With record-breaking summer temperatures behind us, we can now look forward to fall’s oncoming blaze of colour to Toronto area landscapes. Although difficult to pin down to the day and highly dependent on cool temperatures that result in a lack of chlorophyll production that cause leaves to change colour, it is safe to say that the first two weeks of October are the best for fall colour drives, with leaf colours reaching their most vibrant around Thanksgiving weekend: October 10-12, 2015. Find out where to see fall colours in the GTA and why not take in an Ontario fall fair while you’re at it?
You may pass it every day on your trek into the city along the Don Valley, but try navigating it on foot to enjoy the golden yellow, burnt orange and rustic red foliage panorama. Start at Yonge and St. Clair and descend the stairs at Heath St. E. that lead to the valley at Heath St. E. The trail heads south for a few kilometres and then loops back north. You can also enter it via Castle Frank Rd., just west of Castle Frank subway station.
Erindale Park, at 1695 Dundas St. W., just east of Mississauga Road, provides vibrant fall foliage for those who don’t want to venture too far away from the city. Walk north along trails that pass through forests and hug the Credit River. The lookout on the old dam provides a scenic spot for pictures.
Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Milton
If you are wondering where to see fall colours in the GTA, the drive along Guelph Line to Crawford Lake Conservation Area provides outstanding fall colour amidst silver maples, white pines and red oaks. Once inside the conservation area, you’ll want to walk along the boardwalk, which traces the pristine Crawford Lake, forking out to 19 km of wooded trails that pass through a restored 15th century Iroquois village. Note: This conservation area is extremely popular during Thanksgiving weekend. Adults $7.25, seniors $6.25, 5-14 $5 and 4 and under free. Crawford Lake is located at 3115 Conservation Road (formerly Steeles Ave.) and Guelph Line, 5 km south of Hwy 401.
About five minutes south of Crawford Lake and situated on top of the Niagara Escarpment, Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is ideal for a fall colour hike or rock climbing. Make sure to stop at Rattlesnake Point, which is about 1 km from the entrance to the park, to witness a wide-sweeping view of the city. The steep uphill climb along Appleby Line leading to the conservation area from the Q.E.W. provides spectacular views of fall foliage that make a perfect shot for shutterbugs. Adults $6.25, seniors $5.50, 5-14 $4.50 and 4 and under free. Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is located at 7200 Appleby Line, 1 km north of Derry Road.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is a little further outside of Toronto, but the scenic fall drive along Airport Rd. through Caledon is worth it. The park, which intertwines with the Bruce Trail, features a 500-metre-above-sea-level lookout, rock masses, streams and a lake. Guided cave hikes are available. You’ll find paid parking and washrooms at the park entrance. Parking fees are 1 hour $3, 2 hours $5 and all day $11. Take Airport Rd. north to Mono Centre Rd. (Dufferin County Rd. 8), turn west to 3rd Line E.H.S., then turn north and drive 1 km.