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Autumn in Niagara Falls Ontario

Couple looking at the Niagara River

Autumn in Niagara is a beautiful time for touring.

Rather than a built-up metropolis, Niagara is a region made up of small and mid-sized cities and towns separated by long stretches of rural land. That makes it an especially good place for a day drive or bike ride to enjoy the glorious colours on the trees on a warm fall day.

For anyone with a good bike equipped with a comfortable seat, a great way to see the colours is on the Niagara River Recreation Trail, which basically follows the Niagara Parkway along the length of the Niagara River.

It’s 58 kilometres (33 miles) long, but it isn’t necessary to ride the entire length. It runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake through Queenston, then Niagara Falls and into Fort Erie so there are plenty of places to stop or just take a rest for a refreshing meal or drink.

Most of the riverfront area is thick with trees and the entire route is tourist-friendly. If you want a longer trek, it is easy to connect to the Greater Niagara Circle Route will take you all across Niagara.

A good place to start is Dufferin Islands in Niagara Falls. Nestled at the foot of the escarpment and located south of the falls on the Niagara Parkway, it is a series of man-made streams running through a forested area with family-friendly hiking trails.  Parking is free, the area is handicapped-accessible and you can enjoy the ducks and geese that land on the water there. Great for photographers.

Then there is Heartland Forest, just west of the QEW in south Niagara Falls. Walking trails are open daily from dawn to dusk and are easy for children and families to enjoy. Founded in 2004, it offers a nature centre amid a thick, 93-acre forest that can be breathtaking as the colours change in the fall. 

This is a genuine must-see for anyone serious about enjoying the views in autumn. 

Another great place for a fall hike is Queenston Heights, site of an important battle in the War of 1812. Gen. Isaac Brock died there and a massive monument commemorates his service. Located near Highway 406 just south of Niagara-on-the-Lake and situated at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, it is also the southern terminus of the Bruce Trail.

Not only are the fall colours spectacular, so is the view from Queenston Heights looking down the Niagara River toward Niagara-on-the-Lake. Parking is free and there is no charge to use the trails.

For anyone just looking for a beautiful drive on a fall day, take the Niagara Parkway that stretches from Niagara-on-the-Lake through Niagara Falls and into Fort Erie. With the Niagara River on one side – and its view of the trees and neighbourhoods on the American side – and the Canadian fall colours on the other, it is a genuinely relaxing, slow-speed way to take in the best colours Niagara has to offer.