Ottawa and the area around the country’s capital are known for its spectacular natural beauty and charm, and fall is a time where vibrant colours emerge. People flock around the area to experience the cool weather, amazing opportunities for outdoor activities, and to do classic activities like pumpkin picking and go on a wagon ride. Here are 25-day trips to enjoy changing nature’s changing colours around Ottawa.
1.Renfrew Swinging Bridge [1 hour from Ottawa]
The town of Renfrew located just 1 hour from downtown Ottawa is a great visit during Fall. In normal times, you can enjoy the annual Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival and then visit the historic swinging bridge. But due to COVID-19, there are no festivities this year, but you can still visit the Historic Swinging Bridge (the bridge really does swing), take-in the views of Bonnechere River, a small waterfall, Renfrew Hydro Station and the beautiful stone mill was built in 1855, which is now a museum – McDougall Mill Museum (closed after labour day). The swinging bridge is located adjacent to picturesque O’Brien Park. Do not forget to walk downtown Renfrew to grab a bite and historic buildings.
Renfrew is also the birthplace of the NHL.
Where: 65 Arthur Street, Renfrew (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Free
2. Foley Mountain Conservation Area – Spy Rock Scenic Lookout [35 minutes from Ottawa]
The Foley Mountain Conservation Area, located on Upper Rideau Lake, is home to Spy Rock. The granite ledge lets you take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. Spy Rock is 500 million years old and also overlooks Westport. You’ll be able to see all the natural landscapes in the area and the town in the distance. Follow Red Oak Trail and Blue Circle Trail to reach the lookout.
Where: 105 Foley Mountain Ln, Westport (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: $7
3. Oiseau Rock Trail [ 2 hours 35 minutes from Ottawa]
Hike 5 kilometers through the forest, along the Ottawa River to reach the summit of Oiseau Rock, one of the most important rock art sites in North America, 150 metres above the river. Read interpretive panels on the history and culture of the Algonquin people. This is a sacred historical site where First Nations peoples left a legacy of ancient pictographs that still can be seen today. The site and the pictographs are values as a price of spiritual significance and the largest rock art site known in Quebec. The 5 km long hike offers various viewpoints and the final lookout from the top gives you a fabulous foliage view surrounding the Ottawa River that is not to be missed.
Where: 1 Schyan Rd., Sheenboro (Québec) (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: $12 entry fee per vehicle to be paid at the ZEC St-Patrice office, on Schyan Road.
4. 1000 Islands Tower [1 hour 30 minutes from Ottawa]
The Thousand Islands encompasses many experiences, including sunset watching, visiting storybook castles on a cruise, and exploring a distillery or cidery. Learn all about what makes up the breathtaking character on an elevator ride up to the 1000 Islands Tower. The panorama of the 1000 Islands and St. Lawrence River is a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of city life. A mere 40 seconds to reach the first of three observation decks, you won’t want to miss out on the photo-op here!
Where: 716 Highway 137 Hill Island, Lansdowne (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: $10 to $15
5. Rideau Canal
Drive along Rideau Canal locks starting from downtown Ottawa to Kingston. You will be passing through pretty small towns extremely picturesque in the fall, with stunning foliage and red, yellow, and orange colours. You can go hiking, go on a walking tour, visit the wildlife reserve, see waterfalls, or simply experience a quiet moment at the many conservation areas and locks along the canal.
6. Arbraska Lafleche [30 minutes from Ottawa]
Visit Arbraska Lafleche and experience the thrill of an underground trek in the vast Canadian Shield’s largest visited cave, zipline along treetops, and challenging aerial adventure courses. Many adventures await in the outdoors for all ages and skill levels.
Where: 255, Rte Principale, Val-des-Monts (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: Varies depending on activity.
7. Fort Fright [2 hours from Ottawa]
Formerly Canada’s capital, Kingston is a beautiful historic place with wonderful scenery, food tours, cruises, and Halloween events in late October.
Get spooked out of your minds during Fort Fright, go on a haunted trolley tour to hear terrifying stories and explore Kingston, see the iconic scenery of Royal Military College, Fort Henry, Kingston harbour and local islands from Lake Ontario, visit Canada’s most notorious prison and more this Fall.
Where: Fort Henry, 1 Fort Henry Drive, Kingston (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: $20 – $25
8. Strathmere Getaway [30 minutes from Ottawa]
Retreat to Strathmere – 200 acres of breathtaking land for a relaxing, rural escape from the city.
