7 Fantastic Things to do in Fall in Muskoka & Where to See Fall Colours in Muskoka

Fall in Ontario is magical. There’s something about that feeling you get when the temperature cools, hints of pumpkin fill the air, and trees transform into a work of art. And one of the top things to do in Ontario in the fall is to visit Muskoka. It’s definitely one of the best places to experience falls colours in Ontario. But here are a few fantastic things to do in the fall in Muskoka to experience the fall colours.

Located a few hours’ drive north of Toronto, Muskoka is a popular place in the summer for cottagers as its home to over 1500 lakes. But don’t let the changing of the seasons keep you away. Fall is the perfect time to visit Muskoka. Crowds are thinning out, traffic isn’t as crazy, and in my opinion, Fall is the best time to explore Muskoka.

Best Things to do in the Fall in Muskoka

There are so many incredible things to do in the fall in Muskoka! But where do you begin? Right here! I have all the best Muskoka fall activities as well as the best places to see fall colours in Muskoka.

Visit Muskoka with a fall drive

Take a Fall Drive

The number one reason to visit Muskoka in the Fall is to experience the incredible fall foliage. The forest’s come to life in the fall! And the best time to experience the fall colour change is usually from mid-September to mid-October. It depends on a lot of factors, from summer temperatures to rain and sun.

Did you know? Have you ever wondered why leaves change colour in the fall? The truth is the colours are always in the leaves. And during summer the green is dominant because of the production of chlorophyll. But the chlorophyll stops being produced when fall nears, hence the other colours now become visible.

One of my favourite ways to experience fall in Muskoka is to jump in the car and take a scenic fall drive. I try and do one every year, but this year was the best! The sugar maples were flaming red, as though they were on fire. The poplars and willows a vibrant yellow. And the ash trees a rich purple hue. Driving up over hills the forests were full of intense colours stretching out in front of me.

A fall drive in Muskoka can take as little as an hour or go as long as you can! Some route options are: North on Highway 11 to Highway 60, then along 35 to 117, which will take you back out to Highway 11.

Another nice drive is Highway 11 to 169 to 118 West, which will again take you back over to Highway 11. And don’t forget to take a chance on those backroads. Sometimes, they are the best!

SAFETY NOTE: It is advised to NEVER park on live lanes. Only pull over if you have sufficient space to do so. Many of the roads and highways in Muskoka are narrow, winding, and have vehicles going 60 -80 kilometres an hour. There are many places to pull over to take photos, parking lots, side streets, and large stretches of shoulder.

Related Post: Charming Ontario Small Towns You’ll Fall in Love With

Johnston Cranberry Marsh Plunge

Bala Cranberry Festival

Nothing says Fall has arrived like all things pumpkin and cranberry flavoured. And a great way to enjoy Muskoka in the Fall is to attend the Bala Cranberry Festival.

The Festival runs the weekend after Thanksgiving and celebrates all things cranberry. Thousands of people flock to the charming little town of Bala and have so for 30 years.

Beyond being an idyllic location to visit in the fall, with its waterfalls, great shops, and picturesque lake, Bala comes alive for the Cranberry Festival. Try one or all of the delicious cranberry inspired dishes – from tarts to jams and everything in between.

Shop the vendors for unique and local pieces – from art to jewellery, and great gift ideas. And don’t forget to take a tour of the cranberry marsh!

And new this year, you can enjoy the Cranberry Route! This self-guided tour of Muskoka offers over 20 stops where see why Muskoka’s berry is the cranberry.

Stops include bakeries for delicious treats, breweries for a flavoured craft beer, and a host of other restaurants, cafes, and more!

Another must Muskoka fall activity in Bala is the Cranberry Plunge at Johnstons Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery! Here you’ll get to don a pair of waders and take a dip into one of the farm’s cranberry marshes.

But there’s so much more to do on the farm in the fall, like taking a beautiful fall hike, a wagon tour, and so much more!

Walker's Point Lookout

Visit a Lookout – or TWO!

There are a wealth of lookouts found across Muskoka. All offer breathtaking views of either charming small towns, lovely lakes, stunning fall foliage, or all of the above.

The most popular one is the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower. Ascend over 450 feet into the air and you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of Muskoka and Algonquin Highlands.

But please note that weekends during peak fall colours will be excessively busy, with upwards of 600 cars descending at the gates each day. Arrive early or visit during the week for considerably less traffic.

For other great lookouts in Muskoka, that are not nearly as busy, check out the following. In Huntsville, there is Lions Lookout. In Gravenhurst visit Lookout Park. West of Bracebridge you can enjoy the Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail. And another great gem is Walker’s Point Lookout Trail.

Scenic Train Ride

One of my favourite ways to travel is by train! And Muskoka has its very own scenic train. The Muskoka Heritage Place, in Huntsville, is a great place to visit. Its home to the Muskoka Pioneer Village – with 18 authentic pioneer buildings, the Muskoka and Rail Museums, and the Portage Flyer Train.

