Canada's Spectacular Fall Colors & Festivals

Canada's Spectacular Fall Colors & Festivals

Autumn in Canada offers the perfect mix of mild temperatures and fiery foliage.

• Fall in Love with Okanagan Valley: The fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit British Columbia. Clear days and pleasant temperatures make autumn an ideal season for outdoor adventure to the lesser-known Okanagan Valley wine region. Okanagan Lake is still alluring for a sail or leisurely paddle, but as the leaves change from green to yellow, orange, and red, their dramatic colors call hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders to the hills. The Okanagan Valley is the birthplace of winemaking in British Columbia; known for its top-quality wines that regularly win national and international awards. During the fall you can embark on a wine trail and enjoy the beautiful wineries during a visit, such as Mission Hill Family Estate, one of North America’s landmark wineries, that is renowned for its elegant architecture, dazzling hilltop views, gracious hospitality, Concert Series, and the acclaimed Terrace Restaurant. Or take a trip to the architecturally stunning 100% “gravity-flow” winery, Martin’s Lane Winery, perhaps the most radical Pinot Noir winery in the world.

• Marvel at the Stars during Jasper Dark Sky Festival (Oct 15-24, 2021): Autumn is a special time of year in Jasper, especially for those looking for experiences among nature. Jasper is well known as one of the most beautiful places in Canada. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is surrounded by stunning mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, and an abundance of wildlife. Jasper is also the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve and the crisp clear skies in the fall are some of the best times to view its treasures and astronomical wonders. Jasper’s Dark Sky invites astronomers at every level to gaze upon the wonder of one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves.

• Trails Blaze with Color in Banff: Autumn in Banff is a breath of fresh air! Saddle up and ride into the high country in Banff National Park to slumber in a backcountry lodge. Banff Trail Riders leads horse-packing trips to Sundance and Halfway lodges in September and early October. As your steed climbs higher you’ll see a changing palette of beauty. From the velvety greens of the valley floor dotted with late-blooming flowers, to the crimson carpets of high alpine meadows with their stands of yolky larch trees. Bonus: the colors look even better from the back of a horse!

• Prairie Meets the Peaks in Waterton: Hit the trails on foot to experience fall glory in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Though the views here are always dramatic – green carpeted mountains seem to erupt from golden grasslands on the prairie’s edge – the splendor doubles when the fall foliage turns umber. Hike the 7.8-mi (12.6 km) Rowe Lakes trail to Upper Rowe Lake and marvel as the landscape changes from verdant green forest to apricot-hued alpine meadow. If you’re feeling adventurous, scramble up to Avion Ridge to see the golden larch trees.

Image credit: Dan Schyk