Canada is known as the maple country. In the center of Canada’s national flag is a red maple leaf. It is one of the most recognized symbols of Canada, which has been used as a representation of Canadian Identity since the 19th century.
Foliage happens in Canada between early September and mid-October every year, from the peak of the mountain to the urban areas along the coasts. Here we have a list of recommended foliage viewing spots by insiders, from Quebec to British Columbia.
Vancouver is consistently voted as the most liveable city – thanks to its pleasant weather, civic systems, infrastructure, and most importantly, the city planning – all of them create an impressive skyline along Vancouver’s harbourfront.
The best place to marvel at the city’s establishment is at the sea wall of the city’s greatest backyard, Stanley Park. In the fall, the park also celebrates the season change with beautiful foliage.
This world-famous urban park is a slice of nature in Vancouver, it’s one of the most beloved locations for the locals to have a short getaway, and it’s also filled with photo-taking spots and attractions for visitors to create their own unique Instagram moment.
There are also a number of places in the city area that are wonderful for foliage viewing. For example, there are resorts in bc that offer peaceful accommodations, complete with all the elegant amenities. Moreover, the resorts collaborate with top-notch organizations that provide exciting activities like wildlife and bird tours and chartered air tours.
Trout Lake is a small urban park that is known for its organic dairy and herb farms. The best time to experience the amazing foliage in Vancouver is from mid-September to early November.
Jess from Uprooted Traveler
While Whistler, British Columbia is primarily known for having dense pine tree forests, you can still enjoy beautiful fall foliage here, both in deciduous trees that are sprinkled throughout its landscapes and on the wildflowers and shrubs that carpet its mountain peaks.
You’ll find big leaf maples and black cottonwood trees, strewn across its rolling hills, that turn brilliant shades of orange and red, come autumn. You don’t have to venture far out of town to enjoy them—in fact, there are quite a few right in the Whistler Olympic Village (home to the 2010 Winter Olympics!).
If you venture up into the spectacular mountains, like along the Wedgemount Lake or Panorama Ridge Trail, you’ll also be treated to vibrant fall foliage in the native plants, like blueberries or paintbrush, that adorn its slopes.
Whistler is best known for being an upscale ski resort town—with hefty price tags to boot. But, given that fall is squarely in the town’s shoulder season, you’ll not only get to enjoy some of the town’s incredible outdoor scene amidst the beautiful fall colors, but you’ll also be able to snag hotel rooms at a much more affordable rate than you normally would.
The easiest way to get to Whistler is to fly into Vancouver and then drive two hours north along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway, one of the most scenic drives in Canada.
Ellie from This Remote Corner
You don’t need to head out to the countryside to enjoy beautiful autumn leaves! Montreal, Canada’s second-largest city and one of its most popular destinations, is a wonderful place for foliage viewing – no rental car required! The city’s large international airport and excellent public transportation network make this one of the easiest places to appreciate the fall colors.
In fact, October is one of the best months to visit Montreal, a city known for its excellent food scene and European atmosphere. Temperatures are generally pleasant, the summer crowds have disappeared, and incredible fall colors brighten the city’s charming residential streets. Strolling through leafy neighborhoods like Mile End, Le Plateau, or Villeray, you can admire Montreal’s unique architecture as well as the changing leaves.
Arguably the best place to see fall foliage is Mount Royal, the mountain that sits in the center of Montreal. This large park has walking and biking trails, a lake surrounded by picnic tables, and several lookout points over the city. You can reach the mountain on foot from downtown Montreal and many other popular neighborhoods like the Plateau.
Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains
Karen from Outdoor Adventure Sampler
The Laurentian Mountains region north of Montreal in Quebec is a fantastic destination to see the colors of autumn. The mountains and valleys are covered with trees that turn on fire in the fall. Mont-Tremblant, a popular Quebec ski area in the winter, is the perfect base camp to explore the region in the fall. Take the Panoramic Gondola to the summit for amazing views of changing leaves. Stroll the pedestrian village for world-class shopping and dining.
Nature lovers will enjoy the many outdoor adventures in the region. You can kayak or canoe on the lakes of Mont-Tremblant National Park or on the Rivière du Nord near Val-David. If you enjoy cycling, bike on the P’tit Train du Nord, a 235 km rail trail that travels from Mont-Tremblant to the outskirts of Montreal. In addition, cycling on the local gravel roads will yield spectacular views of fall foliage on the surrounding hills.
