Ontario has some of the most scenic hikes that Canada has to offer. Beautiful waterfalls and changing fall colours are just some of the views that you’ll encounter. Since it’s such a large province, we’ve narrowed it down to five of the best hiking trails in Ontario.
Whether you enjoy going for a stroll or looking for a full day hike, you’ll want to add some of these to your bucket list!
1. Dundas Peak Trail
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Any Instagrammer will know that Hamilton waterfalls are becoming increasingly popular to visit in Ontario. Webster Falls and Tew’s Falls are two of the most popular waterfalls that are often visited by tourists and locals alike. Tew’s Falls is known for being the tallest waterfall in Hamilton at 41 metres high.
If you hike along the Dundas Peak trail, you not only get a viewpoint of these waterfalls but also views of the incredible fall foliage. The trail arguably gives you the best lookout point of Hamilton and its vibrant autumn colours. In order to access the trail, you’ll need to go to Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. This is only about 1 hour outside of Toronto.
Just off the parking lot at the Conservation Area is Webster Falls. Since it’s so easily accessible, it’s probably the busiest and most popular waterfall in Hamilton. Once you’ve had your fill of that gorgeous view, continue on the trail until you reach Tew’s Falls. Grab a couple photos and then make your way through the trail. You’ll eventually make it to the most scenic point of the trail where you get a viewpoint of Hamilton that’s like no other.
Be sure to stay on the marked trail to avoid any dangerous terrain.
2. Cyprus Lake Trail
Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Located near the Northern Bruce Peninsula, the Cyprus Lake Trail is great for hikers of all skill levels. Thanks to the trail being partially on a wooden boardwalk, it makes it much easier to navigate around. Throughout the year, the trail could be used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and, of course, hiking.
While trekking along the boardwalk, you’ll be immersed in a picturesque forest. During the springtime, you’ll even see the flowers start to bloom. The obvious appeal of this trail is the view of Cyprus Lake with its beautiful turquoise waters during the summer. The entire trail wraps around the lake, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see it. The trail also serves as a gateway to popular spots in Bruce Peninsula National Park, including the infamous Grotto.
If it does rain before or while you’re there, it’s highly recommended to wear the proper footwear as parts of the trail does get muddy.
3. Mizzy Lake Trail
Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Located in Algonquin Park, Mizzy Lake Trail is a scenic hike that features a lake and lots of wildlife within the park. While it is considered a moderate level of difficulty, it is a lengthy hike. The trail is about a 10.8-kilometre loop and it’s strongly suggested that you get an early start in the day – if you plan to do the entire thing. It can take a full day to complete for many hikers. Proper footwear is also highly recommended. While parts of the trail are covered by a boardwalk, you’ll also encounter uneven terrain and soil.
During your hike, you can expect to come across nine ponds and small lakes where many of the wildlife can be found. Look out for beavers, painted turtles, moose, and, yes, bears. It’s important to note that dogs / pets are not allowed on this trail.
While the trail is open year-round, the best time to visit is between February and November. Many bloggers suggest planning a visit during the fall time to see the changing colours of the leaves. Plus, the lower temperature helps aid the long trek around the trail.
4. Bruce Trail
You can’t have a list about the best hiking trails in Ontario without including the Bruce Trail. As Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath, the Bruce Trail is 900 kilometres long. It travels from Tobermory through the Bruce Peninsula and all the way to Niagara.
The trail divides into nine sections with varying hiking difficulty levels. Each trail section has its own subsidiary club: Niagara, Iroquoia, Toronto, Caledon, Dufferin Hi-Land, Blue Mountains, Beaver Valley, Sydenham, and Peninsula.
While it would be very difficult to complete the entire trail from end-to-end, many hikers enjoy trekking parts of it at a time until they’ve covered the entire trail. If you want to be considered an official End-To-Ender with the Bruce Trail Conservancy, you need to keep a hiker’s log with dates including the date of completion. You’ll also need to become a Bruce Trail Conservancy member and send in $15 to receive the official badge and certificate.
5. Cup & Saucer Trail
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
The Cup & Saucer trail is a scenic hike through cliffs and bushes that is located on Manitoulin Island. It’s considered one of the best hiking trails in Ontario due to its breathtaking views. The terrain is mostly flat with a few steep points, which makes it a moderate difficulty.
While there are four designated lookout points along the trail, the main goal that most hikers aim for is the east vantage point. It offers a panoramic view of the beautiful landscape while you sit or stand atop a rock ledge, which makes for the perfect photo op.
The trail is open year-round, but the best time to hike there is between April to October. However, if you really want to take advantage of that panoramic view, you’ll want to visit during the autumn when the foliage colours are changing.
Most of the best hiking trails in Ontario are available all year-round. Whether you want to be out enjoying the warm summer weather or ready to take photos of the fall foliage, there is no shortage of trails to keep you trekking. While some trails are just a drive away, you may want to plan a weekend getaway for further ones. CanadaStays has plenty of vacation rentals that are close by to help you unwind after a long day of walking.
If you’re even feeling adventurous, there are many hikes within Canada to keep you occupied outdoors. You can check out our blog post on the “Best Hikes in Canada: Where to Find Them” for some great trails!