Winter is just around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time to hit the highway for an epic Canadian road trip! Fall in Canada is a magical time, with sunny days, crisp nights and gorgeous autumnal colours everywhere you look. Though each province is packed with stunning scenery, there are a few drives that truly stand out as the year winds down. Here are a few of our favourite scenic drives in Canada to add some adventure to your fall.
B.C.: Scenic Route 7
Scenic Route 7, also known as the Loughheed Highway, packs rugged scenery, charming villages, outdoor activities and fall color into just 130 km. This stunning stretch of scenery span the Fraser Valley, and connects Hope to Coquitlam. Along the way, you’ll pass through welcoming towns like Mission and Maple Ridge, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat and browsing local shops.
But you’ll also pass six gorgeous provincial parks, full of hiking, paddling and birding opportunities. Be sure to stop in Harrison Hot Springs for a relaxing soak and photo ops on the shores of Harrison Lake.
Alberta: Icefields Parkway
If you dream of seeing creamy turquoise lakes, roaring waterfalls, icy glaciers and lots of colourful trees, head to the Icefields Parkway. Highway 93 runs from Lake Louise to Jasper, about 233 km, passing through Bow Lake, Athabasca Falls, the Colombia Icefield, Peyto Lake and more.
Keep your eyes peeled for majestic Canadian wildlife along the way, from bears and bighorn sheep to elk and mountain goats. It’s known as one of the most scenic drives in Canada and it’s especially stunning in fall, when the leaves are at their glorious best.
Manitoba: Highway 10
Fall in Canada is stunning, and Riding Mountain National Park is a great place to see it all. When the weather cools, head north on Highway 10 from Minnedosa to Dauphin. This 120-km drive takes you through gently rolling grasslands and pristine forests, with plenty of fall colour along the way.
The park is home to bison, moose and wolves, so keep your camera at the ready. If the weather is sunny, stop for a paddle on Clear Lake, take a walk on one of the park’s many trails, or explore on your mountain bike. The peaceful scenery makes this one of our favourite Canadian road trips.
Ontario: Niagara River Parkway
Got a couple free hours on a sunny afternoon? Spend it on the Niagara River Parkway. This 55-km drive from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake follows the Niagara River, and offers some of the most stunning fall foliage colours around. Plus, you’ll enjoy picturesque views of Niagara Falls.
Stop in towns like Chippawa and Queenstown for a bite to eat, learn about the area’s fascinating history, or take a vineyard tour. The drive parallels the Niagara River Parkway Recreational Trail, a perfect place to walk or bike through the autumnal scenery.
Quebec: Bas-Saint-Laurent to Gaspésie
If you’re feeling adventurous and have some time to spare, why not do the Bas-Saint-Laurant to Gaspésie tour. This 1,270-km loop originates in La Pocatiére, traveling up the St. Lawrence River through Kamouraska fishing villages and their galleries and boutiques. Stop for a whale-watching cruise in Saguenay-St Lawrence Marine Park, and snap some shots of beautiful Chaleur Bay.
Bonaventure offers fishing, with Percé Rock a bit further on. Hop on an excursion boat to Bonaventure Island to see one of the coutry’s largest seabird colony. Canada’s tallest lighthouse sits in Forillion National Park, and you won’t want to miss the last of the autumn blooms in Grand-Métis’s Reford Gardens.
Nova Scotia: Cabot Trail
There’s a reason why the Cabot Trail is one of the most scenic drives in Canada. For 298 km, the road winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Though the sea and valley views are worth a visit any time of year, fall in Canada is the ideal time to drive the Cabot trail.
As you weave along the coast, the old-growth forest blazes with colour, from gold and yellow to deep red and fiery orange. September visitors can take part in the Hike the Highlands Festival, or choose from the 26 trails for all abilities in the Park. You’ll also pass historic sites, lighthouses, welcoming villages and breathtaking views along the route.
Canada is stunning any time of year, but fall in Canada is truly special. Plan your next road trip to coincide with the changing weather and colourful scenery.