Ultimate Guide to Fall Hiking Trails In Ottawa + Region

Ultimate Guide to Fall Hiking Trails In Ottawa + Region

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.

Ultimate Guide to Fall Hiking Trails In Ottawa Region

Frontenac County

Palmerston-Canonto Conservation Area: 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: Located 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.

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Lanark County

Blueberry Mountain at CliffLAND: Located 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.

High Lonesome Nature Reserve: Located in Pakenham. Features multiple lookouts, lake views. Family friendly and dog friendly. 45mins from Ottawa. Suggested stop in Pakenham + Almonte. (image from www.mmlt.ca)

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Les Laurentides

Montagnes noires de Ripon: Located in Ripon. Features a vista lookout and a 12m tower with 360′ panoramic views. Very well marked trail. Drive to lookout or hike. Multiple trails. 1 hr from Ottawa.

Kenauk Nature: 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. ​

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Leeds & Grenville County

Limerick Forest: Located 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: Located 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.

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Lennox + Addington County

Rose Hill Nature Reserve: Located near Denbigh has 4 different trails and features pond views, lake views, and a memorial rock.

Sheffield Conservation Area: Located in Stone Mills offers a 4.5km trail through rugged terrain and features granite outcropping, lake views, two lookouts, and stargazing.

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City of Ottawa

Morris Island Conservation Area: near Fitroy Harbour has 6kms of trails and features river and island views, accessible trails and facilities, birding, forestlands.

Marlborough Forest: Located in Marlborough has 27kms of trails and features a large pond view, wood bridges, wood structures and is rich in flora and fauna.

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L’Outaouais Region

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.

Foret Bowman: in Bowman has a 5km trail that features 6 grottos, 3 vista lookout points on Montagnes de la grottes, picnic area, and lake with dock at trailhead.

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Prescott-Russell United Counties

Nokomis Park: in Limoges has a 1km trail through the wooded area and features a small picnic area.

New York Central Fitness Trail: in Russell has a 7km paved trail that is great for bikes, rollerblades, wheelchairs, and strollers. Nearby J.Henry Tweed Conservation Area.

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Renfrew County

Wabun Lake: in Calabogie offers either a 1.5km steep hike to the lookout or 18km loop by Limestone Lake and Sugar Mountain. This trail is not well marked and uses forest roads/atv trails.

Deacon Escarpment Cabins, Camping and Trails Ltd.: near Golden Lake has 30kms of trails and features a wonderful lookout, multiple trails, private lake with canoes, and cabin rentals.

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SDG Counties

Glengarry Trails: in Alexandria has 15kms of trails and features boardwalks, marsh views, and minimal elevation.

Reveler Conservation Area: near Chrysler and Embrun has a 3km trail and features forestlands, sumac, wildflowers, and an easy trail that is family friendly and dog friendly.

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Wrapping Up

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!

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