fall activity? Head to Blue Mountain Resort and zip through the trees on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster—a self-driven coaster that you control the speed of, ranging from 1-42 km/h. Make sure you have your phone handy as this is a perfect photo op, especially with little ones!
22. Go Glamping
Head for nature in style at one of Ontario’s glamping gems. Having access to the finer things while being surrounded by nature means you’ll truly be able to relax and enjoy the fall landscape.
23. Go Trail Running
Lace up and hit the trails on a gorgeous fall run on one of Ontario’s picturesque trails. With choices that are off the beaten path (or, trail) or closer to towns and cities, your trail running options are nearly endless.
24. GO ROCK CLIMBING
What better way to enjoy the fall foliage than by gaining a vantage point from above? Outdoor rock climbing provides its own rush, but being able to look out over the colourful forest as you gain altitude is an added reward.
25. GO PADDLEBOARDING
Glide across calm waters and find the best fall views. Or, float in place while practicing yoga and feel the extra serenity fall surroundings invoke. If you love paddleboarding in the summer, why not extend your season and give it a go in the autumn as well? If you’ve never tried paddleboarding before, the fall is a great time to learn as waterways empty of summer traffic.
- Take a SUP yoga sessions with Rebel Soul in Timmins
- Learn basic and advanced paddleboard skills with Naturally Superior Adventures
jump feet first into fall in ontario
Fall truly is the best time to explore Ontario. Almost every summer activity can still be done, without the heat, bugs and crowds. And it also allows for many festive activities, that just wouldn't be the same without the colourful leaves and crisp air. This is a pretty extensive list of fall activities in the province—make sure you get out and enjoy at least one this season!