With beautiful streams and rushing rivers tucked around each corner, the Hills of Headwaters in Ontario’s Central Counties make the perfect backdrop for leaf gazing. Here’s ten stops for your next Ontario fall drive.
The inn is known for its beautiful rooms and fine dining, but what sets it apart in the fall is it’s lush gardens backing on the Credit River. Start your drive with a stay here, and get up early to watch the mist rise off the river.
Drive along the Olde Baseline Road, and be prepared to be amazed. This stretch of land is completely different from the rolling fields and forests that surround it. The badlands are almost completely devoid of vegetation and are covered in Queenston shale. View the badlands from the top of the hill – visitors are asked to avoid walking through the site to preserve it.
The fall season is the perfect time to pay a visit to Spirit Tree. Not only can you pick up their award-winning hard cider, but you can take home some fresh apples, many of them harvested directly from their orchards. You can also grab a homemade snack from the bakery, and browse their shop of almost exclusively Ontario foodie finds.
The building dates back to 1887, and this General Store has been a favourite with locals and visitors for about just as long. Grab a snack or souvenir, then wander down the road to take in a beautiful view of the Credit River as it winds through town.
The Credit River is a great companion for the first leg of your drive as it winds through the countryside with you. Take a moment to stop at the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, where you can hike to the point where the river narrows into a deep gorge. Along the way you’ll catch great views of the colours at their finest.
Make your way to another beautiful Hills of Headwaters waterway – Shaw’s Creek. The Alton Mill Arts Centre is perfectly situated on the creek’s bank. Walk around the buildings to discover art pieces throughout the grounds, then head inside to tour the galleries and artist spaces, all housed in the historic mill.
The number of rivers in the Hills of Headwaters mean that you’ll find no shortage of historic mills. The Millcroft Inn and Spa, just around the corner from Alton Mill, was originally built as a knitting mill in 1881. Today it’s home to one of Ontario’s most picturesque dining experiences, overlooking Mill Pond and the Shaw’s Creek Falls.
Don’t leave Alton without a stop at this local favourite, family owned and operated for over 40 years. Pick up one of their hot sandwiches, or get a harvest season pumpkin pie.
If shopping is a must on your fall drive, pencil in a wander around Orangeville’s picturesque downtown. Pop in to Noinkees and explore their collection of accessories and clothing, many of them made in Canada!
Round out your drive with a trip back in time to the Dufferin County Museum. Home to 25,000 square feet of the region’s history, you’ll find heritage buildings, cars, clothing and much more. Climb up to the top of the silo to get a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.