Beyond Spy Rock: Three fabulous fall hikes at Foley Mountain
Spy Rock is famous for its fall views, but it's also famous for crowds - especially during the fall colour frenzy. This year, break away from the pack and get your fall fix from these lesser-known hikes inside the park:
1. Orange Maple Trail
This hike is as delicious as it sounds – especially at the height of fall. Featuring towering maple, ash and poplar trees, this hike is alive with colour and will check all the boxes of a classic autumn walk.
Starting from the Interpretive Centre, you can take the Orange Maple trail east or west, connecting the 2.3 loop with a short hop across the White Pine trail on the northern tip.
As you pick your way across the ridge, you'll be treated to great views of Upper Rideau Lake and Westport village. Benches dot the trail so you can soak it all in.
If you want to connect to Spy Rock, head west on Orange Maple and follow the shoreline for about 1 km.
2. Mobility Trail
If you're looking for something easily accessible, try the Mobility Trail. This short, easy hike is stroller and wheelchair friendly, and may even have a new story walk installed for the kids (no promises – it depends if the Story Fairies have been to visit lately. ;) )
This trail is located off the Interpretive Centre parking lot and is only 0.5 km long. It's close to washrooms and can be combined with the nearby Meditation Trail or a trek down to the beach for a peaceful, restorative walk in the woods.
3. White Pine Trail
You'll almost certainly leave the crowds behind if you tackle the White Pine Trail – and you'll be rewarded for your efforts on this rocky, rugged loop.
Parking at the group camping site, you can start on the Blue trail to connect to White Pine, using a shortcut that's not on the map but is marked on site.
Up high on the ridge, you'll find towering white pines and stunted oak trees on the rocky outcrops, mixed with excellent fall foliage as you pick your way back down the mountain.
"It's a beautiful part of the park to go into," said site supervisor Rebecca Whitman.
According to Whitman, Foley's fall colour peak is usually around Thanksgiving, give or take a week. She said planning ahead will help you avoid the crowds even more. Visit during off-peak times like early morning or mid-week.