Wanting to experience fall in Algonquin? You’re in the right place. I’m crazy about fall and I’ve been to Algonquin many times. Algonquin Provincial Park largest piece of protected land in Ontario, and there’s so many ways to enjoy fall there.
Well located 250 km from both Toronto and Ottawa, Algonquin is a gem in Ontario. With thousands of lakes, mountain summits, waterfalls and rivers, Algonquin is a haven for both, nature-lovers and wildlife.
Algonquin is gorgeous anytime of the year, but its especially breathtaking in fall when you can see the fall colours. The foliage against the lakes is a serene sight that can only be enjoyed at that time. If you love fall, you’ll love fall in Algonquin.
We’re going to go over everything you need to know about fall in Algonquin – the best ways, and the important things to keep in mind- so you can be well prepared.
Best Time to See Colours of Fall in Algonquin
The best time to see the fall colours in Algonquin will vary year by year. The best dates for any given depends on that year’s weather trends, so it isn’t exactly the same every year.
Generally, the peak time falls usually somewhere between late September and early October. But if you visit Algonquin anytime between mid-September to mid-October, you will see fall colours.
3 Ways Experience Fall in Algonquin in 2023
There are three different ways to experience the colours and beauty of fall in Algonquin.
1. You can drive through
This is what my parents do every year. They aren’t big hikers, but they love fall colours, so they drive through and they stop at lookouts to take photos and have a picnic.
You can drive along highway 60, which goes through Algonquin. There are many roads to turn off on, with lookouts you can stop at and take photos. Remember that if you park anywhere for photos or a picnic, you must have the park pass displayed on your dashboard.
Anyone using the Park must pay for an Algonquin Park permit, which is $21.00 CDN per day and can be booked online up to 5 days in advance of the day you plan to visit.
2. Go on a hike
This is my favourite way to see the fall colours in Algonquin. My husband and I are big hikers, and chose to do this as a mini-honeymoon. Seeing the fall colours against the lakes was one of the most beautiful sites.
3. Rent a canoe
This is our second favourite way to enjoy Algonquin in fall. You can do a private tour which goes on Canoe Lake, or you can book through Opeongo Outfitters to canoe on Lake Opeongo. We have been canoeing on both lakes.
Best Fall Hikes in Algonquin
Here are the best trails in Algonquin Park to enjoy the fall colours. To do any of these hikes ,you must pay a park entrance fee and drive to the hike entrance.
1. Booth’s Rock
Distance: 5.5 km (3.41 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 2 hours
Booth’s Rock is one of the most popular trails in Algonquin, and the summit offers one of the most beautiful views in the park. In my opinion, Booth’s Rock is offers one of the best views of fall in Algonquin Park. The panoramic view from the summit is absolutely stunning, and something that photos can’t quite capture.
Since its a relatively easy trail, its also quite popular. In 2023, my husband and I were planning to hike it again, but discovered that we needed to book a separate pass specifically for Booth’s Rock – and it was sold out by the time we noticed this.
So, if you want to hike Booth’s Rock in the fall, be sure to try to reserve in advance on the Algonquin Park website.
2. Track and Tower
Distance: 8 km (4.9 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 2 h 30 mins
Track and Tower is slightly more challenging than Booth’s Rock, but can be done with a medium level of fitness. In my opinion, the view isn’t quite as nice as Booth’s Rock, but its a good alternative to Booth’s Rock.
Track and Tower offers a lot of scenic views – lots of colourful foliage on the way up, a beautiful waterfall, and the cliff views once you reach the summit.
3. Beaver Pond Trail
Distance: 2 km (1.2 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 35 minutes
Beaver Pond is much easier, more accessible than the first two hikes we mentioned. Because of this, you can probably expect more people will be on it. However, the views are highly worth it. For a hike thats so quick and easy, the lookouts are incredible (pictured below.) You can get beautiful fall views at Beaver Pond Trail.
4. Spruce Bog
Distance: 1.5 km (0.9 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 35 minutes
The Spruce Bog is a walk along a wooden boardwalk through the middle of a bog. It’s pretty distinct and unique in Algonquin. It’s surrounded by spruce trees, which don’t change colour however, you can still get spectacular fall views in Algonquin at Spruce Bog, because of the changing of the other plants, including the foliage in the distance.
5. The Lookout Trail
Distance: 2.1 km (1.3 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 40 minutes
The Lookout Trail in Algonquin is a short, fairly easy hike that goes in a loop past a cliff face. It gives a nice lookout onto a large valley, where you’d get a beautiful fall view in Algonquin park
6. Centennial Ridges Trail
Distance: 10.4 km (6.4 mile) loop
Estimated hiking time: 3-4 hours
The Centennial Ridges Trail is one of the longest hikes in Algonquin that can be done in a day (or less.) The terrain you’re brought through is very varied; with some forest, cliffside views of forest valleys and lakes. It’s my personal favourite trail.
