Spring Road Trips North in Ontario
Spring in Ontario brings back warm winds, walks along a beach, return of shore birds and waterfowl. Fresh resort country air, maple syrup and spring flowers inspires romantic road trips. Many wildlife viewing opportunities and surprises will present themselves in Ontario, north of Toronto GTA. Explore Ontario’s resort destinations in March, April & May.
Day trips or overnight road trips are suggested within 1-7 hours from the junction of Highways 400 & Highway 11 in Barrie. The routes are not detailed but have features as suggestions to improve your travel experience. A selection of attractions, inns, resorts, resort-hotels, cottage locations, B&B’s and roadside hotels are recommended.
- Algonquin Park Northern Drive Spring colours (colors) Route
- Algonquin Park Southern Drive Spring colours (colors) Route
- Barrie to Horseshoe Valley to Orillia Return to Barrie Spring colours (colors) Route
- Barrie to Orangeville Spring colours (colors) Route
- Collingwood Beaver Valley Spring colours (colors) Route
- Midland-Honey Harbour-Port Severn Area of Georgian Bay colours (colors) Route
- Haliburton – Huntsville Spring colours (colors) Route
- Lake of Bays North Muskoka Via Bracebridge, Baysville, Dorset, Dwight, North Portage, Baysville, Bracebridge Spring colours (colors) Route
- Lake Simcoe Spring Colours (colors) Circle Tour
- Lakefield to Barry’s Spring colours (colors) Bay
- Old Fort Road Spring Tour To Midland Ontario colours (colors)*
- Mostly Muskoka Spring colours (colors) Route
- North Bay to Timmins, Gogama, Sudbury, North Bay Spring Colors (Colours)
- Peterborough – Kawarthas Spring Route colours (colors)
- Sault Ste. Marie Spring Route colours (colors)
Road Trip Spring Experiences
The following Ontario travel routes provide a variety of terrain to see the spring changes taking place. A number of the lakes north of Toronto will be thawing through April. If you are lucky, you will be able to here the “ice crackle and sing” as it suddenly changes back to the smooth flowing liquid we call water.
Driving Directions: To catch Algonquin glory, follow Highways 400 and 11 north to Huntsville, then take Highway 60 east through Dwight and Oxtongue Lake to Algonquin park where there are many marked nature trails. When leaving the park proceed east on Highway 60 to Whitney. Stay on Highway 60 east to the Barry’s Bay and turn right at Highway 62 and south on Highway 62 to Combermere, Maynooth, Bancroft , and Highway 28 south to Lakefield and Peterborough.
Driving Directions: This travel route assumes you are already in the village of Haliburton, Ontario. Haliburton Village to Bancroft to Haliburton Village Return (all roads are paved): The colours on the south side of Algonquin and the Haliburton Highlands are equally as splendid in the Spring and less traveled. Follow Highways 118 East to County Road 4. Turn left on county road 4 to Wilberforce. At the stop sign turn left at county road 648 and proceed to Harcourt. Just past Harcourt look for County Road 10 and proceed to Maynooth (this road runs along the very south side of Algonquin park with access roads to the Park). Stay on County Road 10 until the stop sign. Turn left and you will enter Maynooth on Highway 62. Visit several of the funky craft and antique stores here. Take Highway 62 South to Bancroft (Mineral Capital of Ontario). Take Highway 28 south and proceed to the village of Paudash. Turn right on 118 North (west) through Cardiff, Tory Hill, and back to Haliburton Village. Approximate leisurely driving time with stops (3 hours) See Haliburton Spring colour gallery
Driving Directions: Spectacular spring greens and views along the Horseshoe Valley Road. From Highway 400, Take Highway 27 North (Bayfield St. exit) through Barrie to Simcoe Road 22 (The Horseshoe Valley Road) turn right through Craighurst, Horseshoe Valley, Coulson, Jarratt to Highway 12. Turn right at Highway 12 and proceed East to Orillia. Upon leaving Orillia, take Highway 11, South to Barrie. Alternate Route: Drive directly to Horseshoe Valley Rd. on Highway 400 or the reverse on Highway 11.
Driving Directions: Take Highway 27 to Highway 26 west to Stayner. A beautiful view of Spring colours is behind the Simcoe County buildings with extensive trails.***** Proceed on Highway 26 to Stayner south on County Road 42 which changes to County Road 18 to Mansfield. Continue south to Highway 89. A nice diversion is Violet Hill with a stop to Mrs. Mitchell’s. Travel east on Highway 89 to Highway 50. Proceed on Highway 50 south to Loretto. Go west again to Hockley and enjoy the Spring colours. After leaving go west on County Road 18, south to Mono Mills, and west on Highway 9 to Highway 400.The Hockley Valley area and the Caledon Region have colours changing daily. A delightful surpise for music lovers is the Colours of Music Festival, returning to Barrie for its fourth season and running from September 22 for 10 days.
Driving Directions: Take Highway 400 to Highway 27 north in Barrie. Go north to Highway 26, and proceed west to Collingwood and Thornbury. Proceed south again on County Road 13 to the Beaver Valley, and then go back north to Meaford, return through Thornbury and Collingwood.
