Fall day trips from Toronto are the perfect opportunity to soak up the spectacular scenery that Southern Ontario has to offer, when the air becomes brisk and the trees turn colour. You don’t have to travel hours to find stunning vistas, majestic waterfalls, and some of the best hiking trails in the province. And the best part is you don’t need a reservation — you just hop in the car and about an hour later, you’re in an autumn wonderland.
With harvest season in full swing, head to wine country and enjoy the picturesque vineyards on this short hop from Toronto. One of the most beautiful drives is up Mountainview Road where you’ll find several noteworthy wineries nestled together at the heart of Beamsville Bench. There’s an abundance of riches to be tasted here, but make sure to take an in-depth tour and tasting at Thirty Bench. Try a cheese plate overlooking the Toronto skyline at Fielding Estate, and pay a visit to one of the region’s best producers at Hidden Bench.
Forks of the Credit
Enjoy a picturesque drive along twisting roads with breathtaking views. The Forks of the Credit offers six hiking trails that lead you to scenic waterfalls and historic ruins. If you have more time to explore and are willing to brave the crowds, you could also continue your drive to the nearby Cheltenham Badlands.
Take a chairlift ride down the escarpment, rent a kayak, and take in the seasons beauty at Kelso Conservation Area. Walk one of the many trails or if you prefer to ride, Kelso is a dream mountain bike destination with over 60km of trails that wind up and down the Niagara Escarpment. There’s also rock climbing and an aerial ropes course for the brave at heart.
Explore one of the best cliff ecosystems in Southern Ontario at Mount Nemo Conservation Area. This unique spot offers various caving systems and rock climbing opportunities and is home to over 300 plant species. Find ancient cedar trees and spectacular vistas looking north to Milton, east to Oakville and south to Burlington and Lake Ontario. The Quarry hike is a manageable 1.9km and a great way to get your blood flowing. If you’re lucky you may even see the C.N. Tower.
This might be one of the most popular spots to take an Instagram photo perched on a cliff. But for those who don’t navigate the world with a selfie-stick, Dundas Peak’s lookout is one of the most majestic vistas to soak up with your eyes. From the colourful gorge below, to nearby Webster and Tews Falls, Dundas Peak may be one of the most beautiful places near Toronto to visit this fall.
From its old-world charm in the form of their century-old buildings to cute art galleries, Elora has much to offer the fall day-tripper. Grab a bite to eat or pamper yourself at the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa which offers outstanding views overlooking the Grand River. A must-visit is the Elora Gorge Conservation with its soaring 22 meter high cliffs, look-out points, and scenic riverside trails. Don’t forget to make a stop in Fergus while you’re there.
You don’t actually need to leave Toronto to catch spectacular fall foliage displays. For a quick fall day trip, head to the Rouge Valley. This scenic spot is located at the eastern edge of Scarborough and enjoys the status as one of the largest urban parks in Canada. Just outside the Rouge Valley Conservation centre is the Vista Trail, a 1.5 km loop with beautiful views to the bluffs, Little Rouge Creek and the Rouge Valley. Or if you prefer to drive, you can take the scenic route.
Hamilton has an array of waterfalls worth checking out on a fall day trip. Take a scenic hike from the roadside parking lot to the 17 meter high Sherman falls. There’s also Tiffany Falls, which you’ll find after strolling through a forested trail. The Iroquoia walk is a 3.7 km hike that takes you past seven majestic waterfalls including Scenic Falls and Princess Falls.
The Rattray Marsh is located in Mississauga and is the last remaining lakefront marsh between Toronto and Burlington. The gorgeous colours from the oak, birch, willow and maple trees reflect off the water making for a pretty serene jaunt. The raised boardwalk allows you to be among the natural beauty of this place, without muddying up your shoes. The area is also a hotspot for spotting families of deer and swans.
Belfountain’s historic terrace offers beautiful views of the colourful landscape. Find waterfalls scattered throughout the conservation area on a set of varied walking and hiking trails. If there’s one thing you have to do on a fall day trip here, it’s a walk across the wooden suspension bridge that cuts through a lush forest and overlooks a scenic waterfall. You can leave your car and walk to the helmet to grab a bite or explore some of the shops.
Looking for a fall weekend getaway? Read the top 8 weekend getaways a short drive from Toronto.