Ontario, yours to discover! And what better way to discover the beauty of this eastern province than under a canopy of its coniferous and broadleaf forests?
Ontario offers a wide selection of hiking spots, From the National Trail that covers 6000 miles across Canada to the Bruce Trail which stretches across southern Ontario. Whichever your pick, hiking is one of the best ways to immerse oneself in nature, breathe some fresh air and work those muscles! Lace on those hiking boots, grab some snacks and embrace the wonders Ontario’s nature has to offer.
Mount Nemo Conservation is located on the Niagra Escarpment. This Halton region trail leads you up the escarpment through beautiful woods and caves. The best parts of this trail are the breathtaking views of the GTA. Look out points are located at different spots on the trail, overlooking forest, farmland, and, on clear days, you can even spot the CN Tower. The trail is also a popular spot for rock climbing. Climbers scour the rocky walls of the escarpment, starting from the many caves and crevices located on the trail. Or, grab your binoculars, find a spot near the ledge and spot Turkey Vultures soaring over the landscape.
Terra Cotta (Bruce Trail, Caledon Trailway)
This conservation hike will take you through a forest of dead pines, under canopies of large maples, and over a boardwalk. Located on the outskirts of Caledon, each spot on the trail looks like a world of its own! Begin the trail by climbing over a laddered fence, then through the forest of dead pines. Next, a myriad of colors will greet you as you walk under the trees canopies. Then, a small valley, a river, a pond and much more.
Balls Falls (Niagara Peninsula)
This conservation area in Lincoln includes a historic site complete with a mill, farm, farmhouse, and more. It also has two hiking trails, each taking you past two fall locations: Upper and Lower falls. What most people don’t know, is that there’s more to the gorgeous falls than meets the eye. A small parking lot on the side of a road reveals an entrance to the Ball Falls hiking trail, that leads to the historic site and falls. The trail is fairly easy, with a few ups and downs. If you’re more adventurous, however, follow the sound of the roaring river and hike down the ravine towards it.
Here you will find a wide, rocky river hidden behind the tree’s canopies. The best time to go is during the autumn months. Specifically, September to October. Why? Because not only will the trees and forest floor be glowing vibrant orange and yellows, there will also be packs of salmon traveling up river.
These magnificent, strong sea creatures return every year around the same time to span at pool beneath the falls. Hop from rock to rock near the bank of the river and follow the salmon’s journey as they toss themselves up through the waves and miniature falls that the rocks make. It truly is a breathtaking scene.
Highland Backpacking Trail (Algonquin Provincial Park)
For a more intermediate hike, this trail in Algonquin offers two loops, one 19 km and another at 35km. It’s a long journey, and, as the name suggests, requires backpacking gear and a couple days to finish the whole route. With steep climbs, waterfalls and various wildlife, this hiking trail is an adventure on its own. The route loops at Provoking Lake, where you can camp for a night before heading on out again. For the more daring hikers out there, this trail offers a mix of adventure and serenity as you immerse in nature and its wonderful wildlife.
Halah is an aspiring writer consumed by a wanderlust that only grows with every glimpse she gets of the world. She is in her fourth year studying English Literature and Professional Writing at UofT. When she’s not commuting, Halah spends most of her time reading, drawing, hiking and practicing photography.
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