The Laurentians are 1-2 hours’ drive north of Montreal. Fly into the Montreal International Airport and rent a car to see peak fall foliage from the end of September to mid-October.
Émilie from Love Life Abroad
Charlevoix, near Quebec City, is one of the best regions in Canada to see the fall foliage. It’s located a little more than one hour from Quebec City and the main town of the region is Baie St-Paul.
Having personally experienced the breathtaking beauty of Charlevoix, Québec (born and raised in Quebec City), I can confidently say it’s one of the best places in Canada to witness the vibrant fall foliage.
Charlevoix is easily accessible by car from Québec City. The scenic drive along Route 138 will lead you straight into the heart of this picturesque region, with maybe a few stops along the way including chutes Montmorency and Mont Ste-Anne. If you want the ultimate fall experience though, I recommend using the Train de Charlevoix, a scenic train ride from Quebec City to La Malbais, passing through Baie St-Paul.
When in Charlevoix, you’ll want to do a few hikes to admire the foliage. The Mont du Lac-Des-Cygnes in the Parc National des Grands-Jardins is an amazing hike to do and is suitable for all levels, including toddlers. The Acropole des Draveurs in the Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie is another hike you don’t want to miss when in Charlevoix during the foliage season. It’s a longer and harder hike, so you’ll want to be prepared. But the views will make it for the sweat.
Make sure to also wander around the charming town of Baie-Saint-Paul. It’s an artist town where you’ll find art galleries, local cuisine, and little coffee shops. If time allows, end one of your adventure days with a soak at the Le Germain Nordic Spa.
Chanelle from Chasing Chanelle
Although it may surprise you, you don’t actually have to leave the city to see beautiful fall colors. In fact, the foliage in Toronto is a great example of this, with tons of parks, ravines, forests, and tree-lined streets to explore.
The Don Valley – located just 5 miles north of downtown – is one of the best foliage viewing spots in the country due to its varied array of vegetation, including fiery-red maple trees. And it can easily be reached by car, bike, foot, or public transit. There are plenty of walking and biking trails here, so you can easily spend a whole day exploring the valley. Make sure to stop at Evergreen Brick Works to explore the pumpkin patch and markets, and Crothers Woods where you can see colorful views with the city skyline in the background.
You can also see a stunning display of colors in downtown Toronto. Take a stroll through the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus to see red ivy-covered buildings, visit Trinity Bellwoods Park to enjoy a coffee under a golden canopy, and head down to the waterfront to witness the spectacular autumn hues lit up at sunset.
Some other notable spots worth visiting during fall in Toronto are High Park, Scarborough Bluffs, and the Toronto Islands.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Marianne from The Journeying Giordano’s
Located in Ontario, Algonquin Park is one of Canada’s most popular and iconic destinations to see fall foliage. With over 800,000 people visiting the park annually, the park can get pretty busy during peak colour-viewing times.
Algonquin Park is just over a 3-hour drive from either Toronto or Ottawa. You can enter Algonquin from either the West or the East Gate (recommended as it is less busy), where you will then travel along the Highway 60 corridor to take you through the park.
Keep in mind, Algonquin is a provincial park, so you will need to pay to enter. And if you are planning to visit during the busy fall season, you should definitely reserve your spot ahead of time online, as the park often reaches capacity.
So what makes Algonquin Park such a leaf-peepers’ paradise? This 7,630 km² (or about 2,946 square miles) park has a stunning diversity of deciduous trees, including maples, oaks, and birches.
During the fall season, these trees absolutely explode into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating one of the best foliage displays around.
And for some of the best views in the park, head to the Lookout Trail, which is only 2 km in length. Although the trail is steep, the rewards are worth the effort!
Algonquin is also the perfect place for outdoor adventure. From spacious campgrounds to incredible hiking trails, cycling, and pristine lakes for canoeing, there is something for everyone.
Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty to see as well. The fall season brings increased activity from moose, deer, and other wildlife.