You can enjoy nature trails and gardens, spa and wellness packages, and farm-to-plate menus at the Scratch Kitchen.
Where: 1980 Phelan Road West, North Gower (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How much: Varies depending on activity
9. Calabogie Peaks [1 hour 30 minutes from Ottawa]
A visit to Calabogie Peaks is the perfect way to experience fall at its finest. With fine dining and plenty of things to do and discover on the lake and land, this magical destination shows off the beauty of nature.
Ride the chairlift up 780 feet to the top of Dickson Mountain for a breathtaking view of the beautiful Ottawa Valley. Once on top of the mountain, hike the many trails to enjoy stunning views of Calabogie Lake, the Lost Valley and the Madawaska wilderness.
Located just behind Calabogie Peaks Ski hill, is the Eagle Nest Lookout. This trail will take you to a panoramic lookout of the Madawaska wilderness.
Where: 30 Barrett Chute Road, Calabogie (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $15 (taxes included) for ages 7+ for the Chair Lift; Free hikes (Eagle Nest Lookout is free)
10. Fall Rhapsody – Gatineau Park [20 minutes from Ottawa]
Gatineau Park is famous for its year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation. A stunning 361 square kilometres of scenic lookouts, trails, lakes, and more than 100 species of plants and animals.
During Fall Rhapsody, free shuttle service is offered from various locations in the capital region.
Where: 33 Chemin Scott, Chelsea (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Free
11. Bon Echo Provincial Park [2 hours 20 minutes from Ottawa]
Bon Echo Park is a paradisal provincial park in South Eastern Ontario that is famous for its several lakes and iconic Indigenous pictographs on the Mazinaw Rock. The park not only offers historical places to visit but also stunning fall foliage views. The Abes & Essens Trail offers 3 loops [Clutes 3.5 km (1.5 hours); Essens Lake 9.6 km (4 hours) and Abes 17 km (7 hours)] offer panoramic views that are spectacular in fall.
The Cliff Top Trail which provides panoramic views of the surrounding forest and Mazinaw Lake can be reached only by canoe/kayak (rentals available) or the Cliff Top Trail Ferry (cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19).
Where: 16151 Hwy. 41, Cloyne (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Ontario Parks Admission: ~$12.25
12. Fallowfield Tree Farm [35 minutes from Ottawa]
Find authentic wagon and hay rides drawn by Clydesdale horses at the Fallowfield Tree Farm and pick your own pumpkins of all sizes for Thanksgiving or Halloween.
Where: 6100 Fallowfield Rd, Stittsville (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
13. Mont-Tremblant [2 hours 20 minutes from Ottawa]
Mont-Tremblant is known for being a ski destination, but what many don’t know is that it is fantastic for a fall experience, with biking opportunities, hiking, horseback riding, mini-golfing, and more. Go on the Panoramic Gondola and admire the breathtaking view of the Laurentians, Lac Tremblant and the surrounding valleys.
Where: Tremblant, 1000 Chemin des Voyageurs, Mont-Tremblant (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Varies (Reservations Required)
14. Camp Fortune [30 minutes from Ottawa]
Explore the aerial parks at Camp Fortune, or go mountain biking or trail running. At Camp Fortune, you can challenge yourself physically while enjoying a day out in nature with family and friends.
Kids will love the including suspended walkways, monkey bridges, suspended stirrups and zip lining through the air on mini zip lines.
Where: 300 Chemin Dunlop, Chelsea (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $22.50 per person & up
15. Captiva Farms [40 minutes from Ottawa]
Getaway for the day at Captiva Farms, a 450-acre horseback trail riding ranch that is the perfect setting for a horseback riding session in the hills. Lessons get you acquainted with your horse and prepare you for wilderness trails.
Where: 189 ch. De la Montagne, Wakefield (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $25 & up
16. Jabulani Vineyard & Winery [40 minutes from Ottawa]
A visit to the Jabulani Vineyard and Winery is certainly worthwhile. You’ll get to sample some fine local wines and purchase a cheese plate for pairing. Although there are controls currently in place, you can still explore the orchard, pond, and winery patio.
Where: 8005 Jock Trail, Richmond (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
17. Upper Canada Cranberries [30 minutes from Ottawa]
Being the only commercial cranberry grower in Eastern Ontario, Upper Canada Cranberries allows visitors to experience the cranberry farm and purchase some fresh cranberries for a fall recipe.
