Best Fall Foliage Hikes in Canada

We are blessed in Canada to be able to experience four distinct seasons, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. As an avid hiker, I agree that all seasons are great for hiking, but nothing quite compares to the views that you will find when hiking in the Fall.

*This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon or other publishers. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). 

When is the Best Time to Hike in Canada to See the Fall Foliage?

Any time is a great time to hike in Canada, but there is no doubt that there is something magical about hiking in the cool crisp air of the Fall. Fall in Canada is a relatively short season lasting during the months of September, October, and November. If viewing the changing colour of the leaves is your goal when hiking in the Fall, the best time to hit the trails would be the last week of September and the first couple of weeks of October. By mid October, the weather begins to get cold and many of the leaves have fallen.

What to Bring on a Fall Hike in Canada?

Whenever hiking in Canada, it is always smart to pack the day hike essentials. Many of the hikes (but not all) listed are located in bear territory, so it’s smart to have bear spray with you. While I have been lucky enough not to have a bear encounter during my many hikes, it’s always smart to be prepared. The most important item to bring on your Fall hike in Canada is a camera to capture the never-ending beauty of the changing colour of the leaves.

Must Haves When Fall Hiking in Canada

What Are Canada’s Best Fall Foliage Hikes?

There are many! Canada is a vast Country with a large amount of green space and thousands of trails where you can view the changing colour of the leaves in the Fall. The trails listed below are just a few of our favourite Fall hikes to view the changing colour of the leaves.

Alberta

Healy Pass, Banff National Park

Recommended by Kat of the Endless Wonder

Difficulty Level: Difficult

One of the best fall hikes in Canada that you absolutely cannot miss, is Healy Pass in Banff National Park, Alberta. It starts out in a shaded forest, and as you slowly gain elevation you will be rewarded with stunning golden larches embedded in a field of golden alpine meadows and mountains as the backdrop. Once hikers arrive at Healy Pass, mountain vistas with yellow and green larches are dotted among the rolling hills for an amazing view.

The Healy Pass hike is rated as difficult, mainly because it is a very long hike, meaning the elevation gain is very spread out. Due to its longevity though, you will have plenty of time to take in the fall colours and immerse yourself in the beauty that Banff National Park has to offer in the fall season! Along the way there are quite a few bridges hikers will cross, adding to the charm of this fall hike.

The Healy Pass trail takes about 6.5 hours to complete, and is an out and back hike. Visitors can choose to reserve a campsite if interested in backcountry camping and splitting the hike up into multiple days, or extend the hike and make it all the way to Egypt Lake, where another backcountry campground is available. 

If you’re visiting Banff in the fall, you cannot miss hiking Healy Pass!

Healy Pass trail in Banff National Park is a must do trail to see the changing colour of the Fall leaves
Healy Pass, Banff National Park, Alberta

British Columbia

Frosty Mountain, Manning Park

Recommended by Taryn of Happiest Outdoors

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Frosty Mountain in British Columbia’s E.C. Manning Provincial Park is a unique fall hike. The trail is just a few hours from Vancouver in the Cascade Mountains.

The mountain is home to a grove of rare alpine larch trees. These coniferous trees look like regular pine trees most of the year, with green needles. But each fall the needles turn bright gold, then fall to the ground. The larches change colour in a small window, usually in late September or early October. Be prepared with microspikes and cold weather gear if you plan to visit in the fall as there may already be snow on the ground and it can be cold and stormy

This is a difficult hike. If you go all the way to the peak it is a 22 km round trip with 1150 m of elevation gain. But if you just want to see the larches, you can stop at a plateau before the summit. If you choose that option, your hike will be an 18 km round trip with 800 m of elevation gain. Allow 7 hours round trip to go to the larch plateau or 9 hours to go to the summit.

If you do go all the way to the 2408-meter-summit you will be standing on the highest mountain in Manning Provincial Park. There are great views south into the United States and north back to the larch plateau that you just traversed.

Hike to the summit of Frosty Mountain in British Columbia, Canada to view the colours of the beautiful changing leaves
Frosty Mountain, Manning Provincial Park

Mount Cheam

Recommended by Mia of Walk Awhile With Me

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

For one of the best autumn hikes near Vancouver, you have to climb Mount Cheam! Offering spectacular 360-degree views of beautiful British Columbia, Mount Cheam definitely earns its fabulous reputation.

While Mount Cheam is a stunning hike to do in the summer, providing breathtaking views of Chilliwack, the Fraser River, Lady Peak, Harrison Lake, Jones Lake, and Mount Baker, late September to early October is the best time to climb it. With the enchanting red, orange, and yellow fall colors dotting the mountainside, it’ll take your breath away!

Mount Cheam is typically considered an intermediate hike. With a 700-meter elevation gain and covering a distance of 9.5 kilometers, climbing Mount Cheam can be a bit of a challenge for novice hikers. However, from the very onset of the hike, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys.