Peak foliage can usually be seen from late September to early October, so plan your trip accordingly. As the fall weather in Algonquin can be quite chilly, be sure to pack warm clothing to stay comfortable.
Erie from Everywhere Ontario
When it comes to viewing fall colors in Ontario, the Muskoka region is hard to beat. The rocky terrain and deep blue lakes and rivers are the perfect complement to the oranges, reds, and yellows of the falling leaves. Better yet, the region’s numerous waterfalls nestled within the forests make for the perfect photo ops and memorable outings.
The Muskoka region is Ontario’s prime cottage country and the perfect distance for a weekend getaway for Ontarians living in and around the Greater Toronto Area. The towns of Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Gravenhurst are perfect spots to make your home base for your trip. Luxurious cottage rentals and top-rated family resorts are also plentiful throughout the region.
When it comes to activities, plan for lots of hiking, canoeing, or fishing to make the most of the fall season outdoors. Head to the area’s beautiful parks for the best fall color viewing, including Arrowhead Provincial Park north of Huntsville, Six Mile Lake Provincial Park near Port Severn, Oxtongue River – Ragged Falls Provincial Park east of Dwight, just before reaching Algonquin Provincial Park.
Muskoka is one of Ontario’s most desirable vacation destinations all year round and planning your trip for the early fall when leaves are changing colors promises breathtaking sights and memories to last all year.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park
Kristin from Tiny Footsteps Travel
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park provides some of the most stunning views of fall foliage and natural scenery in Southern Ontario.
Located just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, Mono Cliffs has rivers, and trails through the forest, in addition to pathways through tall boulders and crevices. Those looking for a place to get out in nature and escape the city have a treat in store for them at Mono Cliffs.
Mono Cliffs is located on the Bruce Trail, and there are numerous small trails throughout the park. If you’re looking for an easygoing hike, there are some easy hikes with little to no incline – the Clifftop Side Trail and the Carriage Trail. There is a breathtaking view from a fenced lookout that allows you to see the fall foliage over the forest valleys from both of these trails.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, then you should take the Lookout Trail to the summit of Mono Cliffs. This will bring you to an even higher lookout with panoramic views. In fact, on a clear day, you can even see the CN Tower from the summit of the Lookout Trail.
You must buy a park pass in order to park at Mono Cliffs. This is strictly enforced, especially during the high season (summer and fall.)
After your hike, stop at the Mono Cliffs Inn for a bite to eat. More casual food is served in the underground bar, with a more formal affair on the upper level. Be sure to make a reservation if you’re visiting on a weekend.
Vkay from Travel Addicted Unicorn
Manitoulin Island is located in Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada, and is a captivating destination famous for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. As the largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin Island offers many forests, rugged cliffs and shorelines, and scenic hiking trails, including the renowned Cup and Saucer Trail.
Hiking the Cup and Saucer Trail is one of the best things to do on Manitoulin Island, especially in the fall when it becomes the perfect experience that immerses you in the stunning autumn beauty of the region. As you hike the trail, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful foliage, with maple, oak, and birch trees transforming into a spectrum of reds, oranges, and yellows. In addition, the rocky outcrops provide vantage points to soak in panoramic views of the island’s colorful forests and the waters of Lake Huron in the distance.
The crisp, cool air and the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot make the Cup and Saucer Trail a must-visit destination for fall foliage enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Other attractions in Manitoulin Island are the Bridal Veil Falls, Providence Bay Beach, and Misery Bay Provincial Park which offer additional opportunities for outdoor adventures and fall colors exploration.
Sault Ste. Marie Provincial Park
Stephanie from The World As I See It
In Northern Ontario, a seven-hour drive from Toronto is Sault Ste. Marie. It’s known for its rich history and close proximity to the US border. But Sault Ste. Marie is also one of the best cities in Canada for fall colors!
Sault Ste. Marie is one of the best places to visit in the fall because it’s an off-the-beaten-path city without the crowds. Plus, it offers a wide range of things to do and ways to experience the fall colors.
The Agawa Canyon train tour is one of the top Ontario fall activities and the best way to see the brilliant foliage. It leaves from Sault Ste Marie on a day trip through forests, a canyon, and a beautiful waterfall. All with the blazing colors as a backdrop. Train tickets sell out fast, so book them as soon as they go on sale.
