If you’ve enjoyed the summer outdoors, then don’t stop now because the best hiking season is yet to come.
Have you noticed the sumac and maples turning red in mid-August?! Signs of change, and that’s alright because fall and winter are actually my most favourite times of year to hike in our area. It’s quieter, peaceful, and most importantly – no bugs. It’s also a wonderful season to catch sunset and sunrise views from the trails.
Whether it’s hiking in your own area, or taking a road trip to find new-to-you trails – there is plenty to enjoy. The hikes listed below offer incredible and colourful landscape views. They are the perfect backdrops to meditate, count your blessings, share with friends, enjoy a picnic, or photograph.
Hunting Season Considerations
Many trails are on lands that are used for hunting. Know the provincial hunting season, if your planned trail allows hunting, and do not hike during these times. In Ontario, hunters can use crown lands, provincial parks, conservation areas, municipal forests, provincial wildlife areas, and private land if the specifically permitted. Yes, there are even hunting locations located within the City of Ottawa. Deer (bow hunt) starts as early as September. Hunting season is organized by animal and weapon type ranging from September to November each year. Always wear high visibility clothing when out in the fall, make noise, and stick to the hiking trail. Some trails may be closed, kindly abide by those closures. Visit www.ontario.ca or www.mffp.gouv.qc.ca and search ‘hunting’ for more information.
Fall Foliage Trifecta
There are three types of fall hikes that you’ll find in and around the Ottawa area to enjoy – I call them the fall foliage trifecta. There is of course, the trails that boast those incredible vista views. Those are the ones that we all tend to rush to once the leaves start turning. Then there are the total forest immersion type trails. The ones that cover you with a ceiling of red, orange, and yellow hues. And lastly, but certainly not least, are the marshes of gold. We certainly have an abundance of them, most with boardwalks that allow us to venture out to witness those golden yellow hues that then tend to turn (like the larches at Mer Bleu) or a firey red from the sumac bushes.
Note: click on the image to access the detailed hiking guide for each trail listed below.
Located in North Frontenac. Features two vista lookouts, lake views, and a public beach. Very well marked trails. Short spurts of elevation gain. 1.5 hrs from Ottawa. Suggested stop in Perth.
Kennebec Wilderness Trails in Central Frontenac near Arden has 7kms of trails and features wooded areas, meadows, creeks, a pond, and benches along the path to rest. The trails are very well marked with short spurts of elevation gain.
Blueberry Mountain at CliffLAND in Flower Station have a 5km trail with incredible vista views of the valley and brand new bench to rest on at the summit. The trails are well marked with informative signs along the way describing the flora and fauna.
Located in Montebello. Features two trails with fire towers that you can climb up. shorter trials with riverviews. Cabin and luxury cabin rentals. Lake sports and fishery. 1hr from Ottawa.
Leeds & Grenville County
Limerick Forest in Oxford Station near Kemptville has over 180kms of trails and features an interpretive trail, boardwalks, marsh views. It is an excellent spot for trail running, families, and it is dog friendly.
Charleston Lake Provincial Park in Lansdowne offers Tallow Rock trail as a moderate 10km hike with multiple viewpoints and floating bridge. There is also Quiddity Trail for an added 2.5kms to a lookout over the park.
Lennox & Addington County
City of Ottawa
Mont Morisette in Blue Sea has 11kms of trails and features a 12m tower with 360' views, fire tower, and second lookout. You can drive or hike to base of tower and it is an excellent spot for sunrise.
Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry County
A kind reminder to always hike within your limits, to carry the ’10 essentials’, and to engage in responsible recreation. Fall hiking also requires us to be aware of hunting season, wear bright clothing, and abide by any trail closures. Happy adventuring!