Driving Directions: Take Highway 400 North to 93 northwest to Southern Georgian Bay and the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene. Combine your Spring drive with a Spring colour cruise from Midland or Penetanguishene to capture the beauty of the 30,000 Island Spring colours. A visit to Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons or the Wye Marsh Wildlife Center is fun for families.***** Take Highway 12 through Midland, picking up the 400 again north to Muskoka Road 5 to Port Severn & Honey Harbour. Return via Highway 400.
Driving Directions: Take Highway 11 north to Highway 118 east. Travel east on 118 to Hiwghway 35 and proceed south on 35 to Minden. Take 121 east to the picturesque village of Haliburton, then take Highway 118 west from Haliburton Village back to Highway 35. Proceed north to the village of Dorset, to the Lookout Tower at Dorset. Proceed north on 35 to Dwight and go west on Highway 60 to Huntsville, return home via Highway 11 from Huntsville.
Lake of Bays North Muskoka via Bracebridge, Baysville, Dorset, Dwight, North Portage, Baysville, Bracebridge Spring colours (colors) Route
Driving Directions: This is a beautiful trip through the North Muskoka woodlands with excellent lake views. Take Highway 117 from Bracebridge to Baysville, stay on Hwy 117 to Dorset, turn left on to Highway 35 (look for Dorset Fire Tower). Go north on Hwy. 35 to Dwight, turn left on Highway 60 going east to Muskoka County Road 9. Make a left turn on Muskoka Rd. 9 to North Portage. Proceed along Muskoka road 9 back to Baysville, and east on 117 to Bracebridge.
Driving Directions: One of the interesting ‘spring colour routes’ north of Toronto is a tour around Lake Simcoe using a combination of Highway 400, Highway 11, Highway 12 and a number of side roads that take your through Barrie, Orillia, Lagoon City, Beaverton, Sutton, Keswick, Holland Landing. The Lake Simcoe road trip can be started on the east side of Lake Simcoe, or the West Side going north. See Lake Simcoe Map
Driving Directions: Drive north from Peterbourgh along the river on county road 23 to Lakefield. Proceed north from Lakefield on Highway 28. You will start to see the transition of land forms and colours in the Canadian Shield—more rock, contrasting evergreens with backdrops of Spring color will provide many photographic opportunities. Take Highway 28 to Bancroft, and proceed north to Highway 62 and Maynooth. Stay on 62 to Barry’s Bay where you will pass through the Hamlet of Maple Leaf, and Combermere(watch for scenic lookout sign just before Combermere.
Interesting Side Trips: Buckhorn, Harcourt.
A direct drive to Timmins will take you into gold country, not just because of the Spring colors but as a result of the gold mining. Allow for an overnight stay to get the most out of the attractions in the area. Proceed north on Highway 11 from North Bay and travel through the towns of Martin River, Temagami, New Liskeard, to Matheson. In Matheson travel west to Timmins on ighway 101. Return to North Bay by travelling west on Highway 101 to Highway 144. Go south through Gogama to Sudbury, and east on Highway 17 through Sturgeon Springs to North Bay.
North Bay – Sudbury Spring Route colours (colors)
Driving Directions: Take Highway 11 north through Huntsville, Burks Falls (side trip to Magnetawan), Sundridge, South River, Trout Creek (side trip to Port Loring) Powassan, Callander, to North Bay. Go west on Highway 17 to Sudbury through to Sturgeon Springs West Nippising (side trip to Lavigne, Chrystal Springs), to Sudbury. Return on Highway 69 south through French River, Pointe au Baril, and Parry Sound (side trip to Ahmic Harbour). Continue South on Highway 69 to Highway 400.
Driving Directions: This route will take you past Simcoe County Forests, rolling rural country side, vistas of hills with spectacular Spring colours, antique shops, farms with fresh farm eggs and honey for sale, through the charming villages of Wyebridge, Hillsdale and Waverly in the heart of Simcoe County. Detailed Spring Foliage touring route with mileage, places to see and suggested links to overnight accommodation stops. Detailed route directions on the back roads to Midland Ontario.
Driving Directions: Take Highway 11 north to Highway 12 Orillia. Follow the signs toward Casino Rama and turn left at the Rama Road and follow the Rama Road to the first stop lights or County Road 45 Monck Road–turn right and proceed east to Norland. Watch for the Quaker Oats Farm. A stop here to see the animals is fun for the family. The fruit tarts are out of this world. Proceed east to Norland and turn right at Highway 35 and proceed south to County Road 8 and turn left to Fenlon Springs. Proceed to Bobcaygeon, take County Road 36 to Noggies Creek, to County Road 507 and proceed to Buckhorn. Proceed south on County Road 23 towards Lakefield and Peterborough.
Spring Maple Festival at McLearn Berry Farm
Driving Directions: Proceed to Sudbury via Highway 400 and 69 north to the Highway 17 Trans Canada. Proceed to Sault Ste. Marie through Blind River. Return on the same route or travel through Sudbury on Highway 17 to North Bay and south on Highway 11.