Surrounded by water and forests, another fun way to enjoy the colors is a hike in Kinsmen Park to Crystal Falls. Or you can wander the river boardwalk, explore street art downtown, and check out the museums.
Mayuri from Canada Crossroads
Edmonton, situated in the Canadian province of Alberta is a city that truly comes alive during the fall months. As summer transitions into fall, the city is painted in vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow. The leaves transform into a beautiful tapestry that adds an evocative flair to the cityscape.
The weather during this time is mild and enjoyable, perfect for outdoor activities or exploring the city’s abundant parks. It’s a time when the city’s festive spirit emerges, with numerous fall festivals providing entertainment for all age groups.
In September, fall foliage is evident in city parks and neighborhoods. Having lived here for the past 8 years fall brings in warm vibes each year and when October is here there are lots of amazing Halloween-related events popping up across the city!
On a trip to Edmonton, you can visit the Legislature grounds, enjoy a segway tour in the River Valley, explore exhibits at the Royal Alberta Museum, and hit the West Edmonton Mall (the largest in the country)!
Fall in Edmonton offers a unique charm and warmth that is truly unmatched, making it an ideal time for both residents and visitors to experience the city in its full splendor. To get to Edmonton, the International Airport is your best bet to fly into, or you can take a road trip from nearby cities and provinces!
Dotti from Explore Travel Oasis
One of the best places to see fall foliage in Canada is Jasper National Park in the country’s west.
At 11,228 square kilometers, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Given the sheer amount of protected forest, it’s unmatched for fall foliage, which you can see against the backdrop of the impressive Rocky Mountains.
There are almost unlimited things to do in Jasper. Hiking is one of the most popular activities, but if you’re looking to do more than stretch your legs, you can also:
- Visit Athabasca Falls;
- Drive the Icefields Parkway;
- Take the Jasper Skytram;
- Go wildlife-spotting; and
- Walk on the Columbia Icefields Skywalk.
As Jasper is a national park, all visitors to Jasper need a Parks Canada Pass. You can get one at the park gates as you enter Jasper or buy one online beforehand.
There are no direct flights to Jasper. The closest airport is Edmonton International Airport. From Edmonton, it’s a 4-hour drive along the AB-2 N and AB 16.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, Sundog Tours can pick you up at the Edmonton International Airport (or alternatively, the Calgary International Airport) and bring you to Jasper.
Banff National Park is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Canada. Plan a 4-day trip in Banff during autumn and witness the beautiful season change unfold.
The foliage begins in mid-September and ends around the first week of October. Given that the national park has many natural lakes and scenic hiking trails, the possibilities of designing your own visit are endless. For example, the Larch Valley hike is the most popular larch tree hike and one of the best locations for foliage viewing.
The hike takes place around Moraine Lake and the scenic view along the walk is unforgettable. The hike is actually suitable all year round, but the color of falling leaves just makes the hike so much more special.
Another great trail connects Vista Lake, Arnica Lake, and Twin Lakes. The walk is close to Banff’s town center, the famous Lake Louise, and Canmore.
Beginning at Vista Lake Lookout, the walk ends at Lower Twin Lake, and the site is considered the best of the whole trail. While the elevation change might be challenging, the trail, however, is quite clear and generally covered by forest.
After a hike outdoors, reward yourself with a hot bath at Banff Upper Hot Springs. Banff is also famous for its world-class hot spring resorts and the temperate and natural mineral water will definitely wash away the exhaustion.
Erin from Wanderlust with Kids
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is one of the best places on Canada’s East Coast to see the vibrant fall colors. The island’s incredible landscape comes alive with a vibrant display of reds, oranges, and yellows as the seasons shift.
What makes Cape Breton truly special is its lush forests that cover much of the island. This abundance of trees creates plenty of opportunities to view the gorgeous colors.
To fully appreciate the fall colors, drive the iconic Cabot Trail that winds along the island’s north coast, or hike one of the numerous trails through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where you can get out into the forest and experience the fall colors up close. For a unique experience, ride the Atlantic Gondola at Cape Smokey, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the changing leaves. Whichever you choose, Cape Breton promises a spectacular autumn experience and is a perfect destination for viewing the fall foliage in Canada.