“Humpty might not have had a good summer, but Humpty will surely have a great fall.” – read a quote in Wilno Tavern. This quote pretty much summarizes how my summer and fall of 2022 were. The summer was occupied with work, and hectic travel, in between fell sick and recovered, the lawn and plants took a beating due to the harsh winter and I could not wait for the fall weather to kick in.
“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”– Chadd Sugg
I grew up in southern India which is highly tropical in nature. The sarcasm in the region is that the weather is just hot, hotter and hottest. But we did study that there are 4 seasons when I had actually experienced only 2. Fall was a season I had never heard of but it is the season that I look forward to every year since I moved to the United States. What makes the fall season so special?
Fall is a season that is all about pumpkins and one of the favourite drinks is not so spicy “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. What made fall even more beautiful was the ever-present warning of “Winter is coming”. The trees that were once green burst into gold, pink, brown, red and many other beautiful colours. The season activates your 5 senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight, making you fall in love with the Fall season.
Things to do in the fall in Ontario.
Day 1 was about driving through Madawaska valley consisting of the beautiful locales of Wilno, Combermere and Barry’s Bay. The trip was planned in a way that we avoided the traffic on Highway 60 and went through routes that gave us a lot of surprises and many scenic spots to click beautiful pictures.
Kamaniskeg Lake Lookout: The trip started with this awesome place that is definitely worth the stop. This place was initially planned to be our lunch stop. There are no restaurants here, we planned to have our homemade food here. This picturesque place actually delayed our lunch by an hour or so. Such was the beauty of this place. This place overlooks the Ottawa river basin and an island dedicated to the Mayflower tragedy, one of the biggest inland tragedies in Canada. The place also offers some information on this tragedy and the locals mentioned that the trail around the lake is a must-try. One place added to our bucket list for the summer of 2023.
St. Mary’s Church: This magnificent church was our next stop; unfortunately, the church was closed. The region is known for being the first polish settlement in Canada. The views from the hilltop were spectacular and the church grounds are so well maintained. The fall colors was just awesome will never forget those views. This detour is completely worth a quick stop. Wilno Tavern restaurant is located close to this church. Fun fact: This is where i read the “Humpty Quote”, referenced at the beginning of this blog.
McRae Lookout Park: This place was not a part of the agenda and stopped us in our tracks. This scenic lookout park overlooks the Bonnechere river and the flowing water through the ruins is a sight to behold. The spot has plenty of parking lots and seems a bit of a detour, but I am sure this place will pull you to stop. This spot is a good place for a picnic or a hangout with friends. You can also find a nice shelter here to rest and hangout with friends.
Mount Molson Dairy Bar: This one was a quick pit stop before our dinner. The dairy bar is run by friendly staff and is located in a spot where you would lose track of time. This place is situated on top of the mountain overlooking the Ottawa river. They serve Kawartha Lakes Dairy and this is a window service takeout. Grab an ice-cream, sit at the top of the ski hill and enjoy the stupendous view of the Ottawa River!
Day 2 was spent in the majestic and beautiful Algonquin park. The provincial park is home to different kinds of flora and fauna. The fall(autumn) is the best season to visit the park and highway 60 is the most popular route used by tourists to enjoy the colours. You do not need a permit to access the highway but purchase a permit and book a date to access the facilities like parking, trails, and rest area.
Sand Lake Gate, Algonquin Park: This gate is located on the East side of the park. This place contains information on the park, permits for various parks, information bulletins, and restrooms. I would advise using the restrooms here as the restrooms near the trails are not super clean. If you plan to cover multiple trails getting a daily pass is a better deal. The staff here were very friendly. The place also sells some Algonquin park merchandise.
Barron Canyon: The sand lake gate is the entry to Barron Canyon. The drive to the trail offers various photo-ops. Set your google maps ahead of time as you will lose signal after you cross Sand Lake Gate. This is a medium-level 1.5 KM loop trail. I have trekked this trail in both Fall and Winter, and the hike is totally worth the time. The course and the cliff are very picturesque. This is not a kid-friendly trail and has a high unfenced cliff which can be fatal. So, make sure to keep a watch on your loved ones.
McManus Lake: The truly hidden gem and a must-visit spot. This is a bit of a detour from the Barron Canyon and there is absolutely no signal in your cellphone so make sure you trust your map and stay on the route. The route is a little tricky to handle as it is narrow so do not speed, and be cautious while driving. The lake is accessible and a good place to hang out with friends and family. The view of the mountain and the forest on the other side of the lake makes the place even more special during the fall season.
Driftwood Provincial Park: The park is located on the Ottawa River directly across from the mouth of the Dumoine River. This park is located very close to the highway making it easy to locate. During the summer, this water is warm enough to swim, and the small trail that takes you to the top of the rock is an experience worth it in the fall season. There is a small boardwalk leading into the lake which can be used as a runway to jump into the lake or take some excellent photos. The boardwalk sways a lot so caution is advised when using the boardwalk.
Deep River Marina: Small little town took me by surprise during my first visit. This place reminded us more of Schitt’s Creek as this was a self-contained town. There is a sand beach here for you to enjoy the warm water during the summer and a small trail leading to a boardwalk which makes the view romantic. We also found many boats docked by the locals and the place is known for canoeing.
My Maps: Link
Day 1: Route Link
Day 2: Route Link