Feast your eyes in Lanark County, where each fall, sugar maple forests explode in shades of brilliant yellow, fiery reds and rusty oranges. Here, spectacular views and colourful displays lie literally around every twist in the tree-lined road, and each year people come from all over to enjoy the beauty of autumn.
The secret behind these spectacular and colourful displays comes from Lanark County’s role as the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, and the abundance of sugar maples that provide the sap that’s turned into delicious maple syrup each spring. In Lanark County, our maple heritage is celebrated all year long.
Come to Lanark County to explore the fall colours in these top five locations and you can indulge yourself with some of the most dramatic displays of fall colours in the world. Don’t forget your camera!
Photo: Vanessa De La Cruz @diaryofvan
- Mill of Kintail (Mississippi Mills)
Take a stroll through the winding paths at the Mill of Kintail and bask in the stunning fall colours on display. The Mill of Kintail is the perfect spot for a picnic in the park, hike, or relaxed walk; bring a picnic basket and relax on the grassy lawns around the park, or head deeper into the bush for an up-close experience with the falling autumn leaves. The Mill is a five-minute drive from the town of Almonte, and offers more than four-kilometres of trails.
- Riverside Park (Carleton Place)
Located in the heart of Carleton Place, Riverside Park is peppered with mature trees that turn the park into a multi-coloured landscape each fall. Take a stroll along Riverside Trail that runs along the waterfront and view the fall display in all its glory, and reflected in the water of the Mississippi River. Discover the Carleton Place Canoe Club, enjoy the beach and park, or have a picnic during your visit.
- French Line (Lanark Highlands)
There are few places more beautiful in the fall than Lanark Highlands. Known for its many tree-lined roads that wind and twist their way over hills and past wetlands, creeks, and rivers, Lanark Highlands is a pleasure to be during the autumn. Plan a drive down French Line Road in Lanark Highlands, off of Highway 511 and prepare to be amazed by the stunning natural beauty of this terrain in fall. Extend your trip with a hike to the top of the nearby Blueberry Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County, and get a bird’s-eye view of the vibrant fall colours.
- Harper Road (Tay Valley)
Another road that’s lined with trees that produce a brilliant fall display, Harper Road in Tay Valley is a delight to drive or cycle in the fall. Harper Road runs off of Highway 7 at Glen Tay, traveling north towards Balderson, and the collection of houses locally known as “Bells Corners.” This is another hidden gem that’s worth the drive to experience the vivid beauty in fall. Take some time to explore the community of Glen Tay, a scenic area nestled by the shores of the Tay River.
- Stewart Park (Perth)
If you’re looking for another fantastic picnic spot, complete with trails, mature trees and the sound of rushing water, look no further than historic Perth’s picturesque Stewart Park. Located behind town hall, Stewart Park is one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County, and is home to a number of mature trees that shed their brilliant leaves each fall, carpeting the grass with a bright layer of rustling leaves. Stewart Park is a popular spot for fall weddings, as brides and grooms strive to capture the beauty of the season and the magic of the moment in their wedding photos.
- Heritage Drive (Montague)
Stately stone homesteads and early barns grace both sides of Heritage Drive, some of which rank amongst the earliest architectural structures in Lanark County. Touching two of the Rideau Canal lock stations, Clowes Lock and Andrewsville, this very place was the gateway to the first European settlement in Lanark County, making Heritage Drive a historical icon of the region. Today you will travel past picturesque horse stables and scenic farmland as you approach the lookout points at each lock station.
- Franktown – Highway 15 (Beckwith)
Franktown is not only home to the annual Lilac Festival it’s also a charming community perched on the edge of Highway 15 between Carleton Place and Smiths Falls, an area peppered with log homes and rural scenery. This is a lovely drive particularly in fall, as pastoral scenes blend seamlessly with fall scenery, and contrast nicely with the small settlement in Franktown proper. Plan to stop for a bite to eat in Carleton Place, and you can even combine experiences and take a picnic lunch from The Good Food Co. to enjoy at Riverside Park, another fall colour hotspot.
- Prestonvale Road (Drummond North Elmsley)
Travel to the hamlet of Balderson and stop for an ice cream cone or some cheese at the Balderson Village Cheese Store to fuel your search for the best fall colours. From Balderson head north-east on Prestonvale Road, a scenic drive that will take you past small farms, and fields dotted with sheep, cattle, and other livestock.
- Centennial Park (Smiths Falls)
Smiths Falls’ iconic water tower is the perfect backdrop for the towering trees in Centennial Park. This is a good time to park the car and get out to see the colours up close. Wander along the leaf-lined paths bordering the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal, beneath the trees that dominate the setting. Park benches are strategically positioned to look out over the canal and invite visitors to sit and bask in the beauty of the season.
Fall is a busy time in Lanark County, with so much to see and do in our outdoor paradise. Come and spend the day, a weekend, or longer, and discover all there is on offer. Hike, cycle, walk, drive, shop, dine, and enjoy!