Jim Byers’ Travel Blog: Five Fab Places for Fall Foliage in Canada
From the Rockies of Alberta to the lakes of Ontario and the rolling hills of Atlantic Canada, here are some of the best places in the country for viewing fall colours.
Killarney Provincial Park has glorious views of autumn colours set against the white, quartzite hills of the LaCloche Mountains. Closer to Toronto, you can’t beat a ride on the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Segwun or the Wenonah II on Lake Muskoka to see fall colours. If you’re driving, take a trip along Southwood Road, which runs west of Highway 169 and Highway 11 and dipsy-doodles through stunning fall foliage. The Hockley Valley west of Toronto is outstanding. Start out in Orangeville and take Highway 10 north to the Hockley Road and turn right A trip north to the lovely village of Creemore is awesome, partly for the fall foliage and also for the brewery of the same name and wonderful shops. Lots of elevation changes along the way makes for great views. East of Peterborough, a hike up the ridge at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area reveals beautiful river and forest vistas. JIM’S TIP: The website www.400eleven.com helps track fall colours so you can arrive at the perfect time. Ontario’s provincial parks site does the same at www.ontarioparks.com/fallcolour
Combine an immersion in the colours of fall with a trip to glorious Quebec City for a real autumn treat. There are wonderful spas and lovely, quiet inns on lakes lined with scarlet and deep yellow leaves in the Eastern Townships, close to Montreal. A drive or walk through the parks of Mont Royal in Montreal is an easy way to see fall colours without breaking the bank. Mt. Tremblant, north of Montreal, is known more for summer golf and winter skiing than fall colours, but the colours are spectacular in autumn. Dito for the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, where you’ll find the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Montebello. JIM’S TIP: Knowlton is a pretty town in the Eastern Townships. North Hatley might be the prettiest village in the area.
You’ll find lovely, deep yellow larch trees and colourful aspens in the Rocky Mountains, and also a surprising amount in Calgary and Edmonton.Try a drive along the Cowboy Trail for great views of the Alberta plains rising up to the Rockies. JIM’S TIP: If you want to visit a national park without the crowds, try Waterton Lakes NP in southern Alberta.
The Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia is a lovely spot for a Maritimes getaway. Annapolis Royal has fine inns not far from the ocean and fun shops. The drive through the Annapolis Valley reveals gorgeous river views and beautiful, small cities such as Bridgetown. Be sure to take some of the roads that rise up and over the hills between the valley and the Bay of Fundy for the best views. Or try the legendary Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. The quiet roads of Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick are equally charming, and you’ll often find fine fall colours in Newfoundland and Labrador. JIM’S TIP:: Wolfville, Nova Scotia is home to lovely Acadia University. You’ll also find fabulous views and very good wine at Luckett Vineyards, located high on a hill just a few minutes from Wolfville’s charming town centre.
You won’t get quite as many reds out west as in Ontario from what I’ve seen, but Vancouver offers a surprising amount of fall colour in places like Stanley Park, where there are more deciduous trees than in the mountains. The Okanagan is popular with both autumn foliage fans and wine lovers. I also love the drive along the Thompson River near Kamloops. The Kootenay Rockies also are beautiful, and you’ll find cool towns such as Fernie and Kimberley. JIM’S TIP: It’s tough to beat Victoria for a combined city and fall foliage experience. If you’ve seen enough fall colour, take a trip along Dallas Road to admire the beach and ocean views.
About the Author
Jim Byers was travel editor for five years at the Toronto Star, which has the largest travel section in North America. “Canada’s Travel Guy” is a sought-after expert in the industry and has recently published his first e-book “Ontario Escapes, 19: Places to Visit Right Now.” Jim also serves as Senior Editorial Director for TravelPulse Canada.