Fall is a magical time on Manitoulin Island. Our fall foliage season lasts from mid-September on through to Thanksgiving. With our abundant mixed forests of sugar maples, birch and ash trees (to name a few) we boast some of the best fall colours in Ontario. At Gordon’s Park alone, in our 200-acre forest, there are over 30 types of trees that produce fall colours, so be sure to bring your camera.
This time of year is perfect for star gazing due to the crisp air and longer nights and your odds of seeing the Aurora Borealis are significantly higher. For wildlife lovers, this is also a great time to watch for deer grazing in the fields, salmon runs, and birds preparing for migration.Manitoulin Island is sure to be a great experience for leaf-peepers, hikers, stargazers and road trippers alike and it all starts at Gordon’s Park. Take a sneak peek of some of the colours at Gordon’s Park and around Manitoulin.
Northern Ontario is made for road trips and Manitoulin is a great mix of paved and gravel roads that meander through our abundant forests. We have outlined scenic tours, that start and end at Gordon’s Park, that hit all of the great spots for leaf peeping as well as highlight epic lookouts and waterfalls, restaurants, craft breweries, and points of interest. Stay at Gordon’s Park during leaf peeping season and get free access to our tour maps.
Hiking in the fall is a treat with so many different species of trees and unique walking trails along the escarpment. Gordon’s Park has 7.5 km of hiking trails through 5 eco-systems. Our hiking trails are open to the public at a cost but for our overnight guests, you have unlimited access to our self-guided walking trails and nature interpretive centre free of charge.
During the leaf peeping season we also offer guided hikes:
Forest Colour Walk
- September 16, 23, & 30- 1-2:30 pm
- $15/person +tx
- Come explore our hiking trails on this guided hike through our colourful forest. The walk will highlight our fall colours in the park, include a focus on trees in the fall and answer questions like why Maple trees turn red/orange but Birch trees turn yellow. We will look for signs of wildlife as they get ready for the winter season and you will have the opportunity to try some natural tea foraged from the trees we learn about along the walk.
Moonlight Hike and Wolf Howl
- September 15, & 29- 8-10 pm
- $15/person +tx / $35/family +tx (family includes two adults and kids under 16)
- This guided hike explores the forest at night and includes a group howl to get a response from the Parks wolf pack, as well as a social howling competition around the campfire with prizes. Read more..
Join in on our fall wildlife watch. Fall is a time of harvest and many wildlife are out grazing for food to store for the winter or are getting ready for migration. This increases your likelihood of seeing wildlife roaming around. Manitoulin Island is known for their White-Tailed deer, which out populate people. You shouldn’t be surprised to see dozens of deer out in the fields grazing. This is also the time of the year for bird migration, making Manitoulin a great spot for viewing birds like Sand Hill Cranes, and the time of year that the Salmon run, which can be witnessed at various streams and rivers around Manitoulin.
Autumn months are exceptional for stargazing because of the crisp air and the longer nights. There is also a greater chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in the fall. Gordon’s Park is home to a Dark Sky Preserve, with horizon-to-horizon viewing and no white light pollution. We also offer astronomy events and programming throughout the fall.
- September- 16, 22, 23, 24 & 30 and October 6, 7 & 8
- $20 +tx / person
- Our Astronomy Night includes an orientation into astronomy, a review of planets, northern lights, and solar systems, a laser guided sky tour, a tutorial on star hopping, tips and tricks for viewing with the naked eye, as well as instructions on the use of a planisphere (star map) to find objects in the night sky. Participants will also have the opportunity to try Bausch & Lomb wide-angle binoculars and observe through the park’s 8″ Dobsonian Telescope. Read more…
Capture the Moon Weekend
- October 6-9
- Cost is $45 +tx per person/day or $95 +tx per family/day ( 2 adults and children under 16)
- Longer fall nights make for a beautiful time for Moon gazing. We love the Moon and have dedicated this weekend to celebrate our nearest celestial body. Discover the craters, lava plains, oceanous and mountainous regions of the moon and find Archimedes where the first landing on the moon occurred in 1959. We will have Anishnabeg traditional Grandmother Moon teachings, astronomy sessions, laser sky tours, a wine and cheese campfire and a potluck Thanksgiving feast.