Published on October 13th, 2017 | by Miriam Porter
Ontario’s Best Hiking Trails You Have to See.
Autumn is a wonderful season to explore Ontario by foot so don’t put away your hiking gear just yet. These five Ontario hiking trails will encourage you to get outside and discover our vast province that is home to winding paths, shorelines, wetlands, forests, and the rugged outback. Whether you are a seasoned hiker looking for a challenging trail or a family with young kids, Ontario has a hiking trail for everyone.
When you think of the Niagara region perhaps the first thing that comes to mind are the magnificent waterfalls. But hiking through the nearby Niagara Parks is a great back to nature activity with over 15 kilometres of hiking paths that wave through six unique landscapes. For crisp clean air, head over to the Niagara Glen where there are stairways that lead to 4 kilometres of rugged hiking paths winding through the forest. You can explore unique flora and fauna and the rapid waters of the rushing Niagara River. There are guided tours of the Niagara Glen or handy trail maps if you want to venture out into the wilderness alone. Bouldering permits are also available if you have always wanted to try rock climbing among the beauty of Niagara.
Manitoulin Island is a fantastic hiking destination with a dozen nature trails to choose from such as the Bebamikawe Memorial Trail. This trail extends 14 kilometres with scenic lookouts to satisfy all your selfie desires with the beauty of nature as your backdrop. Manitoulin Island is known as the heart and spirit of the Great Lakes and this trail is located at the end of Beach Road. The trail system has an outdoor fitness park and five fitness stations to help you get in shape in the great outdoors. It also consists of over 11 kilometres of rugged footpaths and you can download the handy trail map before you head out. There are signs at the three major lookouts that explain the historic meaning of where you are hiking so you can sneak in a history lesson too. When planning a road trip to Manitoulin Island the driving route will take you along Highway 6 to the famous swing bridge, or climb aboard the passenger and vehicle ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun, which means “Big Canoe” in Ojibwe. It will take you from Tobermory and South Baymouth from May until October.
No time for a long road trip? No problem – there are hiking trails right in the GTA. Rouge National Urban Park is huge and easily accessible with six main visitor areas in Toronto. If you want to hike with a view of Lake Ontario head to Lawrence Ave East and Rouge Hills Drive at Rouge Beach, about half an hour drive from the downtown Toronto core. Rouge Park is home to many of Canada’s oldest recognized Indigenous sites and this massive park project is still a work on progress as it’s growing to become one of the biggest protected urban parks in the world. You can join up with one of their guided walks on a rugged park trail and even bring your dog along for the adventure, check out their website for a complete schedule.
Pack up the car and drive towards our Nation’s Capital for hiking trails that are suitable for all levels. Whether you are just starting out or an experienced hiker ready to tackle a multi-day hike through backcountry, the Rideau Trail boasts 387 kilometres from Ottawa to Kingston with interconnected hiking trails. There are main trails and smaller trails and you can download a PDF map or a file right to your phone or GPS before you head out to explore the rugged terrain. You can hike alone, with family, friends, or join up with an organized outing such as the Central Club that starts their hike at Murphy’s Point and ends at Rosedale near Smith Falls. Overnight accommodations are available at many campsites, provincial parks, or even at the historic Rideau Canal Lockstations.
If you are looking to hike along the Niagara Escarpment the Bruce Trail is the place to be with over 400,000 people choosing to visit annually. The trail consists of over 890 kilometres of main trail and over 400 kilometres of side trails and is Canada’s oldest and biggest marked footpath. There are many hikes to choose from including stunning Waterfall Walks in the Hamilton/Halton region or Splitrock Narrows Nature Reserve in the Dufferin Hi-Land section (21 kilometres north of Orangeville) that includes a crevice system, steep cliffs, and picture perfect views. There are also year round organized hikes such Beaver Valley, Peninsula Bruce, and even a Toronto Bruce Trail Club. There are several accommodations to choose from along the Bruce Trail including camping, hotels, inns, and Bed and Breakfasts – some even provide drop off and pick up right to the hiking trails.
Are you looking for more fall fun adventure? Check out the Fall-ready Guide for helpful tips.
© 2017 CAA South Central Ontario
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