Where: 2283 Stagecoach Road, Greely (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
18. Barron Canyon [2 hours and 30 minutes]
Most Ontarians know that Algonquin Park is the place to be to see specatcular fall foliage. Explore Barron Canyon located in the northeastern edge of the park. Barron Canyon trail takes you along the north rim of the spectacular 100m deep Barron Canyon (please be cautious – unfenced cliff ) all awash in red and gold during Fall. It is located 10 km from the Sand Lake Gate entrance to the park and 35 km in total from the junction of the Barron Canyon Road and the Trans Canada Highway.
Where: Algonquin Park (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $21 per vehicle per day
19. Murphys Point Provincial Park [1 hour and 20 minutes]
Located on Big Rideau Lake, 1,239-hectare park Murphys Point Provincial Park protects part of the historic Rideau Waterway Silver Queen Mine, an early 1900s mica mine and a range of ecosystems of the Frontenac Arch. The park light up with natures colours during Fall with bursts of yellow, gold, red and orange. Hike Point Trail, Sylvan Trail or McParlan House Trail to have a un”leaf”able fall trip. During non-COVID-19 times you can also join for a guided mine tour.
Where: 2243 Elmgrove Road, R.R. 5, Perth (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Ontario Parks Admission ~$12.25
20. Almonte [40 minutes from Ottawa]
This beautiful mill town is the epitome of small towns in Ontario. This fantastic representation of a down-to-earth place with unmissable architecture, shops, and art, and the famous Riverwalk with a beautiful view of the waterfall – Grand Falls. The town is also home to home to Dr. James Naismith the inventor of the game of basketball (visit Dr James Naismith Museum).
While here, get chocolates from Hummingbird Chocolate, whose Hispaniola bar was chosen as the best chocolate bar in the world by the London Academy of Chocolate. You can also go on a 45-minute tour (cancelled due to COVID-19) takes you on a journey behind Hummingbird’s bustling operations and discover how chocolate is made from cacao bean to bar.
Where: 14 Bridge Street, Almonte (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
21. Ouimet Farms [1 hour from Ottawa]
Ouimet Farms is nestled in the quaint Vankleek Hill. It is a family-friendly spot for a fall adventure that includes a challenging corn maze and other farm fun activities that are suitable for all ages.
Where: 63 Main St W, Vankleek Hill (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $ 15
22. Parc du Mont St-Bruno [2 hours 15 minutes from Ottawa]
Parc du Mont St-Bruno is an escape into nature. Find 27 kilometres of walking trails, pick your own apples in the apple orchard, and simply marvel at the incredible rocky outcroppings, lakes, and leafy foliage.
Address: 330 Rang des Vingy Cinq E, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $ 8.90; Apple Picking: $1.75 per kilo.
23. Egg Rock Lookout – Whispering Winds Lookout
The Bonnechere River Valley is known for its faults, and you can hike to two parallel faultlines (deep trenches and take-in the incredible panoramic views of Stringers Lake atop the Whispering Winds. Here two parallel fault lines create a huge trench in Madawaska Valley. This short but steep hike take you up the granite ridge from where you can enjoy fall colors in the valley below. The trailhead is located off Turners
Road east of Algonquin Park Boundary.
Combine the trip with Barron Canyon lookout.
Address: off Turners Rd, Madawaska Valley (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Free
24. Chutes Coulonge Adventure Park [1 hour 40 minutes from Ottawa]
Experience the breathtaking fall scenery of the area’s most magnificent waterfalls and canyon through hikes, via ferrata and ziplining aerial park.
Take a walk along the Coulonge River enjoying many breathtaking views of the falls. Visit the museum to learn about logging days and see 3000ft wooden log slide.
Address: off Turners Rd, Madawaska Valley (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: Varies depending on activity. $5.20 & up
25. Drive Long Sault Parkway to Upper Canada Village – Pumpkinferno [1 hour 30 minutes from Ottawa]
Here is an idea for a multi-stop fall day trip.
Start from Ottawa, drive the Long Sault Parkway, a 10-kilometre long road that connects a collection of eleven islands on the St. Lawrence River. The parkway is visually beautiful and has significant history surrounding it.
Then get to Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary to see fall birds, board walks and stunning fall colours and continue to Upper Canada Village for Pumpkinferno.
Visit Upper Canada Village for this spectacular outdoor event for all ages! Take a tour through this spectacular outdoor art exhibit of 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins all lit at night along a kilometer long path in a picturesque 19th-century backdrop. Open from late September through October, you won’t want to miss this chance to discover the culture of Canada in a world of pumpkins.
Where: 13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg (Directions/Distance From Your Location)
How Much: $16
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