Enjoy the magic of fall
The onset of fall is a surefire reason to dust off that favourite soup recipe, sip a soothing chai latte, and slowly ease into the most visually stunning time of year. As we trade in the fast-paced madness of the first half of the year, there’s no better time to marvel at Québec’s dazzling display of autumnal colours. You’ve probably noticed that stray yellow leaf crisping up, or maybe you’ve even felt a crunchy mass of leaves underfoot. One thing’s for sure, fall is upon us! If you want to take advantage of the landscape as it bursts with fall foliage this season, read on to pick up a few ideas.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, travel restrictions change rapidly. You should always stay up-to-date with the Government’s latest recommendations and restrictions before you plan a trip. If you are staying in Montréal, you can also take a look at our Staycation in Montréal Guide, and read on to plan your perfect Fall day.
When is the best time to see the colours?
Throughout the fall you’ll be able to see Québec’s forests, national parks, and the rest of the countryside, ablaze with colours such as harvest-yellow, burnt-orange, and crimson-red. It’s definitely a feast for the senses. Thanks to bonjour Québec’s interactive fall foliage map, you can scroll around different parts of the province to see the different stages of fall foliage in different locations. Right now, at the beginning of October, most locations are reporting “beginning soon” or “early”, meaning that you still have a while to enjoy the beautiful scenery. In general, October is the best month to take advantage of this once-a-year display.
Here’s a breakdown of the colours per month:
- End of September: Mainly green colour. Early signs of yellow.
- Early October: Mainly orange colours. Red is also making an appearance.
- Mid-late October: Predominantly red colours. Leaves begin turning brown.
- November onward: Winter is starting. No more beautiful colours.
Check the map to see what the fall colours are like in your area:
Where are the best places to see the fall colours?
Fall colours are an amazing sight throughout the province, and with so many options it can be hard to know where is the best place to see the multi-coloured leaves glistening in the sunlight. We’ve picked a few of our favourite picks so you can be sure to take in the views whether you’re hiking, going for a simple stroll, or planning a weekend trip. Here are a few of our favourite places to visit not too far from Montréal.
Perfect for a day-trip, the cute mountain village of Mont Tremblant transports you to a Swiss-style ski resort, conveniently tucked away in the Laurentians. Just a stone’s throw away from Montréal, this is a great spot to watch the fall colours change right before your very eyes. You can take the panoramic gondola to the top of the mountain and watch how the views get even better the higher up you go.
How much does it cost?
Adult prices are $20.52, but it’s well worth it! If you book 72 hours in advance you’ll even get a 10% discount: perfect for a family day-trip. Once you get to the top, you’ll have stunning views of the Laurentians and Tremblant lake. To top it off, you’ll have panoramic views of a dazzling array of colours on display.
Hike to see the colours
While you’re in the mountains, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the hiking trails on offer. We highly recommend taking the gentle 2.98 km hike named The Grand-Prix des couleurs. As it’s name suggests, you won’t be let down by the warm autumnal colours along the hike. Even if hiking isn’t your favourite hobby, we guarantee that you’ll change your mind after taking in the breathtaking views. Whether you’re tackling it alone, with a loved one, or the rest of the family, there’s no greater way to truly feel those fall vibes. Of course, there’s some pure Instagram gold to be had here too!
For a memorable afternoon, why not pack a picnic? Fill up a thermos with a scrumptious pumpkin spiced hot chocolate, pack a picnic blanket, and toss in a few of your favourite snacks, et voilà! Find a quiet spot to take in the mountain and lake vistas and contemplate life as you get in the fall spirit.
How can you get there?
The best part about Mont Tremblant is its accessibility. There are two daily departures (07:30 and 10:30) with Galland that you can book directly on Busbud. If you go mid-week, there is only 1 departure every Tuesday and Wednesday at 07:30. Average prices are $37 each way from Montréal. If you’re an early bird, why not take the 07:30 bus and curl up with a good book, or have a nap and wake up feeling like you’re in the French Alps. After you’ve spent a day wandering around and embracing nature’s finest season, you can hop on the 18:30 bus back to Montréal, just as the sun starts to go down. Maybe you’ll even get a pretty view of the sun setting behind the mountains.
