Do you live in a place where magic happens every October? Where the trees become shades of fire red and golden yellow? Where there are rustles of magic under your feet as you walk along a trail? If you are lucky to live in a place where October changes the scenery and landscape don’t waste it. Get outside as much as you can during this brief period and enjoy it as much as you possible. Because like all magic it’s fleeting and as you blink it disappears.
You don’t have to drive far from home to experience the magic but if you want to venture out and see some truly stunning places. I highly recommend heading to your nearest Ontario Provincial Park or Conservation area.
Killarney Provincial Park, in my opinion is the best place to experience Fall Rhapsody. It’s great any time of year, but a must in Fall. Depending on where you are in Ontario it will be a bit of a drive but absolutely worth the visit. Because of the time needed to get there, I recommend staying for a night or 2. Camping is a great option, we were there camping with our 1 year old at the time of these photos. If you don’t feel like camping there are some hotels and other rental properties near the park.
There are many great trails in Killarney Provincial Park that are easy to do with kids, keep in mind if you bring a baby or toddler you may have to carry them on you most of the time. I did many of these trails with my baby in a carrier. I suggest one that works well for both front and back wear.
If you have older kids, The Crack trail is such a gem! We did this earlier this year in summer and so badly want to go back and see what it’s would be like with the leaves painted by nature. Keep in mind this trail is rated difficult in normal conditions, and estimated 6 hours to complete in summer. It might take longer during fall and the rocks may be slippery. I wouldn’t recommend The Crack trail for kids under 4.
Gatineau Park while not in Ontario it’s minutes from Ottawa and is Canada’s Capital Region’s conservation park. It often reaches capacity in the fall because there are so many people that visit for Fall Rhapsody. As a result of COVID and to lower numbers, the shuttle buses that normally take visitors to the park are now cancelled and parking is often at capacity. Check ahead and plan your visit. I recommend going mid-week if you can and I really enjoyed the sunset hikes that we did with our little ones. Again many of the trails are very easy to do with a baby or toddler but keep in mind you’ll likely be carrying your little one. This can be a nice add-on to an Ottawa vacation or a local day trip depending on where you live.
Algonquin Provincial Park is quite a large park and many many rivers, including the large Lake of two rivers, hiking trails galore and is just WOW! My favourite time to visit Algonquin is actually winter because it becomes a winter wonderland and I love cross country skiing there. Fall though, it just shows off! When we visited in Fall, we went to the Couples Resort for a getaway. The couples resort is minutes away from Algonquin Park situated on Galeairy Lake. We did some trails that were close by. My absolutely favourite activity was having the chickadees eat seeds out my hands.
We went at the end of September and some areas were already bursting with colour while the interior was more of a dusting. Even in the areas where the colours were sporadic the scenery took our breaths away.
The Algonquin logging Museum is a great family activity if you are in the area and looking for something other than hiking. This museum operates May-October.
There are many other trails and parks where you and your family can explore the beauty of fall this October. Do you have a favourite? Share in the comments to help other families find new trails to explore.