One of the best things to do when travelling to a new place is to see it from above. Ontario is no exception. With its rugged natural terrain, there are so many great spots to get a great birds-eye-view of the landscape. These are just a few of the best scenic lookouts in Ontario.
NOTE: Travel is not recommended at this time. These posts are here to serve as inspiration when we can explore again. Hey there – this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website.
There’s no doubt that Ontario is a beautiful place. From its natural beauty to vibrant cities, there’s so much to see here in Ontario. Some of these scenic lookouts in Ontario are natural – trails that lead you to a gorgeous vista – and some are human-made, like lookout towers and bridges.
What are scenic lookouts in Ontario?
Well, I couldn’t list all the scenic lookouts in Ontario – there must be hundreds. This list includes some of the best ones I’ve visited and the best ones on my bucket list. There are 25 scenic lookouts in Ontario on this list so far, which I’m sure will grow as I update the list. How many have you been to?
Looking for a map? Scroll to the bottom of this list for a map to the best scenic lookouts in Ontario.
Irish Mountain Scenic Lookout
Overlooking the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Mountain and surrounding Georgian Bay, this unexpectedly charming lookout packs a punch.
There’s a picnic area, a giant red chair and views for days. Getting here is easy, and there’s ample free parking.
Lion’s Head Lookout
Location: Lion’s Head
You have to sweat a bit to get to this scenic lookouts in Ontario. Lion’s Head is a cliffside viewpoint along the Niagara Escarpment in the Bruce Peninsula. It’s not easy to get to; you have to follow a tricky 4-km trail to the viewpoint. But the views are worth it!
Bruce Peninsula Lookout Tower
Located in the heart of the Bruce Peninsula National Park, this 65-ft tower takes you above the tree-tops to give you a 360-degree view of Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula, the Fathom Five Islands and more. The fee also gives you access to the Visitor Centre, interpretive exhibits and theatre.
Scenic Caves Suspension Bridge
Location: Blue Mountains, Ontario
Cost: $26.50 for general admission
Visit the longest suspension bridge in Ontario, giving you incredible views of the Georgian Bay vista. The bridge lifts you 24 metres up plus with the natural sway of the bridge, this place isn’t for the faint of heart.
For those that love the thrill, you won’t want to miss the magnificent fall colours here. The suspension bridge is part of Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, which also had some awesome tree-top trekking, zip lines and caving.
You can get to the bridge through a self-guided tour, which takes about 45 minutes, or with a tractor wagon ride, which you’ll take if you take part in the tree-top trekking.
The Governor’s Bridge Lookout
Cost: Parking is $6 for 2 hours or $8 for a full day
Take in one of Canada’s most iconic city skylines at the Governor’s Bridge Lookout in the Don Valley Brick Works Park. This scenic spot overlooks the Don Valley River and the Toronto skyline. But the views weren’t always beautiful. The site used to be the location of a quarry and brickmaking factory.
Luckily it was converted 25 years ago and has gone through an awesome natural transformation. The city has plans to improve the area even further, and improving the lookout is part of that plan.
Thunder Bay Lookout
Location: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Thunder Bay
Located at the end of a 9km dirt road, this Thunder Bay lookout is my absolute favourite scenic lookout in Ontario. The road to get there was insane, however. If you have a car with low clearance, I’d stay away from visiting this, but if your vehicle can handle a rough road, then you won’t want to miss it.
Once you get to the lookout, there’s a short path that opens up to a viewing platform hanging over the cliff. I felt like I was flying, because the winds whip around you and the cliffs, tossing your clothes and hair in wild directions. It was honestly the best feeling.
Eagle’s Nest Lookout
If you want to fly like an eagle – sorry – then you have to check out its nest. The Eagle’s Nest lookout is located at the end of the 1.5km trek, which brings you to a dramatic cliff face and excellent views of the surrounding Madawaska wilderness.
Dorset Lookout Tower
Cost: $5.50 for a walkup or $16.50 for a car
Originally built in 1922, the lookout tower has grown over the years to 465 feet.
There are two options to get here. You can walk the 2.3km moderate trail to the base of the tower or you can drive to the base of the tower. It can get very busy however, so you might end up having to walk anyway. The tower is only open from May to October.
Once you reach the base, it’s about 120 steps to the top. But boy the views are spectacular.
Top of the Giant Lookout
Location: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Cost: $12.25 for a day pass
Welcome to the tallest cliffs in Ontario. The Knees of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park are 563 m (1,847 ft) tall, and the surrounding Lake Superior views are breathtaking.
