October is the month when fall colours peak across the country. Whether you’re on the West Coast, in the Prairies, Eastern Canada, or the Maritimes there’s sure to be a beautiful spot nearby that has turned bright red, orange, and gold with the season.
While places like New England have built an industry around the changing leaves, these majestic Canadian scenes are just (if not more) beautiful and less crowded. So, book a day or two and go on a leaf peeping adventure—just make sure you consult your Fall Colour Report and grab a camera before you head out.
1. Algonquin Provincial Park
One of the best spots to check out Ontario’s famous colours, this maple-rich park offers beautiful hikes and panoramic views of the changing leaves. Best colour depends on the time of year, and this year The Friends of Algonquin Park are predicting a late peak in mid-October thanks to the unusually warm fall. You can consult their frequently updated report on the fall colour for a summary of the current state of the park, and get tips on where to drive, hike, or walk to get the most out of the season. If you’re looking to plan a late-in-the-season camping adventure, we highly recommend you put this park at the top of your list.
2. Agawa Canyon Trip
This truly unique train tour takes you 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, deep into the Canadian Shield. Over the course of a day, you’ll see the landscape that inspired the Group of Seven, and take a 500 foot descent into The Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park, which is only accessible by foot or train. The tour is designed to show off the gold and red hued landscape, and visitors are given time to check out the trails in the Canyon Park. Plus, you can climb the 300 stairs to the lookout and survey the canyon from 250 feet up—the perfect opportunity to snap a panoramic shot of the vivid foliage.
3. Fall Foliage Romance by Rail
Another, more substantial, train ride is the VIA rail trip from Toronto to Halifax via Quebec City and Montreal. The week-long ride is a wonderful way to see some of Eastern Canada, and will ensure you get to experience the very best of all three provinces’ fall foliage. It’s also the perfect trip to bring your Canon EOS camera on. The cameras have excellent colour fidelity, letting you capture all the bright hues of the season just as you see them. You can also use the camera’s automated settings to help you quickly adapt to changing scenery as you chug along–you can even try getting some cool time-lapse shots!
4. The Laurentian Mountains
Just a short drive north of Montreal is the Laurentian Mountains, which are glorious throughout the fall. You can canoe down the river with a Canon EOS 6D (it’s handily water resistant) and take panoramic shots of the multi-colour display rising around you. The diverse trees create one of the most colourful views in the country–giving Ontario a run for its money–and it has a long running season with colours peaking in September and sticking around until the end of October. The Symphony of Colours Festival in Mont-Tremblant celebrates the beauty of the season, and is a wonderful event to build a weekend excursion around.
5. The Annapolis Valley
Nova Scotia is an often overlooked province when it comes to fall colours, and the Annapolis Valley is a particularly underrated spot. The area has wonderful apple picking and fun fall fairs, as well as beautiful spots to take in the changing landscape. You’ll get wonderful views from hills on either side of the valley, and there are lots of fun small towns that are beautifully dressed in the changing leaves. Wolfville and Bridgetown are particularly lovely this time of year.
6. The Cabot Trail
Another (more well known) Nova Scotian colour tour is the Cabot Trail. You’ll see wonderful vistas of bright orange, yellow, and red leaves contrasted by the deep blue of the ocean. A wide-angle lens is totally necessary on a trip like this. It’ll ensure you fit both the ocean and wooded coast into every shot. While winding your way around the coast make sure you check out the views at Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
It seems a little silly to list a whole province on this list, but all of PEI is resplendent in the fall thanks to its unique climate. While you can definitely drive around the province pretty quickly, you’ll want to take your time and check out its many forests, fields, and shorelines to see the variety of changing colours.
8. Fundy Coastal Drive
This New Brunswick route skirts the Bay of Fundy, and offers some extreme Maritime views. You’ll get to see a wonderful wall of vibrant red and orange while cruising along the coastline, and you can check out the famous tides. Tourism New Brunswick provides an Autumn Foliage Report complete with interactive map, so you can figure out which spots are looking most vibrant–we hear that Irishtown Nature Park is a great spot to spend an afternoon.
9. The Qu’Appelle Drive
While much of Saskatchewan is dominated by wheat fields and flatlands, the Qu’Appelle valley is a great spot for seeing the province turn red, gold, and deep orange. The valley is just a 30-minute drive outside of Regina, making it a perfect weekend getaway, and can be surveyed from a train or car. If you choose to visit the area by rail, bring a camera with super-fast shutter speed like the Canon EOS 70D. You’ll be able to take beautiful pictures from the observation deck while you zoom by.
Eastern Canada is renowned for its vibrant foliage during September and October, but BC has a few choice spots as well. The interior is gorgeous during the fall, as is Vancouver Island’s Tofino. You can take a leisurely, 181-mile drive from Vancouver, or fly via seaplane, taking in some of the West Coast’s views from the air. The fishing town is a great day or overnight trip, perfect for those Vancouverites who want to get the most out of fall.