But how do you get to Mount Cheam? First, please note that this hike requires a vehicle with 4-wheel drive to access, as the trailhead is at the end of a long and challenging Forest Service Road. It is also located 140 kilometers east of downtown Vancouver, with the drive taking around two hours to do in good traffic. As the hike only takes 4.5 hours to complete, this makes Mount Cheam one of the best day trips from Vancouver and one of the best Fall hikes in Canada!

Mount Cheam is one of the best Fall hikes to view the changing colour of the leaves, near Vancouver, B.C.
Mount Cheam, one the best Canadian Fall hikes near Vancouver, B.C.

JOIN ME FOR MORE HIKING AND ADVENTURES

Ontario

Centennial Ridges, Algonquin Provincial Park

Recommended by Nina of Ottawa Things to Do

Difficulty Level: Moderate

This intermediate trail in Algonquin Park is one of the best spots for fall hiking. It’s a popular destination from Toronto or Ottawa in Ontario.

Be warned, if it’s rained 1-3 days prior, you will need to be extra careful on the trails, as the tree coverage prevents it from fully drying out and can make it quite muddy.

The Centennial Ridges hike is about 10 km loop and takes you through mixed forest and up to some amazing lookouts.

The views from the top of the Centennial Ridges are definitely worth the hike!

Unlike other Algonquin Park hikes where you can see leaves immediately around you, the Centennial Ridges hike takes you above the forests to see the splendor of the 7,650 square km of the provincial park.

You’ll get vistas with rocky outcroppings looking out over two large lakes and multiple small rivers nearby. These viewpoints are the spots to take in the fall foliage at its finest.

The hike itself takes about 3-4 hours, depending on the conditions of the trail.

The trail isn’t perfectly marked, so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for markers, and ensure you watch where you step, as its not a clear path.

Expect a lot of upward climbing, with elevation levels reaching almost 600m.

This is definitely a hike to wear proper hiking boots! You will need to purchase a parking pass or a campground pass to park in Algonquin Park. You can buy them online here.

Hiking in Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario is the perfect spot to view the changing colour of leaves in the Fall
Centennial Ridges Trail in Algonquin Park

Dundas Peak, Hamilton

Recommended by Nina of Nina Out and About

Difficulty Level: Easy/Moderate

This is one of the most popular hiking spots near Toronto in the fall. Located just outside of Hamilton’s city centre, you can do this hike as a day trip from Toronto.

The 6.5km hike to Dundas Peak is considered easy/intermediate. It’s a great spot for both beginner and experienced hikers alike because of its relatively short distance and gentle inclines.

It’s a very popular spot on weekends, so you may want to go on a weekday if you’re looking for a more peaceful hike. After mid-October, there are fewer visitors.

The trail takes you through mixed forests and up to Dundas Peak, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city of Hamilton and Cootes Paradise.

The rush of the waterfalls over the cliff’s edge of Dundas Peak is notable in the spring, but amongst the fiery leaves of autumn in Canada, you’ll be awestruck!

Depending on the time of year, you might also catch a glimpse of some migrating birds.

The peak is also a great spot to watch the sunset.

Make sure you’re prepared for the hike with proper shoes and water, as there are no services along the trail.

To hike Dundas Peak, you’ll need a 2-hour pass that you can purchase online here.

Dundas Peak in Hamilton, Ontario is a popular hiking trail in Ontario which offers spectacular views of the Fall foliage
Dundas Peak, Hamilton, Ontario

Eagles Nest, Calabogie

Recommended By: Kelly of Just One Passport

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Nestled deep in the Ottawa Valley a short 8 minute drive from the Town of Calabogie and just over an hour from Ottawa, you will find one of Canada’s many treasures and one of the best hiking trails to view Canada’s beautiful Fall foliage. Eagles Nest trail is accessible by an old logging road, now known as Calabogie Road.

The Eagles Nest Trail sits on land once owned by the Algonquin Nation. As a tribute to the Algonquin People, you will pass information boards scattered throughout the hike. Make sure you take time to stop to read the fascinating history of the Algonquin People.

Hiking Eagles Nest is rated as a moderate hike offering a gentle up-hill climb through towering trees and past many small lakes, which will take you to the Eagle’s Nest Lookout. From on top of a 120 meter cliff you will be rewarded as you take in the spectacular Fall colours from the cliff which juts out over the valley below. The Eagles Nest Trail is a popular spot for bird watching, hiking and rock climbing, so it does get quite busy.

The trail is slightly rocky and has many tree roots, therefor proper hiking footwear is highly recommended. For those hikers who are looking to take in the beauty of Fall, the hike to the lookout is a short 3 km up and back hike which will take approximately one hour to complete.

JUST ONE TIP: I recommend arriving early in the morning as parking is limited and the trail gets busy during the peak seasons

Eagle's Nest trail nestled in the Ottawa Valley near Calabogie, Ontario is one of the best trails in Canada to view the Fall foliage
Eagle’s Nest Lookout, Calabogie, Ontario

Lions Head Lookout, Bruce Peninsula

Recommended by: Stephanie of The World As I See It

Difficulty Level: Moderate

One of the best fall hikes in Canada can be found along Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula. Lion’s Head Provincial Park sits on the eastern edge of the Bruce Peninsula, approximately 4 hours north of Toronto. The park is over 500 hectares and runs along the towering limestone cliffs of Georgian Bay.