But you have to work for this view. The trek from the parking lot is around 22km, although my tracker marked 24km. It was the most challenging hike I’ve ever done, and not in the way I expected. The views at the top were jaw-dropping. I loved staring down into the gorge and seeing how far down it really was. It was a mind trip to see all the way to the bottom.
In total, the trek took us about 8.5 hours. It was a mentally challenging trail rather than physically demanding, and that’s what exhausted us the most. Was it worth it? Hell yes.
Hardwood Lookout Trail, Algonquin
Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
Cost: $17/ day for a park permit. *Daily permits need to be purchased in advance
There are two awesome scenic lookouts in AlgonquinProvincial Park, the oldest and largest provincial park in Canada. The first trail, the Hardwood Lookout Trail, is located closer to the Western Gate. This 1km loop has a steep climb to the lookout over Smoke Lake. And I hear the vista is quite nice. I wouldn’t know since a blizzard moved in right when we got to the top. (see photo above!)
Lookout Trail, Algonquin
Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
Cost: $17/ day for a park permit. *Daily permits need to be purchased in advance
The second trail you’ll want to hit for a scenic lookout in Algonquin Provincial Park is the aptly named Lookout Trail. This trail is located closer to the Eastern Gate and is a nice hike up to the ridgeline that gives you a nice view over the wilderness of Algonquin. The 2.1km loop has some steep sections, but the trail is wide and well-travelled. And the views from the peak are breathtaking.
Cost: $7 entrance fee
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is located along the Niagara Escarpment. Its cliffs offer incredible views of the valley and you can even see nearby Mount Nemo. Getting here is simple. It’s only a 1.5km trail to the lookout.
Cost: Cheltenham Badlands parking lot (limited parking From May to October only) entrance is $10. If the parting lot is full, you can park at Terra Cotta Conservation Area and take a shuttle.
The Cheltenham Badlands is one of the most stunning landscapes in Ontario. The rusty red soil and the eroded waves of land make it look like something from Mars. The badlands have gone quite a bit of transformation over the years, and you are no longer allowed to walk on the fragile ecosystem. To get to the viewpoint, you follow the Bruce Trail for a short distance then join onto the Cheltenham Badlands Side Trail to the boardwalk, where you’ll have ample viewing spots.
Location: Killarney Provincial Park
Cost: $12.25 for a park permit
If you want to work for your viewpoint, then why not tackle The Crack in Killarney Provincial Park? The long, hard 6km trek will take you about 4 to 6 hours to get to the viewpoint overlooking the La Cloche Mountains. Ontario Parks recommends that you are in good shape and start on the trail early. The trail starts off pretty easy, but around the 3km mark, you start climbing the granite mountains until you are scrambling over boulders up the crack. The view from the top. Perfection.
Cost: During the winter, you can park at Spencer Gorge Conservation Area at Tews Falls, but during summer and fall, when colours are at their peak, you’ll have to park at Christie Lake Conservation Area. It costs $10 per vehicle and another $5 entry fee.
This is one of the best scenic lookouts in Ontario for a reason. The beautiful Dundas Valley and Spencer Gorge are bursting with trees on one side and the other view overlooks the town of Dundas. In the warmer months, this spot can be pretty busy, but these views are worth it.
Cup and Saucer Trail
Location: Manitoulin Island
The Cup and Saucer Trail takes up up to the highest part of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. At the top, you’ll see sweeping views over the Niagara Escarpment and surrounding area. To get there, you need to take a 2km trail (4km return). There are steep parts, and of course, the viewpoint is located at a cliffside, so use caution.
Cost: $12.25 for a day pass
Ouimet Canyon is a 100-metre deep, 150-metre wide naturally forming scar on the earth made by glaciers and erosion. Looking down into the floor of the canyon is a mind trip. It’s so hard even to comprehend how deep it is, and yet, on the floor, you’ll find arctic plants surviving in the mini-ecosystem.
The trail is short, just over a kilometre, which takes you to two incredible viewpoints over the canyon and across a beautiful little bridge.
1000 islands tower
Location: Thousand Islands Region
Cost: $11.95 per person
Located on the Canadian side of the Canada-U.S. border, this observation tower gives you the best view of the Thousand Islands region and St. Lawrence River. It’s likely the easiest lookout to get to since the elevator takes 40 seconds to take you from ground level to the 400-foot tall observation deck.
Location: Owen Sound
If you’re looking for awesome scenic lookouts in Ontario, then Centennial Tower has to be on your list. Located just outside Owen Sound, this tower leads you up a spiral staircase to the observation deck overlooking the town and harbour. While I was here in winter, I think fall views from this viewpoint would be spectacular!
It’s surprisingly tricky to get to, only because the trailhead is difficult to find. Parking at the Welcome to Owen Sound sign, you have to walk down a path that follows the road north until it splits. Take the left trail, and it’ll bring you to the base of the tower.
