Did you know that people who travel to admire the beauty of the changing leaves are called leaf peepers? It might be a silly name, but it's an extremely fun activity.
Who doesn't love walking through forests and admiring the subtle gradations of colour on the leaves around them? From bright reds to brilliant yellows, leaves can overwhelm you with their vibrant beauty this time of year.
So, why not make a weekend of it and fly out or go on a road trip to a Canadian destination known for its amazing fall leaf display? It won't just make for a cool photo to share on Instagram -- if you grab a hot chocolate or pumpkin spiced latte and put on a cozy sweater -- it will likely create some of your favourite fall memories.
Here are the best places in Canada to check out the foliage:
1. Banff, Alberta
Banff is known for its natural beauty all year around, but the fall brings out the yellow beauty of the larch trees in the area. You'll see them by themselves or dotted between the more prominent evergreen trees that make up most of the vegetation in the region. Locals say that the end of September and early October is the best time to go to catch the trees changing colour.
2. Algonquin Park, Ontario
Algonquin Park is a provincial park located between Georgian Bank and the Ottawa River. The park is about 7,652 square kilometers, offering a large area to view the transition from summer to winter. The colours start to change in mid-September and are at their peak in mid-October. Leaf viewing at the park is so popular that they even have a Fall Colour Report to help you track the progress of the changing leaves.
3. Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island
Confederation Trail is a hiking and biking trail that was developed from abandoned railway beds and that takes you across the island through wetlands and tree groves. The beautiful scenery along the trail coupled with the trees you'll find on the island makes for a truly stunning display. Look forward to the orange of the island's sugar maples, the reds of the trail's red maples, and the yellows of poplars, beeches, and birch trees.
4. Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
The Laurentian Mountains are located in Southern Quebec just north of the Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. A popular skiing destination in the winter, the fall offers visitors a great locale for checking out the leaves. The Laurentian Mountains are home to a number of red maples, oaks, and black maples and produce a symphony of red, brown, and brilliant yellow. Look for the beginning of the leaf changes in mid-September.
5. Fundy Coast, New Brunswick
The Bay of Fundy is considered by some to be one of the seven wonders of North America. While the area is known for its whale watching and geological discoveries (dinosaurs have been found there), people know less about its reputation as a phenomenal leaf viewing destination. The forests there are a great mix of various types of trees producing different colours making it a rainbow of fall beauty. The changes start in late September and early October.
6. Butchart Gardens, BC
Butchart Gardens is a botanical garden located just outside Victoria, BC. The gardens feature 55 acres of plantings and 900 plant varieties. While you might think the summer would be the best time to check out a botanical garden, you would miss out if you didn't swing by during the fall. The beauty of visiting in the fall is that you get to see the colour changes of trees native to places around the globe. From shrubs turning yellow to trees turning bright red, you won't be disappointed at the fall leaves here.
7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton might be known for its rugged cliffs and beautiful trails, but this Atlantic coast island is also known as one of Canada's top places to watch the leaves change colour. In fact, the island has a special celebration that you can enjoy between breaks in looking at trees. The Celtic Colours International Festival takes place over 9 nights starting on Friday, October 11th and includes over 50 concerts and 300 community experiences. The leaves start changing colour in late September and continue through October. Look for yellows, oranges, and reds located on rolling hills.
Now that you have a list of great leaf viewing locales, it's time to pack your favourite sweaters and scarves and head out on the road to see those leaves up close. For the full fall experience, check to see if there's a place on the way to stop to pick apples or go on a hay ride!
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