To do the Centennial Ridges trail, I recommend bringing 1.5-2 litres of water per person, as well as plenty of snacks, and hat/sunscreen. Good shoes are a must. There are many rock lookout areas to sit down – when you see the first one, there will be plenty more lookout areas to sit down for a break if you keep going.
The terrain in Centennial Ridges is extremely rugged, with lots of tree roots sticking out all over the trail. Good shoes are recommended for any hike in Algonquin, but especially for Centennial Ridges.
3 Important Things to Keep in Mind about Fall in Algonquin Provincial Park
Here are the three things you want to be aware of before heading up to Algonquin to enjoy the fall colours . You’ll be glad to know these things before you go!
I can’t stress this enough – bring good, waterproof shoes. I went hiking in Algonquin during the fall, and we had to drive to the Outfitters store to buy a new pair of hiking-appropriate shoes for me. Rather than have this interruption on your trip, bring a quality pair in advance, such as this one for men or this one for women. This will make your hike much more comfortable. If you’re bringing kids, this is a good pair for them.
Try to come as early as possible, or outside of peak times if possible. Algonquin can get absolutely crazy on weekends in fall. I’ve never seen a lineup of cars like this in my life. One way to avoid being in this kind of jam is to avoid weekends (if you can) or consider staying somewhere nearby overnight.
There may be a garbage can at the entrance of the hike, but nothing along the hike. Be sure to bring any garbage from your lunch or snack back with you.
Where to Stay near Algonquin Provincial Park
Staying overnight near Algonquin allows you to get into the park faster, so you avoid the line up, and maximize your time in the park. For fall in Algonquin, I recommend staying in the village of Huntsville, because its a picturesque town not far from the park (30 minutes.) This is what we did for our mini-honeymoon.
For a variety of accommodation options near Algonquin, click here.
Where to Stay in Huntsville
The town of Huntsville is about a 30-minute drive from Algonquin Provincial Park. With a quaint downtown with restaurants, shops and the famous Henrietta’s Bakery, a river flowing through it, Huntsville makes for a good place to stay nearby overnight
- Budget: Motel 6 – Huntsville Great value, for being less than 2 km from the town centre
- Mid-Range: Home2Home Suites by Hilton Huntsville – Free breakfast, and within walking distance of the historical town centre
- Luxury: Deerhurst Resort – Offers a little bit extra; two swimming pools, a restaurant and spa on site. Nice place to relax after a day of hiking or canoeing
FAQ: Fall Colours in Algonquin
Here are the most commonly asked questions about hiking and fall in Algonquin Provincial Park
What is the hardest hikes in Algonquin Park?
Western Uplands trail Trail is known for being the most challenging hike in Algonquin Provincial Park, because of the distance. It is a 70.8 km ( mile) loop which can take days to finish, with a medium level of fitness. There are a few other trails in Algonquin that are over 30 kms long: Highland Backing Trail (38 kms) and Big Trout Lake Loop ( 71.9 kms)
What are the must do trails in Algonquin Park?
Some of the best hikes in Algonquin Park are Booth’s Rock, Track and Tower, Beaver Pond, Spruce Bog and the Lookout Trail. The one(s) you choose will depend on how much of a challenge you’re looking for. Booth’s Rock and Track and Tower involve a bit of climbing, so they’re more physically strenuous. If you’re looking for an easier hike, then Beaver Pond, or
Which trail is best in Algonquin?
There are over 80 trails in Algonquin, so the best trail depends on what you’re looking for and what level of challenge you prefer. If you’re for an easygoing hike with gorgeous views, then check out Beaver Pond Trail, Whiskey Rapids trail, or Spruce Bog boardwalk. If you’re looking for an more challenging hike with great views from cliffs, then Booth’s Rock or Track and Tower are the best. For something in between, try one of the medium hikes: Algonquin Lookout trail, or Bat Lake trail.
Fall in Algonquin 2023: Final Thoughts
Fall in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario is quite the treat, and there are many ways to experience it. Regardless of if you choose to canoe, hike or drive through, you will be amazed at the calm and serenity of this piece of nature. There are other people yes, and you may have to navigate some crowds and lineups. Exercise some of the tips we mentioned above and you should have a great time.
Central Canada is a beautiful place to be in the fall; Ontario and Quebec are both worth a visit to experience the colourful foliage. If you’re looking for other places to check out near the Muskoka region in fall, Screaming Heads is an epic place to visit in the fall.
Algonquin isn’t just great in the fall, its a great place to visit in winter as well.