Covering over 415,000 square miles in total area, Ontario is the second-largest province in Canada, only trailing Quebec. With 878 named mountains, it’s no surprise that Ontario is home to some of the most impressive peaks in the country. Most scenic lookouts in Ontario border the Great Lakes on the southern portion of the Canadian Shield. The average elevation in this area is 1,000 ft, however, several peaks exceed 2,000 ft.

Whether you’re an adrenaline-seeking, hiking pro, or a beginner looking for a great view (and photo opportunity), there’s a mountain that suits everyone’s abilities in the province of Ontario.

Visit the Highest Peak in Ontario: Ishpatina Ridge – Sudbury, ON

Ishpatina Ridge is the highest point in Ontario, at an approximate 2,274 ft above sea level and about 984 ft above the immediate area. Ishpatina is a name derived from the Ojibwe language word ishpadinaa,’ which means high place.’

The ridge is located within Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park, near Sudbury, ON. Though visitors should exhibit caution when visiting. Due to its remote location, the ridge can be challenging to reach. If you plan to visit, consider taking the most popular route, by canoe, and via a logging road, to the south part of Capreol, ON (north of Sudbury). Hiking to and reaching the peak of Ishpatina Ridge is exhilarating, but best saved for those who are more experienced hikers.

History and Culture with a View: Mount McKay – Thunder Bay, ON

The Nor’Wester Mountains are a group of peaks located south of Thunder Bay, ON. The highest is Mount McKay standing approximately 981 ft above Lake Superior and 1,585 ft above sea level. When climbing to its peak, be sure to consider the history of Mount McKay along the way. It is a mafic still located on the Indian Reserve of the Fort William First Nation. It was formed during a time of magmatic activity about 1,100 million years ago. The mountain itself is named after William Mackay, a Scottish trader who lived in the Fort William area sometime between 1821 and 1857. Today, the mountain’s peak is sometimes referred to as Thunder Mountain,’ and still used for Ojibwe sacred ceremonies.

With a flat-topped hill and three steep cliffs, Mount McKay has distinct aesthetic characteristics. Along your journey to the peak, hikers will encounter red maple and sugar maple trees, jack pines, and yellow birch. Beware of the poison ivy as well. Suitable for novice or pro hikers, the reward is the lookout, located on the lower eastern plateau, providing breathtaking views of Thunder Bay and the harbor.

Hike Your Way to the Agawa Canyon – Algoma District, ON

The Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park is located in the Algoma District, 183 kilometers by rail from Sault Ste. Marie in Northeastern, Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting that occurred along the Canadian Shield, making way for the river as it appears today. The highest walls of the canyon stand at about 575 ft above the river below. Looking to visit? Keep in mind that the canyon is only accessible by hiking trail or the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. 

Situated in the transitional zone between the Great Lakes, otherwise known as the St. Lawrence Forest region and the Boreal Forest, there will be a diverse range of flora from the two areas along the journey. There are four impressive waterfalls scattered around the canyon’s ridge to keep a lookout for as well. Ready to get the ultimate view of the canyon? Visitors can climb 372 steps to a lookout on the wall of the gorge. The observation platform is located at about 250 ft about the train tracks and provides panoramic views of the canyon below.

Hike Silver Peak to Enjoy 360-Degree Views – Killarney, ON

One of the best Ontario peaks is located within Killarney Provincial Park. Hiking the Silver Peak trail brings visitors to a summit atop the La Cloche Mountain Range. It stands at about 1,781 ft above sea level, just about the same height as the CN Tower in Toronto. Believe it or not, this mountain range is approximately 2.3 billion years old and once had peaks taller than those found in the Rocky Mountains. Yes, you read that correctly. Years of erosion have caused this once massive mountain to transform into rolling hills.

Are you ready to hike the Silver Peak trail? Be sure to pack sturdy footwear, layers of clothing, and lunch before embarking on your full-day journey from Bell Lake. From here, you will need to canoe to the start of the trail. The beginning of the 5.5‑kilometer journey is flat and passes through wetlands and hardwood forests. As you approach the last kilometer of the journey, the terrain becomes more rugged and steep. Despite the challenges this hike may present, the view is well worth it. Once you reach the peak, enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Killarney Provincial Park and Georgian Bay. Take special note of the vibrant white quartzite stone when you’re at the top.

Enjoy an Excursion Near Toronto in The Blue Mountains – The Blue Mountains, ON

When looking for mountains near Toronto, The Blue Mountains is one of the closest spots to visit. Located in southeastern Ontario, on the southern edge of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, elevations in this mountain range reach 1,770 ft and are often considered some of the best for winter recreation. 

Once there, consider hiking a portion of The Bruce Trail through the Blue Mountains for an exhilarating experience. The entire trail is 900 kilometers long, stretching the distance between Niagara to Tobermory. The section located in The Blue Mountains consists of high bluffs and deep, wide valleys. When you reach the peak, enjoy views of the rolling countryside and Nottawasaga Bay. Be aware that the terrain in this part of the Bruce Trail can be challenging, so sturdy footwear is recommended.

Always follow Canada and local health authority COVID-19 guidelines for travelling or visiting attractions. Learn more about current restrictions and travelling within Canada.

Choice Hotels in Canada