Looking to stretch your legs? Then take the tricky trek up to Skinner’s Bluff? By parking at the Bruce Trail parking lot on Colpoy’s Range Road and hike the 2.5 km loop around the Chris Walker Side Trail to the lookout. There’s a famous rock that juts out from the cliff face, and you’ll be able to see the surrounding valley and Georgian Bay.
Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout
Location: Thunder Bay
If there is ever an embodiment of perseverance, it was in Terry Fox. This 22-year-old dipped his toes in the waters of St. John’s Newfoundland and set off to run with a prosthetic leg across Canada. He made it over 5,000 kilometres to Thunder Bay, Ontario before learning his cancer spread to his lungs. Learn about his Marathon of Hope and enjoy the scenic lookout over Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
Bridgeview Lookout Tower
Climb the 12-metre high lookout in the northern Superior town of Nipigon. This new observation tower gives you sweeping views of the Nipigon River and views of the lagoon. Take in the gorgeous view of the surrounding Lake Superior landscape.
Parry Sound Tower Hill Lookout
Location: Parry Sound
Located near the West Parry Sound District Museum, this 30-metre tall fire tower offers views of the surrounding Georgian Bay. Climb the 130-steps to the top to get those gorgeous 360-degree views. After, climb back down and wander through the meticulously cared for Tower Hill Heritage Garden.
Elora Gorge Lookout
In Elora, there’s a park where the Irvine Creek and Grand River come together. The gorge that the rivers cut through is 22-metres at its tallest. There is a conservation area just downriver, but if you want a free way to explore the gorge, then Victoria Park is for you. In the park, you can walk along the trails that follow the cliffside to a lookout point over the gorge.
In the summer, you can walk down a set of stairs into the gorge. Down by the river, you can easily see the famous David Street Bridge, and you might even spot people scaling the cliffside.
Elliot Lake Fire Tower Lookout station
Location: Elliot Lake
As you may have guessed, this lookout point was once the place of a fire tower. The tower itself is not climbable, but the views from the lookout station are just as beautiful. And don’t forget to take in the views at the cupola, a cute little structure with a three-pane window overlooking the lakes and forests surrounding Elliot Lake.
A.Y. Jackson Lookout
The AY Jackson Lookout, located near Sudbury, is not a tall lookout, but still offers incredible views of the Onaping High Falls. You can also follow the trails in the area to a gorgeous bridge that crosses over Onaping River. This rugged terrain offers some of the best views of the Canadian Shield that makes this landscape so famous.
Big Bend Lookout
Location: Arrowhead Provincial Park
Cost: $17 for a daily park permit
Everyone’s heard of the Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon, but you may not know what we have an impressive (but smaller) Big Bend right here in Ontario. It’s located in Arrowhead Provincial Park, just north of Huntsville, and can be visited all year round. This short, easy trail leads you to an awesome lookout point over the meandering Big East River.
Temagami Fire Tower
This lookout is in another fire tower, this time located near Temagami. Fire towers are extremely important for spotting fires quickly in the dense forest of Northern Ontario. This tower, while not in use as a fire-spotter anymore, is 100-feet high, and you can climb the numerous steps to the cupola, where you’ll see a spectacular view over the lake-abundant landscape.
You won’t want to miss the view from Lions Lookout in Huntsville. The beautiful Canadian shield opens up, giving you a 360-degree view of the surrounding Muskoka Region. In the summer, getting to Lions Lookout is simple, just drive up the hill to the parking lot at the top. But in the winter, the road is closed, meaning you have to make the trek.
It’s only 300 metres, but you gain quite a bit in elevation, and the road can get quite slick with ice. Bring crampons if you have them, or stick to the side of the road, where it’s easier to grip. As someone who slipped, trust me on this. The views from the top are well worth the climb!
I always thought dramatic cliffs were found along the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from Niagara to Tobermory then through Manitoulin Island. But there are still more gorgeous cliffs along the eastern side of Ontario too. You can find Devil’s Rock in Temiskaming Shores. The short 1.5km trail from the parking lot takes you through the forest right to the side of a 150-metre drop. The view looks out over Lake Temiskaming/Ottawa River and over into Quebec. If you want a harder trek, then you can park at Bucke Park Campground. If you only want a short trek, you’ll have to find the parking lot on Highway 567, about 1.5km south of the turn-off for the campground. You can’t miss it.
Who doesn’t love visiting a beautiful scenic spot? That’s why this list of 25 of the best scenic lookouts in Ontario includes some of the most beautiful places in the province. Do you have a scenic lookout that needs to be added to this list?