Ontario’s Algonquin Park is known for its fall colours.
Its 7,600 square kilometres of natural beauty make it the mecca of places to watch the trees evolve from their summer greens, and it is world-renowned for its fantastic fall foliage.
While it’s farther from downtown Toronto than popular viewing spots like High Park or the Don Valley, the three-hour drive to the provincial park will be well worth it. But you will need to plan ahead.
The Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report will show you how colourful the area is in advance.
Although this is a favourite spot for many, this fall is looking a little different at the park.
According to Ontario Parks, this year, Algonquin is piloting a new service for day-use visitors: advance sales of daily vehicle permits.
“This fall, 100% of daily vehicle permits will be available in advance,” it says. “This means we will know in advance if we have reached capacity for the upcoming weekend.”
Algonquin will regularly post weekend capacity updates via Twitter.
Of note, if they have already sold all daily vehicle permits for a certain day and you arrive at either the East or West Gate, you will not be able to purchase a permit (or use your seasonal pass), and you will not be able to visit the park.
If you’re heading over for fall colours, be sure to book the Highway 60 Algonquin access point.
Ontario Parks states you can obtain a daily vehicle permit up to five days in advance of your trip, beginning at 7 am, and it can be obtained online.
Disclaimer: While enjoying Ontario Parks, continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.
As part of its COVID-19 measures, Ontario Parks adds that “safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.
This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. You may notice that day use parking areas will not be as full, or some campsites will remain empty during your stay.”
More info on how to prepare for a visit to Ontario Parks places during COVID-19 can be found on their website.