The Cabot Trail is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, but autumn is really when it comes into full bloom. From the winding ocean-side roads, it’s easy to see the full spectrum of colour on display, including the reds and oranges of sugar maples, mixed with evergreens and the purples of the taiga. Don’t get lost in the colours though—keep your eyes peeled for moose, which are native to the region.
If you’re looking for bright fall colours, Eastern Canada is the place to find them, and there’s no better spot than one of Ontario’s most popular parks. The oldest provincial park in Canada, Algonquin features both coniferous and deciduous trees, including a canopy of sugar maples, making its fall colour show spectacular. Another hint: If you’re looking for the most vivid colours in Ontario and trying to figure out the best time to go, be sure to check out Ontario Parks’ Fall Colours forecast, which lets visitors know when the leaves are about to hit their peak
When the focus in the fall tends to be on changing leaves, it’s easy to forget that grasslands and low-lying plants change colour, too. Come to Prince Albert Park, located in central Saskatchewan, to witness the transition. Here you’ll find golden Aspen leaves, orange Tamaracks and a free-ranging herd of bison. As a bonus, there will not only be fewer tourists—there will also be fewer insects, making it the perfect time for a leisurely hike.
One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, this area in Southern Quebec boasts a “symphony of colours” in the fall. To see the spectacular display, head to Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, which has the highest rock faces east of the Rockies. From this vantage point, you’ll have no problem see the changing landscape spread out around you. Alternately, head to Tremblant, where you can take a gondola to the top of the ski hill or zipline across the treetops.
For an urban choice, try Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley. Winding through the centre of Alberta’s capital city, it’s the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America. This means that the river valley’s 7,400 hectares also has a lot of—you guessed it—trees changing colour. To fully enjoy the season, pack a picnic and spend the day biking or strolling along part of the 150 kilometres worth of trails.
Living in Canada, it can often feel like there are only two real seasons for travel—winter and summer. But the truth is that there may be no better time to explore the country than during the shoulder season of autumn, when there are fewer tourists, abundant opportunities to see wildlife, and gorgeous vistas of leaves changing colour.
Here are a few our favourites destinations worth visiting before the first snow falls.