One of our favorite things about deciduous trees is the spectacular change they go through every fall, where their leaves change color and fall in anticipation of winter. Predicting when to see them and where to go can be a little bit tricky, but if you manage to find the right spot at the right time, the experience is truly breathtaking. Here are 10 of our favorite places in Canada to see the leaves change.
Fundy Coastal Drive in New Brunswick
New Brunswick offers the same kind of fall foliage explosion that the rest of New England does, but the Fundy Coastal Drive stands apart as one of the most spectacular places to see the leaves change. The best time to see the changing of the New Brunswick leaves is during the first two weeks of October around Canada’s Thanksgiving. Many popular leaf-viewing sites are crowded around this time, but the Fundy Coastal Drive tends to be minimally trafficked this time of year.
Prince Edward Island
The second and third weeks of October are the times to visit Prince Edward Island to see the leaves changing hue, but the leaves begin their metamorphosis around the second week of September. Maple trees turn fire red and birch leaves turn from green to yellow. Prince Edward Island is a wonderful, relaxing place not known only for its natural beauty but for the delicious seafood pulled straight from the nearby ocean. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing weekend.
Niagara Parkway in Ontario
Sometimes simply called River Road, the Niagara Parkway follows along the winding curves of the Niagara river along the border of the United States and Canada. The peak of color is sometime around the beginning of October. Winston Churchill once called this “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” He’s not wrong!
The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia
Cabot Trail may be one of Canada, if not the world’s most beautiful drives. It winds along the north shore of Cape Breton and provides a stunning display of reds and golds as the leaves begin to change. The best time to view these leaves is during the first couple weeks of October, right around Canada’s Thanksgiving. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a favorite place of ours to see these leaves in quiet action.
Alberta’s Rocky Mountains
In Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, fall tends to come pretty early. In Jasper National Park, leaves begin to change at the end of August, while in Banff, the changing leaves are in full swing by September and early October. In many places, trees like aspens and larches create veins of red and yellow tucked into what are otherwise deep green mountainsides. Lake Louise and Johnston’s Canyon are also lovely places to visit in the fall.
Algonquin Park in Ontario
Algonquin Park is a favorite due to its closeness to Canada’s largest city, Toronto. It’s nearly 8,000 square kilometers of dense forests, cool rivers, and glistening lakes. Deciduous trees peppered throughout Algonquin’s forests begin to change near the end of September. A canoe trip down one of Algonquin’s rivers may be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet viewing of changing leaves.
The Laurentian Mountains in Quebe
Quebec’s sugar maple trees are famous in Quebec for a number of reasons, but perhaps our favorite is the fire red color their leaves change every September and October. The Laurentian Mountains are a fabulous area to visit to see these maples change colors. Also present are bright yellow birch and American beech trees.
Nelson, British Columbia
Nelson is one of the cooler small towns in British Columbia. It’s pretty quiet all year long and the town receives little attention during fall. Still, it is one of the most beautiful places in BC to see the leaves change. And even though fall gets to be a little bit cooler, it’s still a lot of fun to get out in the Kootenay Lake Region for some kayaking and paddleboarding. September and October are ideal times to pay Nelson a visit.
Agawa Canyon Park in Ontario
Ontario is frequently mentioned in this list and for good reason. Many of its parks are excellent sites for watching the leaves change, and Agawa Canyon Park is no exception. Our favorite thing to do is take the railway through the canyon right at the beginning of October for a full view of all the incredible changing leaves through the canyon northward.