Ahhhhh, autumn. The season of cozy sweaters, a big mug of warm hot cocoa and, of course, enjoying the stunning fall colors that are popping out all around the country! The vibrant colors of yellow, orange and red are a joy to see and one of many peoples’ favourite things about the autumn season.
Travel opportunities may be limited right now, but Canada has so many amazing locations of its own where you can witness the beautiful colours of the changing leaves this fall. Relish in the colours during the short window while they are at their peak and plan a trip to go autumn “leaf peeping”, whether that means embarking on a road trip or simply exploring in your own backyard.
We have put together a list of some of our absolute favourite places in Canada to take in the autumn colors. Read on to discover our recommendations, and remember – if you’re interested in planning a trip to one of these locations further away from home, your TierOne Travel Consultant can get you there!
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
The best time to enjoy the autumn colors in Algonquin Park is from mid-September to mid-October. The exact peak time for the colors of the Sugar Maple and Red Maple to really pop is difficult to determine and changes year to year, but it is typically the last week of September or the first week of October. Shortly after, the poplars, Tamaracks, and Red Oaks are at their most vibrant colours around the middle or end of October.
A popular activity in Algonquin Provincial Park is to have a picnic while enjoying breathtaking views. There are so many outdoor picnic grounds, day-use areas and beaches in Algonquin Park for you to spend a relaxing day outside. For the best views, head to the Centennial Ridges Trail, which is one of the best trails in Algonquin to take in breathtaking scenery. You can find various lookouts on this trail, which provide the incredible view point and picture-taking opportunities!
The Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
There is no better place to take in the fall foliage in Quebec than in the Laurentian Mountains. The beautiful color displays begin in mid-September and continue to around the end of October. Popular trails in the tourist region include le P’tit Train du Nord, Doncaster Park, Val-Morin Regional Parks, the Aerobic Corridor, and more! Hike the trails by foot and take in the scenery at a leisurely pace or bike the trails and watch the beautiful colours sail by! You can also explore other ways to experience the trails, such as on horseback or ATV.
As the warm colours of fall quietly stretch throughout the mountains, Tremblant’s European-style pedestrian village transforms to offer visitors and locals the perfect occasion to recharge before the arrival of winter. People from all over the world travel to Tremblant to enjoy an incredible autumn escape at the top of the highest peak in the Laurentians and marvel at the spectacular transformation of nature in the fall.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island has an exceptional range of colors in autumn. Touring PEI in the fall, you will find vibrant orange colours of sugar maples mixed with the crimsons of red maple, cherry, and sumac trees and the brilliant yellows of poplar, birch, and beech trees. There are 11 Designated Scenic Heritage Roads in Prince Edward Island, and many of them stretch across wide, sprawling farmland. These drives are very popular with the fall foliage seeker!
Consider driving down the County Line Road – Green Gables Shore in Darnley, which features a combination of woodlands and farmland, or the much longer Central Coastal Drive, where you can get glimpses of stunning seaside cliffs and gorgeous fall hues. The warm waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait give PEI a moderate climate and help create one of the longest fall foliage periods in northeast North America which is between mid-September and late-October.Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Known as one of the world’s most beautiful drives, the Cabot Trail winds around the north shore of Cape Breton Island and rewards fall color hunters in a breathtaking way. Fiery reds, oranges and golds blanket the highlands and reach their peak the first or second week of October.
The Cabot Trail is a world-famous tourist destination that turns into a dramatic fall scene as the leaves of ancient forests turn into beautiful colours. Driving the Cabot Trail is very popular with visitors and locals alike during the fall.
While you could drive the Cabot Trail in just 8 hours, but it is best enjoyed taking it slow with 2 or 3 overnight stops along the way. During this photogenic season, you can find hiking trails, fishing holes, farm-to-fork cuisine, world-class cycling and more!
Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick
Similar to the Cabot Trail, the Fundy Coastal Drive is another outstanding maritime adventure. The Bay of Fundy covers Maine’s northern coastal area and stretches into Canada, between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The Fundy Coastal Drive is 391 km long and passes through quaint coastal villages along the way. This route is one of New Brunswick’s most traveled drives. The autumn colors are at their peak the first two weeks of October during Thanksgiving weekend.
The Bay of Fundy region shows fall colours the latest, but it makes up for the late arrival with a gorgeous plethora of warm autumn colours stretching along the coast. Visit the Bay of Fundy and see some of the highest tides in the world while enjoying the vibrant reds and deep pumpkin oranges.
The window for fall colors in Alberta is small, and the best time of year to visit Banff National Park for fall colors is usually from late September into early October.
If you are looking for fall colours, the Larch Valley hike at Moraine Lake is a must do! Larch Valley is a great hike that is often completely covered in beautiful orange larch trees. Minnestimma Lake at the end of Larch Valley is a view that will leave you speechless!
Stunning views of golden larches surrounded by The Valley of the Ten Peaks make it worth every bit of hiking effort. Since Lake Louise is close to Moraine Lake, you might as well go and see Lake Louise before it freezes over for the winter. The water usually begins to ice over in November, so October a great time to visit the famous lake.
Another fantastic hike during fall is Tunnel Mountain, located right in the heart of Banff. The trail is accessible later than most and offers a 360-degree view of downtown Banff and the surrounding Rockies.
Vancouver, British Columbia
There are so many beautiful areas in Vancouver. This may seem like an obvious choice, but Stanley Park is definitely one of the best places to take in the changing colours of the leaves. Stanley Park is massive and it houses a variety of trees that offer a wide range of warm autumn colours. Stanley Park has many ways to view the beautiful fall colours: the park has a large amount of green space and a number of beautiful water features, like the seawall.
Other autumn gems to check out in Vancouver include Trout Lake Park with a sea of red leaves painting a ruby lane through the park, and the Van Dusen Botanical Garden with a plethora of wonderful plants, trees, flowers, and more. Vancouver, BC does not disappoint for autumn viewing!