Algonquin Highlands is a great place to experience the spectacular show as leaves change colours and visitors come from all over the world to see it.

Here are a few tips to help you plan and enjoy your visit to the area:

  • The view can make you stop in your tracks ... but if you're driving, please don't! Always find a safe place to pull off and if you see a line-up of traffic behind you, consider pulling off to let others move along.
  • Have patience! As the fall colours get better, more people come to see them. Plan ahead, leave plenty of time, and make sure you have drinks and snacks to get you through the inevitable line-ups.
  • Be respectful of private property: most land adjacent to the roadways you'll be travelling is privately owned and unless you have been specifically invited by the property owner to visit, please don't do so.
  • Keep our lands and waters clean and free of litter and waste.  
    • Waste containers are not readily available in the area due to wildlife concerns, so be prepared to take your garbage home with you.  
    • Consider packing a "litterless lunch" - what's better than a picnic anyway?
    • Please leave only footprints and take only memories.
  • Public washrooms tend to be privy-style facilities, meaning they're fancy outhouses. They aren't abundant so it's best to freshen up when you can. If you wait to find indoor, flush-style facilities, you're likely to be disappointed.
  • Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)  and / or Municipal Bylaw Officers will sometimes be helping guide visitors and ensure that everyone stays safe. Feel free to ask for information and directions.

Road near Dorset Tower, lined with cars, busy, fall colours in background

Roadways can be very busy!


The Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower 

The Dorset Tower provides one of the most unique and spectacular views in Ontario! The Tower is open daily 9am to 6pm. It can be a very, very busy place in the fall season, so please take a moment to review these tips to help you plan and enjoy your fall colour experience:

Parking lots will be busy
Expect a wait to climb the Tower during peak times
  • First off, expect crowds and delays...
  • Anticipate that you might not get to the Tower or the Tower property within your planned timetable so plan ahead and pack some drinks and snacks;
  • Weekdays are less busy so consider a non-weekend visit if you can;
  • Parking at the Dorset Tower property is limited and once parking lots are full, vehicles will have to wait until space becomes available;
  • For safety reasons, vehicles will no longer be allowed to line up on the Dorset Tower Road;
  • The number of people allowed on the lookout tower at any given time will be limited to 30 and once that capacity is reached you'll have to line up until someone comes off the tower but it's usually not that long - check out Peek-a-Boo Rock while you're there!
  • You can pay with cash, debit or credit card (Visa and MasterCard);
  • Please do not park along the shoulder of Highway 35;
  • There is limited parking available in the Town of Dorset and while you're in town, please visit our local attractions and businesses - there's much more than pretty leaves to see and do! Find out more here: http://www.dorsetcanada.com.
  • You can also hike up to the Tower via the Dorset Tower Hiking Trail, just behind the Dorset Heritage Museum. The trail is considered moderately difficult and requires a good level of fitness as well as good quality hiking shoes. The trail is quite steep and is 2.3km long. Walk-in visitors are required to pay $2 once they arrive on the upper Tower property; 
  • The Tower is open daily 9am to 6pm, with the last admission to the tower at 5:30pm. More information, including fees and a link to the live webcam can be found by visiting http://www.algonquinhighlands.ca/visitors/dorset-lookout-tower.php 

Follow the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower on Facebook and post photos of you and yours taking it all in!


Oxtongue Lake Area - Highway 60 corridor to Algonquin Park

Oxtongue Lake is a hamlet just 11km from the West Gate of Algonquin Park. It has a gas station, convenience store and small cafe so feel free to "fuel up" in preparation for your arrival at Algonquin Park.

Keep in mind that Oxtongue Lake isn't a town or village; it's home to a handful of private vacation resorts and numerous private waterfront cottages. There's no park, village square, restaurant chains, or shopping - and there's really no public place to see the fall colours.

In order to prevent confusion and to keep visitors moving on toward Algonquin Park, the little dead-end roads in the Oxtongue Lake area will be restricted to local residents only from Friday September 29th to Monday October 16th, 2017 

The roads that will be closed to through traffic are Oxtongue Lake Road; Blue Spruce Road; Algonquin Outfitters Road (after Algonquin Outfitters); Harris Road; and Tom Paris Road.

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)  and / or Municipal Bylaw Officers will sometimes be helping guide visitors and ensure that everyone stays safe. Feel free to ask for information and directions.


Algonquin Provincial Park

The big draw is the famous and fabulous Algonquin Provincial Park!

There are a variety of ways to keep up with your fall colour experience options at Algonquin Provincial Park:

Fall Colours Blog: http://www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/fall-colours-at-algonquin-provincial-park/.  

Twitter: @Algonquin_PP with the hashtag #AlgonquinFallColours

Up-to-date Fall Colour Report: https://www.ontarioparks.com/fallcolour

NEW THIS YEAR - detailed information on where to go inside Algonquin Park here: http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/general_park_info/fall-colour-report.php#new


Frequently Asked Questions

Are there other places in the area with good viewing opportunities?             

  • Algonquin Highlands trails, particularly: Circuit of 5 Viewpoints, Crests of Kennisis, or James Cooper Lookout Trail.  Visit http://algonquinhighlands.ca/visitors/hiking-trails.php for details and maps for each of these routes
  • Skyline Park - off Highway 118, just East of the Village of Haliburton
  • Panorama Park -  Hwy 35 to South Lake Road, then to Panorama Park Road, just outside the Town of Minden

When are colours at their peak in Algonquin Highlands?
Every year it is different!  Ontario parks has a great fall colours guide .  The colours in Algonquin Highlands are sometimes a few days behind those of Algonquin Park and colours across the Highlands vary quite a lot.  

The Dorset and Oxtongue Lake areas will show colours before some of the more southerly sections of the Township.  Don't worry too much about catching the "peak".  Fall is beautiful in the area no matter whether the trees are just beginning to show colour or when most of the leaves have fallen and are colouring the ground.

Is there a time when things are less busy?
Weekdays are always less busy than the weekend.  Early in the day is also better.  Don't discount cloudy or rainy days!  Grey skies bring out amazing colour and contrast in the trees and tend to keep some people at home.

Where can I get information on places to stay and things to do in Algonquin Highlands?
The County of Haliburton website has lots of information for travelers to the area.  

What is the best way to travel to Algonquin Highlands?
There is no easy answer to this question!  It all depends on where you are coming from and where you'd like to go.

If you're coming up from the east side of the GTA, you'll likely come up the 404 to Hwy 48, to Hwy 35 and find yourself in Minden, directly south of Algonquin Highlands.

If you're coming up from the west side of the GTA, you'll likely come up the Hwy 400/11 corridor. From there, you can come across Hwy 118, Hwy 117 or Hwy 60. 

If you're coming from the east, such as Ottawa, you can come via Hwy 118 through the village of Haliburton or via Hyw 60 through the East Gate of Algonquin Park. The County of Haliburton website has a great interactive map of the area. 

There is no public transit available.  


Welcome to Algonquin Highlands and have a great time enjoying the fall colours!