See the fall colours in The Eastern Townships
This is a destination that comes alive in fall, when deep amber hues and notes of burnt honey-orange literally fill the horizon. Dotted with small and quaint villages, the Townships charm is best felt this time of year as summer winds down and a cool breeze blows through the region. Our highlights would have to be Mount Orford and the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises for something a little different.
Magog is a small town surrounded by natural beauty, and is very close to several lakes and national parks. Even just driving into Magog you’re bound to see some beautiful countryside along the way. Located just a few minutes outside of downtown Magog, the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises offer some incredible walks through the marshlands. Not only is this a great place to get some fresh country air and see the whole spectrum of the rainbow in leaf form, it’s also an incredibly biodiverse area. You can bird-watch to your heart’s content and if you time it right, you might come across some interesting wildlife on your walk.
La Flambée des couleurs at Orford
La Flambée des couleurs takes place every weekend between the 19th of September and the 18th of October in Magog and Mount Orford. Everybody is focussed on enjoying the fall, which is why these are the best weekends to witness fall in full flow. Whether you want to visit the Mount Orford National Park to take advantage of the unique hikes, or just take the cable car to the top to admire the views, these are the best weekends to book a ticket to get to the top of the mountain and soak up the natural beauty. You have to book in advance due to COVID measures, so we highly recommend that you book in advance to avoid disappointment. Adult prices are a steal at only $16.
Looking for a family day-trip? Book La Flambée des couleurs family pass for 2 adults and 2 children. The whole family can zoom to the summit of Mount Orford for a true fall experience!
How can you get there?
Magog is extremely accessible by bus from Montréal with 4 daily departures. The earliest bus leaves at 06:00, and the latest at 16:45, which means you can really take advantage of your schedule. Average prices are $37 and it’s under two hours drive. Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city really is only a bus trip away.
Montréal Botanical Garden
If you can’t tear yourself away from the city this season, you can still enjoy the autumnal colours glistening in the sun without leaving the island of Montréal. Staycations are surging in popularity this year, especially due to all the travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19. If you have a day or two to spare and want to take a mini staycation while it’s still warm enough, click here for some great ideas for a staycation in Montréal. For those of you looking to appreciate the changing of the seasons, head on over to Montréal’s Botanical Garden.
You can feel like you’re escaping the city without stepping off the island. The truly outstanding 30 thematic gardens allow you to meander through the wonders of nature from around the globe. Feel like taking a stroll on a crisp fall day? You’ll definitely have the chance to connect with the earth amongst the 75 hectares of nature at your fingertips. If you tire of walking through the thematic gardens (we doubt you will!), then you can fling yourself under the shade of a nice tree and find a bit of calm. Of course, you can also learn a thing or two by heading over to one of the more unusual corners of the park. Perhaps the charm of the Japanese garden intrigues you? Or maybe you’d prefer to learn more about medicinal or toxic plants? Whatever your horticultural interest, you’ll be spoiled for choice here. This is an amazing spot for a Sunday-afternoon picnic too!
How can you get there?
Being on the island of Montréal means that the Gardens are very easy to get to. The most convenient way is to take the green line and get off at the Pie-IX metro station. From there it’s a short walk to the Botanical Gardens. If you’re feeling like a more active start to your day, you can take a bixi (until the 15th of November) and park at the corner of Pie-IX and Sherbrooke.
Take in the views from Mount Royal
No fall season would be complete without the mandatory hike to the summit of Mount Royal! If you want to snap some amazing selfies with the colours of Montréal in the background, you should take a leisurely walk to the top of the mountain. This is Montréal’s gift to its residents and is truly a place for everybody to appreciate the fall colours from the highest point of the city. The best thing? It’s free and you can go at your own pace. You can go any day of the week and maybe do a couple of laps around Beaver Lake before stopping by the viewpoint and heading down slowly.
How can you get there?
By foot! There are 7 entrances to get to the park, so pick your favourite one here.
What does your perfect fall day look like? Share your favourite ideas for a fun fall day.