5 Road Trips from Toronto you must do this fall

Written by Jim Bamboulis

The summer is behind us. Sweater weather is here. Time to head outside and inhale that crisp, cool air. Time to experience the most wonderful season of them all. Time to experience the fall colours. Here are five destinations within driving distance of Toronto that will make you love autumn even more than you already do.

Mono Cliffs

Located about two hours northwest of Toronto, Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is simply, a magnificent place to experience the fall season. It helps that it’s on the infamous Bruce Trail and along the Niagara Escarpment. It may be a small park but you’ll be spending a lot of time exploring it.

With six trails to choose from, Mono Cliffs can accommodate pretty much everyone willing to step outside and go for a beautiful hike. The 2.8 km Cliff-Top Side Trail, 600 m Lookout Trail are favourites but as always, wear appropriate gear for any and all stairways, rocks and unpredictable weather you may find along the way.



Sure, it’s home to vintage wines and rustic shops. Horse-carriages and historic homes. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a favourite during the heat of the summer. But in the fall, all that cute, small 19th century town charm becomes even more stunningly beautiful.

Whether you’re taking a walk along the Niagara River or a walk along Queen Street, the town’s main drag, Niagara-on-the-Lake is all about taking your time and enjoying the day – be it window shopping and grabbing a bit to exploring its historic buildings to rustling through the leaves.


Elora and the Gorge

Summer in Elora, Ontario is filled with one big beast – tourists! People either flood into the cute, quaint downtown, head to the bridges to peer onto the gorge or swim at the famous Elora Quarry. Either way, it’s crowded.


When the calendar turns and autumn sets in, Elora offers a more intimate experience. Quieter, it explodes with colour. Take a walk along the bridge or if you can, hike it down to the gorge itself. Either way, the views of the valley, surrounding forest and both the Grand and Irvine River are spectacular. Ontario’s most beautiful village definitely lives up to its name!

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Driving to Bon Echo in and of itself is a fabulous way to experience the fall colours. Located about 3 hours northeast of Toronto – the fall colour journey is as beautiful as the  final destination. My suggestion – take the scenic route. Drive east along highway 401 and head north along highway 115 to Peterborough. A little outside Peterborough, hop on highway 28 and head north towards Bancroft. From there it’s a bit of a meander but the drive will astonish you.

Once there, it’s Mazinaw Rock that will amaze you. At 100 metres high, it has over 260 Indigenous pictographs. Canoeing, camping, fishing and hiking are huge here. In fact, hiking trails range from 1 km long to 17! My favourite is the Cliff Top Trail. It’s a 1.5 km moderate to difficult trail that’s only accessible by water. A ferry takes you across Mazinaw Lake towards Mazinaw Rock and to the start of the trail. From there you climb stairs to the top of the Rock to three observation decks that overlook the lake.

Algonquin Provincial Park

For those who travel often around Ontario, Algonquin is one of those places that screams annual summer pilgrimage. It’s a massive park with plenty of trails that suit every agility level and if you’re lucky enough to be driving along the parks’ main road – highway 60 – you may even spot a moose.


As much as Algonquin is an amazing summer park, I prefer to visit during the fall. The drive to the park alone is reason enough to get away from the city and venture north. Before you know it, rugged rock and rolling hills surround you. If you time it right, at peak fall colour season, that drive along highway 60 is an unforgettable ride with a sea of orange, red and yellow foliage. Pick a trail and hike to heights that give you the absolute best views of the valley below.

There you go. Now go! Just be cool – respect the surroundings!

About me

IMG-20161106-WA0017.jpgHey y’all. I’m Jim. That kid went on to spend 16 years in the broadcast media world before starting up Travel Mammal, a site dedicated to working with brands to promote travel, food and cultural experiences.

Travel Mammal isn’t about the selfie or checking things off a list. It’s about experiencing both the journey and the destination. To breathe, learn and really absorb what’s around you, in the moment and experiencing in a way that is both memorable and meaningful.

Happy travels, y’all.

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