One-Tank Trip for Sept. 16/17
(c) By Jim Fox
The hills are about to come alive with a kaleidoscope of autumn colors and they’re going to be spectacular.
While many people lament a summer that wasn’t exactly to their liking, the fall foliage show will be “glorious,” says Dave Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist.
“I think it’s going to be the most spectacular, colour-change season in history,” he added, noting the trees have enjoyed the wet and not-so-hot summer.
In anticipation of the season, Ontario Parks and Ontario Tourism have launched their fall colour reports, predicting great things to come soon.
|The hills are about to turn vibrant at Bass Lake Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)|
“Ontario is the premier destination for those wishing to see summer’s lush greenery transformed into a mosaic of magnificent rich shades of red, orange and yellow,” says Kevin Forget of the Ontario Travel Information Centre in Barrie.
The first of the weekly “Fall Colour Progression Reports,” running online until mid-October, is designed to “enrich” your day-tripping experiences.
“Discover great scenic lookouts, fall driving and hiking tours, special fall packages, community events, studio tours and more,” Forget says.
As far as the colours so far, things are just starting to change.
To view the report or for more information, go to ontariotravel.net or call 1-800-ONTARIO (1-800-668-2746).
As Ontario Parks rolls out its first leaf-peeping report this year, it notes that Algonquin Park in Muskoka is “often seen as the fall colours flagship.”
Vibrant fall colours will soon be showing off this season in Algonquin Provincial Park. (Barbara Fox photo)
It also advises – or warns – there can be a traffic backlog several kilometres long on busy fall weekends, especially at the West Gate near Huntsville.
The report issued this week notes there has been a 20-per-cent colour change there.
“Sugar maple fall colour is strengthening with each passing day and is currently showing a greenish-yellow colour,” it says.
Typically, late September to early October offer the best maple viewing, while early to mid-October offer the best poplar (aspen) colour.
The reports, available at ontarioparks.com/fallcolour, show the latest changes in up to 60 provincial parks across Ontario.
There’s a map and peak-viewing chart, with staff updating their park conditions weekly.
It says the summer weather will lead to “brilliant reds and golds,” with now through late-October the prime-time viewing time “when campsites are plentiful and camp cabins and yurts are easier to book.”
Yours to discover
Why not discover some not-as-congested parks as there are numerous ones near Algonquin.
These include Arrowhead, Bonnechere, Lake St. Peter, Mikisew, Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls and Samuel de Champlain provincial parks.
Algonquin Provincial Park showing off its autumn colours. (Barbara Fox photo)
Other options that are “every bit as vibrant in the autumn” are Chutes, Driftwood, French River and Restoule provincial parks and Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.
Closer to home, among the parks reporting a 10-per-cent colour change include Bronte Creek in Oakville.
Take the linear Ravine Trail for viewing the best fall colours and scenery, with great views of the creek below.
MacGregor Point, south of Port Elgin, has a similar report while things are about to change at Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron near Grand Bend.
Bike or hike Pinery’s 14-kilometre Savanna Trail and view the forests on its 10 hiking trails.
Sauble Falls Provincial Park in Wiarton is also showing 10 per cent, with best viewing in the campground, on the trail and at the falls.
Farther afield, parks officials suggest driving the Lake Superior Coastal Route that follows the “majestic north shore” between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay for spectacular colours.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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