There are multiple trail options throughout Lion’s Head. However, one of the top trails is the Lion’s Head Lookout. This 6.8km out and back trail takes roughly 90 minutes to complete and is rated as moderate in difficulty.

The Lookout trail runs from the McCurdy parking lot at the end of Moore Street in the small village of Lion’s Head. The trail runs through some of the oldest forests in North America. It also traverses the Niagara Escarpment. This means you can expect rugged pathways over tree roots, bulging rocks, and even geological potholes.

As you wind your way along the trail, you’ll find an array of smaller lookouts. Each rewards you sweeping views over the crystal blue waters of Georgian Bay and the towering white cliffs. Plus, you’ll see stretches of trees all ablaze with some of the best Fall colours in Ontario.

To avoid disappointment, you can reserve your day pass here.

Lion's Head Provincial Park in the Bruce Peninsula offers some the the best hiking in Canada to view the vibrant Fall  colours.
Lion’s Head Provincial Park in the Bruce Peninsula

Best Fall Foliage Hikes in Canada Wrap-Up

So as you can see, Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year to hike in Canada. You will enjoy the cool, crisp air, the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet and most of all, hiking in the Fall is the perfect way to enjoy the changing colour of the leaves. What is your favourite Fall hike?

HAPPY & SAFE HIKING 🙂

Kelly xo

SAVE THE BEST FALL FOLIAGE HIKES IN CANADA

53 thoughts on “Best Fall Foliage Hikes in Canada

  1. Chelsea

    I used to live in Ontario and often hiked Dundas Peak, we loved it! The last time we went it was really slippery so looking forward to going back again soon in the warmer months!
    Great guide 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lita

    Okay wow you have me daydreaming of hiking through Canada in the Fall! I would love to go back to Alberta or try the Dundas Pass Trail. Definitely adding these all to my bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma

        While I know the best fall foliage hikes are in the east for more dramatic colour changes, I’m happy to see a couple on here near to where I am in BC. Both Frosty Mountain and Mount Cheam are on my list and this pictures make me want to start planning. I prefer hiking in the fall and would take the chance of rain over the heat of the summer any day

        Like

  3. Blondearoundtheworld

    I will save this post for when I visit Canada. It has been pretty high on my list, especially BC. From everything I see and read, it’s a dream country to enjoy nature, especially with the wonderful fall landscape. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barry

    There are clearly a plethora of great hiking trails in Canada and this post gives great info on what to do there and how. I can imagine sunscreen is needed in Summer with all that outdoor activity. I do a lot of city walking but not very many hikes but these descriptions of the beautiful parks and trails would entice me into them when next in Canada,

    Like

  5. Pingback: Amazing Fall Color Tours in Michigan | The Best Scenic Road Trips

  6. Carolin | Solo Travel Story (@SoloTravelStory)

    Loving the colours during the autumn. Some of those hiking trails look spectacular and the views are gorgeous, too. I’m happy you’ve included a few moderate and easy routes. I’m not made for steep ascents and would prefer a flat and manageable hiking trail. Have to agree with Angela, Canada looks like a lovely country. Awesome hikes, quaint towns and lots of nature. Sign me up for that!

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Renee

    There’s just something about fall in Canada that I adore. No matter the province, it’s always so beautiful. It’s also the time of year that I love to do road trips and hikes. Especially ones with open vistas that allow you to see the full colour range that autumn has to offer. I took a look at the Ontario hikes, and have done 2 out of the 3 — great inspo as I’m always looking for new places to enjoy this season in.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hannahthemaddog

    Fall in Canada looks beautiful! The mountains, the trees, and the weather is perfect for it. I wouldn’t want to hike in heat, so I would really enjoy autumnal hikes and taking photos of the foilage!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam

    I have yet to go on a hike in Canada – but this list is a great place to start! I prefer spring/fall hiking because of the weather, but what’s not to love about fall foliage! Dundas Peak looks idyllic!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Rimrock Resort: Rest in the Rocky Mountains – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  11. JoJo’s Cup of Mocha

    Canada is just full of beautiful parks and areas, and they get even prettier during the fall! I love going on hikes during the fall, I have to plan a trip to Canada one of these days to go on one of these hikes to see some awesome fall foliage.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Best Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Caledon Ontario • Dream Plan Experience

  13. Pingback: Best Day Hikes Around the World – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  14. Pingback: Banff Gondola – A Premier Attraction – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  15. Pingback: Weed Store Caledon – Green Variety Cannabis- Green Variety Cannabis Shop

  16. Pingback: 22 Fun Facts to Know Before Visiting Canada – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  17. Pingback: Two Short Days in the Rocky Mountains – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  18. Pingback: Lost At Rattlesnake Point – JUST ONE PASSPORT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.