1. Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park is the ultimate hikers fantasy! I am not a master hiker, but I do appreciate a great view! A lot of the hikes in Algonquin are long and uphill, but you are rewarded with the feeling of being on top of the world! Not only is it beautiful in the summer, but as soon as the leaves start changing color, the entire park is transformed into a red, orange and green wonderland! The best time to go is end of September to the end of October. It is approximately 3 hours from Toronto to the west gate, entering through Muskoka, and it is $17 per car for the day permit. You can drive along the main highway and stop at whatever trail you want, and pick up a book at the entrance telling you the intensity of the trail, the length, points of interest along the way and altitude. My favorite trails are Booth’s Rock and Track and Tower.
2. Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls
I did this hike last fall in the peak color change and was blown away with how beautiful it was! Located in Hamilton, you can hike around, below and under these waterfalls. Located on the Niagara escarpment, this hike is not to be missed. The difficulty level is low, however the photo ops are endless, so bring your camera! This hike contains 2 waterfalls, Tews Falls <which falls 41 metres> and Webster Falls which is a tiered waterfall which you can hike right up to. Other then the waterfalls, there are beautiful views of Dundas and Hamilton from many of the nature trails.
3. Devils Punch Bowl
This waterfall is located in Stoney Creek and is quite impressive! The down side is water is not currently falling, which may seem pretty anticlimactic considering it IS a waterfall-but the up side is that SINCE there is no water falling into it, you are able to hike down into it. One of the attractions of the waterfall is the colorful exterior, making it quite unique.
4. Rattlesnake Point
Located on the Niagara Escarpment in Milton, Rattlesnake point is a conservation area with amazing views of Milton, Burlington, Mississauga and even Toronto! On a clear day you can see the CN Tower. I sometimes use this trail for running, since there are areas with low difficulty. If you are on the adventurous side, try rock climbing in one of the designated areas <Ill keep MY rock climbing to the indoor studios where the drops aren’t as high though!> There is also camping available for those looking to rough it for a few nights. There are 12.7 km of color-coded trails, which all offer stunning vistas! <I’ve always wanted to use that term!> There are also a few other trails nearby if you are in the area that you could check out: Kelso, Hilton Falls, Crawford Lake, Mountsberg, Bruce Trail and Mount Nemo. Lets just say there isn’t a shortage of places to get in touch with nature in this neck of the woods!
5. Limehouse Kilns
The first time I hiked this trail was around 8pm in the summer when the sun was beginning to go down and it was getting darker within the trees. I was a little spooked to see the crazy cracks all within the ground of this trail. Located in Limehouse <Halton Hills > The main attraction within this hike is the “hole in the wall” where you can climb down into the rocks by ladders. Be careful where you walk though, you don’t want to miss a step and end up between the cracks of one of the non-designated areas! I returned another day during daylight and saw that it was pretty cool! If you continue on, there is a river running through, leading you to the lime kilns, a restored power magazine and a lookout overlooking railway tracks. This is a free trail and worth the hike on a bright SUNNY day!
6. Tiffany Falls
This waterfall is a little tricky to find if you are using google maps, since it tries to take you to the falls via a subdivision, but the entrance is actually down the street from the Ancaster Mill. This hike isn’t too long, but it is very scenic and leads to a beautiful waterfall, which you can get up close and personal with!
7. Felker’s Falls
As you drive to this waterfall, you may be a little confused because you think you are driving through a subdivision and suddenly you are in a forest? Located in Stoney Creek, this waterfall is pretty cool because you are able to get really close to the top of the waterfall, via this cool rock formation, shielding the falls from both directions. The trail surrounding the waterfall is upon a cliff, so you are able to look out for miles! This hike isn’t too long, so if you’re looking to kill about half an hour of time, this is a great option.
8. Belfountain Conservation area
Located in, well you guessed it: Belfountain. Where is that, you ask: It is along the Credit River and is near Caledon. This conservation offers a lot of things such as yoga in the park, hiking trails, the swing bridge, a beautiful waterfall and even fishing. If you are getting married, this is also a picturesque location for photos. As mentioned, there is a cool swing bridge, overlooking the waterfall, which provides a great photo op! It is $5 per person to get in, and you are able to use the day pass for a number of other conservation areas within the region.
9. Cyprus Lake
This is located in Tobermory on the Bruce Penninsula, about 4 hours from Toronto, but a beautiful hike regardless. In the summer this campground/lake is a hot spot, but during the fall, the color change combined with the crystal clear waters are beyond stunning. It is a $17 fee per car to get in, and you are able to hike around the lake to capture the reflection of the colors on the water.
10. Boer’s Falls
This waterfall is ALSO a bit tricky to find, located within Dundas. You will see signs for Rock Chapel Sanctuary and in SMALL print you will see a mini sign that says “Boer’s Falls, which I thought was weird since the Hamilton Waterfalls are a big attraction in the area! This waterfall is also located within the Bruce Trail, and is 15 meters high. There is no marked trail to get down to the falls, but it IS possible for those crazy enough to do so. <Not me, I’m good with the view from the top, thanks!> After you view the waterfall, you can continue your hike along the escarpment, enjoying numerous lookout points and benches to enjoy the views.