Everyone from Ontario knows that this province is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world for our parks and green spaces. No, we are not biased (… okay, maybe we are a little biased). And fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, when those big, broad leaves of our majestic trees like oak, maple and ash explode with vibrant colour. Of course, there are the classic ways to experience fall here in York Durham Headwaters. You could cycle, hike or take a drive on our rural roads for those autumn hues. But if you don’t mind, we’d like to recommend a few other, more creative ways for you to get your fill of reds, oranges, yellows and browns. So snap the lid tight on your pumpkin spice latte and pull on your favourite wool socks, because we’ve got fun in mind for your colourful fall adventure here in YDH.
If you want a truly unique suggestion for experiencing nature in a fun and interactive way, then an obstacle course as high as the birds fly is the way to go. Adventure seekers from all over will travel long distances to visit a treetop obstacle and zipline park. Here in YDH, we have two! Treetop Trekking in Stouffville and Treetop Eco-Adventure Park in Oshawa both offer thrilling—and safe—physical activity that you can share with your friends, family and loved ones.
Fall is the perfect time to experience a treetop adventure, because you get a panoramic view of the landscape along with that wonderful canopy of fiery hues. “Guests marvel at the fall colours from below, above and within as they climb amongst the trees in our adventure park,” says Mike Stiell, marketing director at Treetop Trekking. “We love helping families experience nature in a fun and unique way, especially families who don’t spend a lot of time outdoors.” Tyler Richards, general manager at Treetop Eco-Adventure Park, says, “With the leaves changing, the entire experience changes too. Being able to share with people the views of the land which our family has been involved with for almost a hundred years is a great feeling.”
Zip across a luscious forest at heights of 60 feet or more, and at breathtaking speeds. Our treetop parks in YDH feature aerial game courses, ziplines, kids’ courses, bridges, balance logs, and spiderweb nets. There is something for everyone. Very young children can enjoy Treewalk Village at Treetop Trekking, a huge forested play area with 12 treehouses to explore. And Treetop Eco-Adventure Park proudly tells us that they have the only handicap-accessible zipline in Ontario. Be sure to check out each location’s specific features for more detail, as well as information on their individual COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area
3291 Stouffville Rd., Whitchurch-Stouffville
53 Snow Ridge Ct.,
By Heritage Train
What better way is there to take in the autumn splendor of Durham as you relax on a vintage train? Less than an hour’s drive from Toronto is the York-Durham Heritage Railway. This little not-for-profit that could, dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Canadian railways in South-Central Ontario, runs train rides on 1950s-era rail cars between Uxbridge and Stouffville, with themed events that will appeal to all ages.
Denis Godbout, president and locomotive engineer with a passion for railway travel, says, “It’s a quaint location and a unique experience that you don’t get to enjoy anywhere else. We offer entertainment on board, and you’re going through the Oak Ridges Moraine as well, which is an area that is unique to the GTA.” Oak Ridges Moraine in autumn? Yes, please!
For a little bit of Halloween fun to spice up your autumn rail adventure, check out Wizards Festival and the Hallows Express Train Ride. This themed event is perfect for witches, warlocks, wizards and general fans of the magical world of Harry Potter. From October 2nd to 4th, you can kick off your Halloween fun with this interactive and immersive experience that includes Quidditch tournaments, a stroll through Enchanted Alley, and classes for charms, potions and so much more. Your general admission ticket gets you into the grounds, and your premium ticket gets you on board the Hallows Express train to Goodwoodora Prison.
York-Durham Heritage Railway
19 Railway St.,
You may think fall is synonymous with the end of summer fun on the water, but don’t let those dipping temperatures stop you from enjoying that last bit of adventure on the lake. Early autumn is the perfect time to hop onto a Sea-Doo and take in the colours along the shores of Lake Simcoe. Here, the trees come alive as they change from deep green to a fringe of reds, oranges and yellows. And on the water, those fall hues are reflected back at you as you zip over the glassy surface—a sight which simply cannot be described unless it is lived. If you have a wet suit, you can push your Sea-Doo-ing fun even later into the season.
Sound like something you would enjoy? Then let us introduce you to Lake Simcoe Watersport Rentals, which provides equipment on Lake Simcoe in Keswick. Staff at LSWR promise to offer excellent and regularly maintained and inspected equipment to ensure you have an easy, hassle-free experience. And they are dedicated to making sure you leave with some amazing memories of Lake Simcoe. (Please note for this particular activity… we rescind what we said at the start of this post about wool socks.)
290 The Queensway S.,
There is something so quintessentially “country” about a brisk trot through the forest as the leaves are changing into their autumn hues, isn’t there? This fall, Pathways on Pleasure Valley invites you to release your inner wrangler and absorb the fall colours on horseback. This hidden gem is located less than an hour from the GTA, and offers 225 acres of forest and valley pathways.
You can choose from regularly scheduled guided horseback riding for all levels of riders, as well as private and romantic trail rides. You will also be provided with basic equipment for your journey. Are you new to riding horses? Pathways on Pleasure Valley offers introductory lessons so you can build your skills and your confidence.
Pathways on Pleasure Valley has been operating in Uxbridge since the 1980s. If you are lucky enough to have been here, you will know that fall is a gorgeous time to come out and breathe in the fresh, fragrant air. Horses are well-trained and well-cared for, and will be excellent companions for your peaceful ride through the autumn woods.
2499 Brock Rd.,
On the Golf Course
Any golf enthusiast will tell you that golf isn’t just for summer. As long as the greens aren’t covered with snow, they are good to go for a round. In York Durham Headwaters, we have some of the most beautiful courses in North America. Golf is no longer the exclusive territory of retirees and high-rolling business executives, it is the new “In” sport. Autumn is a wonderful time to take in the colours from the green in this healthy, wholesome activity for all ages.
At YDH, we love golf so much that we are a part of the Golf in Ontario program (www.golfinontario.ca), which offers amazing fall golf packages. Featured Packages in York Durham Headwaters include:
- Royal Ashburn Stay & Play
- Caledon Collection featuring Toronto TPC at Osprey Valley, Caledon Country Club or Glen Eagle Golf Club
- Jackson’s Point Package featuring Wooden Sticks Golf Club, St. Andrews Valley Golf Club and Mill Run Golf Club.
Contest Alert: Follow @golfinontario and @visitydh on Instagram and Facebook for the launch of our Fall Golf Giveaway!
Story by Katherine Ryalen