Canada's Best Places for Fall Foliage

The fall colours will soon be at their peak in those parts of the Northern Hemisphere that erupt into colour every autumn. In Canada, the sugar maples in the East are turning a brilliant orange that pops against the deep blue sky, while aspens in the Rocky Mountains are rustling their sunshine yellow leaves. Japanese maples lining entire blocks in Vancouver glow fire red when the late afternoon sun hits them. These brief flashes of fall colour gently ease us into what we all know is coming: months of short, dark days, snow, ice, and (along the West Coast) chilly, unrelenting rain.

But for now – for the glorious month of October – we can all enjoy these crisp and colourful fall days.

Many people travel to parts of North America this month just to witness the spectacle of the changing leaves. Following is a list of just a few lovely areas to experience this fall phenomenon in Canada:

1. The Niagara Parkway, in Ontario. Just over an hour from Toronto, this is a beautiful drive at any time of year, following the curves of the Niagara River. The best section to enjoy the fall leaves is in between the historic towns of Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Bevin, one of our local Niagara guides takes pride in showing off the beautiful Niagara region beyond Horseshoe Falls.

2. Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains are famous for their fall foliage. The sugar maples, beech trees and yellow birch are nothing short of dazzling. Ask one of our Montreal guides to take you on a daytrip from the city to see them!

3. The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands is widely recognized as one of the world’s best drives. At this time of year, it rewards fall colour-seekers in a spectacular way: fiery reds, oranges, rusty browns and golds blanket the highlands and reach their peak by mid-October. Don't miss seeing exploring the Cabot Trail with our guide Brenda!

4. Algonquin Park is one of Ontario’s most popular parks – but at a staggering 7,000 square kilometres, it never feels crowded. Sugar maples erupt into colour in late September, while the aspens, tamaracks and red oaks reach their peak in the middle or end of October.

5. While the West is not renowned for fall foliage in the same way as the East, it still puts on a beautiful, if subtler display of colours. A hike up to Lake Agnes from Lake Louise in Banff National Park will be far quieter than in the summer, and reward the hiker with the bright reds and yellows of the sub-alpine larch and aspen trees. Ask one of our local Banff hiking guides, Sophie or Greg, to take you there.

Local Tip: This is a bonus, for those of you in Vancouver (where ToursByLocals is headquartered.) This city isn't known for its gorgeous fall colours, BUT those in the know still manage to find brilliance in a few secret spots. Our favourite? The 2600 block of Cambridge St, in East Vancouver. Walk down the middle of this quiet residential street and you'll be engulfed in a fiery tunnel of maples that seem to literally glow red in the afternoon sun. Magical.
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