South Eastern Ontario bursts with fall colour at this time of year – but there’s more than just changing leaves. As the season’s switch, this is a place that caters to fun experiences that would make for lifeline memories – and the perfect small getaway destination to refresh and reinvigorate as the leaves crunch underfoot.
If You’re Coming From Ottawa…
Cornwall and the Counties is a natural place to start your fall outdoor adventuring. Hop on your bike and watch the fall colours unfold before your eyes while biking along the Waterfront Bike Trail, spanning the length of Cornwall and the South Dundas Glengarry Counties. This marvellous meandering cyclist recreational path encompasses the entire waterfront in Cornwall promising amazing views of the changing fall foliage as a backdrop to the blue of the water. Be sure to stop in Cornwall’s Lamoureux Park along the way to enjoy the relaxed pace that fall brings!
After a relaxing day on two wheels, Pumpkinferno promises jaw-dropping scenes as the sun goes down. It’s now one of the most anticipated fall festivals of the year in South Eastern Ontario! Held at Upper Canada Village, this hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding outdoor exhibit showcases close to 6,000 awe-inspiring, hand-carved artificial pumpkins. Once lit, the night-time backdrop makes for an incredible sight!
After touring in Morrisburg, grab an evening sweet treat at a local coffee shop and hop west down the highway to Brockville. The Brockville Railway Tunnel is a must-see destination – but did you know it’s especially enchanting at night? Once darkness falls, the light show inside Canada’s first railway tunnel seems amplified with reds, blues, purples and greens cascading down the walls. Sounds of trains chugging through the tunnel transport visitors back in time when this was a valuable link from the waterfront under the city. The tunnel doors close at 9 p.m. so there is plenty of time to visit after watching the sunset over the St. Lawrence River on Blockhouse Island. Get lost in the tunnel’s music and marvel at being able to walk through a piece of our country’s history before turning in for the night.
After starting the morning with an enchanting peaceful walk on the Brock Trail, drive west down the 1000 Islands Parkway to enjoy the water views as the colour change for fall. Swing into the 1000 Islands Tower takes to the sky! This is a view like no other. The 1000 Islands are truly nature’s eye candy. The green islands and blue waves provide a feast for the eyes – and balm for the soul. See the fall colours fan out before you 400 feet below as the river meanders through like a painting on canvas.
Venture further down the parkway and be sure to stop at the Landon Bay Centre, part of Thousand Islands National Park, for another amazing view high above the St. Lawrence River. A short forest walk rewards hikers with a tribute to the region’s natural elements of woods and river, with a breathtaking view from the lookout showcasing the islands stretched out over the mighty St. Lawrence. Keep an eye for osprey here, too!
After seeing the water from all vantage points, get out on it! Gananoque Boat Line are a real splash in autumn, as sightseeing cruises allow for prime views of the trees as they change against calm waters. Find peace as you ply the waters of the St. Lawrence River from Gananoque and take in island cottages, cultural landmarks, bridges and even the majestic Boldt Castle!
If you have time, take a side trip up the Rideau Canal to Foley Mountain in Westport. Along the way, explore Jones Falls or Chaffey’s Lock, to see the world-famous Rideau Canal in action. Stop for ice cream at the Opinicon and wander the locks to see boats going through this historic system until Thanksgiving. Once at Foley Mountain in Westport, enjoy the scenic lookout at Spy Rock, hiking trails and picnic areas. Tempt your tastebuds and indulge in wine while overlooking the lake outside at Scheuermann’s Winery closeby.
If You’re Coming From Toronto…
The beaches at Prince Edward County are gorgeous at any time of year, but fall provides a peaceful time to reflect and beach walk without the crowds. Head to the County to discover that and many opportunities for hiking, picnicking and cycling – and the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area has an activity for everyone. With more than 440 acres of land, there are 20 kilometres of biking trails that are maintained and kept by the Bloomfield Bicycle Club. The Millenium Trail is another great option with nine kilometres of forest, fields, creeks and a variety of wildlife. Starting in Carrying Place and ending in Picton, you can ride along and take in the vast landscapes including farmland, creeks, swamps and forests. In the fall, keep an eye out for burrowing animals and falling leaves as you pedal through this picture-perfect trail.
In the evening, arrive in Kingston and settle in at one of Kingstons cozy restaurants for a fall-themed meal. Later, take the Wolfe Island ferry across Lake Ontario to experience good old fashioned farm fun at the Wolfe Island Corn Maze! This creatively designed maze is carved out of a cornfield. The Corn Maze on Wolfe Island features two mazes this year, as well as mid-point refreshments. Want to make the experience even more intriguing? Ask about reserving a spot in a flashlight night event!
This day is all about hitting the trails and marvelling at the world beneath your feet!
Travel on to be one of the first to ride the brand new Lennox & Addington County Forest Trails. Be immersed in 127 acres of the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield’s landscape of tall pines and granite. When exploring The Pines, you will experience 6 kilometers of logging roads and single-track trails designed with bermed curves and elevations that incorporate the natural terrain of the forest. Perfect for mountain biking and hiking alike!
End a wild and wonderful three days by relaxing outdoors with the time-tested game of golf in Lennox & Addington. These courses are worthy of a hole in one! With meticulously maintained greens and fairways, stunning scenic views and course designs that cater to all skill levels, hitting the links has never been so enjoyable. Fall is the perfect time for a round of golf in South Eastern Ontario – and offers plenty of time to focus on yourself and your game. Local courses offer sweeping vistas, living history and a great way to enjoy the outdoors before winter set.
Next, head out for adventuring underground! Yes, you read that right. Discover what lies beneath at the Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves in Bay of Quinte! Tour the caves, slip into spaces where a flashlight is needed, take in the deep history and learn the story of these caves as far back as the early 1800s. Discover Fossils dating back millions of years, fascinating geology and even throw a good luck coin into a turquoise underground pool. Open on weekends in the fall until Thanksgiving. You gotta see this.
Looking for a perfect fall colour panorama? Visit Sager Conservation Area. Located near Quinte West, a 15-minute, steep hike brings visitors to a lookout tower that reveals amazing aerial views of the changing treetops and countryside stretching into the Trent Valley. Be sure to read on-site information to give some context into the conservation area and what you’re looking at. There is a picnic shelter on-site if that snack you packed turns into lunch.
Make the most of every minute of fall in South Eastern Ontario!