The Best Place to See Fall Colors in October
For the best fall foliage in early to mid-October, head to Orillia, Muskoka and Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville.
Things to Bring for a Day Trip/Weekend Getaway
Autumn in Algonquin can be cold and damp so check the forecast in advance and prepare for the weather.
Road Trip Checklist:
-Jacket, warm clothing, scarf and extra socks. (When hiking, it is best to wear long sleeve tops and pants to shield from mud, tics and poison ivy).
-Rain gear/umbrella (if necessary).
-Hiking/waterproof shoes or boots (the ground can be quite wet).
-Park map and compass if you plan to hike off trail.
-Cooler with drinks, food, snacks and lots of water. (For your safety, make sure to dispose of garbage in bear proof bins located throughout the park).
-Cell Phone (make sure you have reception).
-Bear repellent (Algonquin is black bear territory. Also be on the lookout for wolves and moose which can be aggressive).
-Backpack (for weight distribution and hands-free hiking).
-Camping + fishing gear (if you aren't staying at a hotel). I prefer luxury accommodations so I’ll leave this category to more experienced campers.
-Canoe and life jackets (if you plan to make use of the many lakes). Canoe rentals are also available (check with visitor information).
-Beach/swimming gear (if you visit during the summer).
The drive to Algonquin along highway 11 towards Muskoka is beautiful! Orillia is especially vivid because the road is lined with colorful trees as far as the eye can see.
Stops to Make Along the Way
Before you reach Algonquin Park there are many places to stop and explore.
A few of my favorites are:
*Gravenhurst and Muskoka Wharf. There is a farmers market, picturesque boardwalk, lakeside resorts and a few restaurants. Steam ships also depart from the dock (tour schedule is available at the visitor center).
*Deerhurst Resort and Golf Course (great place to snap a few photos)
There are several towns surrounding Algonquin and the park itself has a few lodge-style accommodations, cabins and campgrounds.
**Travel Tip: read reviews and choose a hotel based on budget, comfort, location and the experience you wish to have. Always book well in advanced during peak seasons.
Lodges and log cabins aren’t really my style so we booked a king size room at the Holiday Inn Hunstville based on reviews and ranking on Expedia. It was clean, comfortable and located close to the old town.
Keep in mind that remote accommodations near or inside of the park are surrounded by forest and at night it is pitch dark. In the evening, there isn’t much to do in these areas, dining options are limited and it is not safe to wander off into the wilderness.
I highly recommend Belly Artisan Ice Cream. Their delicious, non-GMO natural flavors made in house with no artificial colors. They also offer vegan and nut-free desserts.
Other areas to stay near the park include:
Visiting Algonquin Park
We entered at the west end of the park. Day passes can be purchased at the visitor center (located at both entrances) for $18 per car. It must be displayed on the dashboard at all times.
Best Places to Stop in Algonquin Park:
-Lake of Two Rivers
-East Lake Trail and Lookout
**Travel tip: be EXTRA vigilant when hiking trails through black bear country in Algonquin Park. During autumn the bears prepare for hibernation and moose may be aggressive during mating season. Remember to keep a safe distance, have bear spray ready and do not approach wild animals.