Fall is in the air and it’s time to plan an excursion to enjoy the best leaf viewing hotspots. Plan to get outside when the forests reach their pinnacle of colour, usually around the beginning of October. Not sure where to go to take in nature’s splendor? There is no shortage of nature destinations, scenic drives, hiking trails and wonderful walks in Hamilton Halton Brant.
Experience Carolinian forest in its colourful fall cloak along Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) 27 kilometres of walking trails that include over 20 lookouts, 7 boardwalks and 21 stream crossings. You’ll want to hike both in the Arboretum and along the nature trails.
Although leaf viewing choices here are almost endless, don’t miss the Rock Garden in autumn. This unique spot for uncommon perennials, flowering conifers, Japanese maples, ornamental flowering trees and water features displays remarkable fall colours and fantastic textures in the form of berries, seed heads and the colourful foliage of trees and shrubs.
A different type of colour adorns the garden beds at Laking Garden, where irises pop up on the Lower Terrace and autumn crocus and lily-of-the-field make their way out of the ground, marking the borders of the garden in pink and yellow. Vines, trees and perennials also provide fabulous interest in Hendrie Park.
RBG posts fall colour reports and provides a blooms calendar on its website to help you time your visit.
Through some of the hiking trails along the Niagara Escarpment discover fall waterfall wonders surrounded by beautiful changing foliage. Beginning September 19, Spencer Gorge Conservation Area, which is home to Tew Falls and Webster Falls as well as the stunning Dundas Peak, will offer reservations for two-hour hiking windows. Reservations must be made online in advance. Not too far away you can find Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Burlington, which is home to another spectacular waterfall, is also taking online reservations for fall visits.
These picturesque towns boast quiet, tree-lined streets that merge into driver-pleasing countryside, with cafes, gourmet shops and farms beckoning along the way. Take Snake Road, a winding, tree canopied driver’s (and cyclists’) dream that starts in Burlington and leads you to Waterdown.
Consider a stop at Dyments, a pumpkin patch and farm market in Dundas that sits just past the crest of Sydenham Hill, offering epic views from the top of the Niagara Escarpment. If you need a warm up from the autumn chill, Detour Café offers great brunches and the city’s best coffee, located in the heart of Dundas’s quaint retail strip.
Fall-coloured trees make a walk on the Bruce Trail and Niagara Escarpment extra enjoyable and the conservation areas of Halton and the Credit Valley are perfect spots to access these famous natural wonders.
Experience the Niagara Escarpment’s cultural heritage at Limehouse Conservation Area in the Halton Hills. Seeing the vibrant red, yellows and orange leaves in one of the last old growth forests in Ontario is a “natural”, and here the Bruce Trail and its side trails take visitors through a variety of Escarpment landscapes. Head to its geological heart at an area known as the “Hole in the Wall,” where ladders cut through fissures in the escarpment rock.
Terra Cotta Conservation Area is a trail lover’s paradise with a variety of trails that run through the forests, fields, lakes and ponds of the Niagara Escarpment’s surroundings and let you experience natural settings close to urban and rural developments.
Spanning roughly one hundred square kilometres across and near the Niagara Escarpment, Rattlesnake Point has bold faced cliffs,13 kilometres of trails, and lots of scenic views and lookout points to populate your Instagram account with fall foliage photos.
If you’re looking for an exciting natural adventure on your hunt for fall foliage, head to Eramosa Karst Conservation Area. Filled with underground caves and streams, meadows and forest, it is also home to what is believed to be the largest number of unique karst features in any protected area in the province. Trails, boardwalks and bridges encourage exploration of these unique geological formations that include a natural dolomitic limestone bridge and Ontario’s tenth largest cave. On the outskirts of Stoney Creek, this unique watershed area has four kilometres of trails to explore this autumn.
Canoe, kayak or raft the Grand River and enjoy the fall-painted leaves of the surrounding Carolinian forest. Grand Experiences, Grand River Rafting, and Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co. are all great local outfitters that will provide your group with the expert guidance and gear you need for a memorable trip.
The 2-kilometre Six Nations of the Grand River Nature Trail in Ohsweken takes hikers on a journey through Carolinian forests and is a great option for young hikers. Interpretative signs along the route help create an appreciation for the largest single block of Carolinian woodland in Canada.
We Look Forward To Seeing You Safely
As the COVID-19 situation in Ontario continues to change, a minute or two of extra planning is an important step in ensuring hiccup-free fall adventures. Follow the latest travel guidelines for your community and any communities you plan to visit. Check with the places you plan to go to in advance to see if reservations or activity bookings are required. On the day of your trip, do a quick check to verify the places on your agenda are open and serving visitors in the way you’re expecting.
Don’t forget to share your pictures of your fall colour finds with us by tagging them with #greatcanadiandaytrip.