Running from Spring to Fall, this scenic train ride is a great way to soak in fall when you visit Muskoka. Hop aboard the open-air Portage Flyer for a 30 minute train ride along the Muskoka River to Fairy Lake station. All while in authentic coaches named the Algonquin and Iroquois.

Related Post: Discovering Huntsville Murals: Honouring The Group of Seven

This is a great budget-friendly option as train rides are only $6 for adults. But be sure to check their website for scheduling and departure times.

hiking in Alqonquin Park
Hike in Algonquin Provincial Park

A fall trip to cottage country isn’t complete without a stop in Algonquin Park! It is one of Canada’s most famous parks. But did you know that Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada’s first provincial park? It all started 125 years ago, in 1893.

Now, people travel from across the world to visit. And while it is popular year long, the fall is when it truly shines.

While technically the park is located in the Nipissing District, many consider it part of Muskoka and cottage country as there is an overlap. And a hiking in Algonquin Park is a must fall experience. The park is home to 18 hiking trails – all of which offer outstanding views of the rich fall foliage.

Related Post: Beausoleil Island: Wild & Inspiring Beauty

The best time to visit Algonquin Park in the fall for peak fall colours is between mid-September through to early October. But be aware, weekends at peak times are incredibly busy. I recommend visiting during the week or start out as early as you can to beat the crowds.

Local Tip: Add another incredible park to your list of places to visit in Muskoka in the fall – Hardy Lake Provincial Park.

Looking for more incredible places to hike in Ontario this fall? Check out my list of over 10 dreamy Ontario fall hikes. Or this list of the top places to hike in Muskoka!

Fall Cruise in Muskoka

Take a Cruise

With the hundreds upon hundreds of pristine lakes in Muskoka it’s no surprise that the area boasts a variety of cruises. And while you can enjoy them all summer, a cruise is a calm and relaxing way to enjoy fall in Muskoka. There’s nothing finer than seeing the brilliant fall foliage being reflected in the water.

There are six fall cruises to choose from. There is the Lady Muskoka out of Bracebridge. It makes it way down the Muskoka River and into Lake Muskoka.

There’s also the Muskoka Steamships in Gravenhurst, Midland Tours in Port Severn, and Island Queen Cruise in Parry Sound. You can take a sunset cruise or do the Lake Rosseau Circle Tour in Port Carling. Or cruise the Lake of Bays in the historic SS Bigwin.

Most Muskoka cruises run until mid to late October, with special cruises for Thanksgiving weekend. Be sure to book in advance to ensure you get tickets, especially for weekend cruises.

Looking for great places to stay in Muskoka during your visit? Check out these cute and cozy Muskoka cottage rentals

Canoe in Muskoka

Canoe the Lakes

Muskoka is a haven for canoe enthusiasts. There is something serene and awe-inspiring about being in a canoe in the fall in Muskoka. With the early morning fog lifting off the water, birds starting to stir, colourful leaves glistening with dew and reflecting in the water, it is an enchanting experience.

Home to around 1600 lakes, you can have your pick of some of Ontario’s best waterways. You can canoe along routes that The Group of Seven once took to see the scenery that inspired their paintings. Or head to waterfalls, like Ragged Falls along Oxtonge River! Or maybe you just simply want to soak in the beauty of fall with a paddle around the lake.

Don’t fret if you don’t own a canoe. Algonquin Outfitters rents them for around $35 a day. That includes the canoe, paddles and two life jackets. There are two locations, one just before Algonquin Park and the other in Dwight.

So, if you’re looking for a great day trip this fall, are looking for a new spot to explore, or want to see the best fall colours in Ontario, I encourage you to visit Muskoka!

If you’re planning to stay for a few days try this awesome Toronto to Muskoka road trip!

More Fall in Muskoka Activities

Are you looking for more things to do in the fall in Muskoka? I’ve got a few more fun fall Muskoka activities for you to check out!

Port Sydney Tree – One of the most photographed places in Muskoka in the fall is the Port Sydney tree. Located along the Muskoka river on Indian’s Landing in Port Sydney. It is a must-visit spot in the fall when the leaves on the tree are a vibrant red.

Chase Ghosts – October in Muskoka is the perfect time to chase ghosts. There are plenty of haunted places in Muskoka. A few places to check out include the Inn at the Falls in Bracebridge, Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, the Gravenhurst Opera House, and many more.

Treetop Trekking – If you’re looking for fun things to do in in fall in Muskoka then visit Huntsville’s Treetop Trekking. Wander along boardwalks suspended in the trees canopy and zip-lining through the forests at this epic Muskoka attraction in the fall. There are also suspension bridges, Tarzan swings, and more! Treetop Trekking is a great way to soak in those fall colours in Muskoka!

Will you visit Muskoka this fall?

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Things to do in fall in Muskoka
7 Awesome Ways to Experience Fall when You Visit Muskoka

Stephanie

I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for travel, the great outdoors as well as coffee and books. I hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Traveling mostly solo, I love to explore my own backyard of Ontario as well as exotic cities around the world.

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