Mother Nature puts on a special show every fall, and it's always free and open to the public. There are countless places throughout Canada to admire the fall colours, but a number of destinations just south of the border offer alluring towns and new natural wonders for fall "leafers" seeking something different.
Some of America's most northern states offer fall foliage displays that are known as the best in the world. This year, above-average temperatures have kept the trees from reaching peak colours in September and early October as they usually do. Now is the perfect time to plan a quick trip into the U.S. to visit these four must-see fall foliage destinations.
Old Forge, New York
Photo credit: David Barnas
At the foot of the mighty Adirondack Mountains, you'll find a quaint town that boasts spectacular fall colours. Old Forge is a hot spot for tourists with cute cafes, souvenir shops, tasty restaurants, happening bars and countless places to adventure in the outdoors. An abundance of hiking trails, canoeing routes and scenic drives offer perfect vantage points for admiring the changing leaves and snapping countless photos in the tree-covered foothills.
Photo credit: Jim Liestman
Start your fall foliage adventure near the famous Stowe Mountain Resort in northern Vermont. The colours peak in the Stowe area in September and early October, but warmer-than-usual fall colours have made now the ideal time to visit. Take the scenic drive from Stowe to Waterbury, the birthplace of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, to admire the colours in three Vermont state parks and two state forests.
If you want to stick near Stowe, hit the hiking trails at Topnotch Resort or hop aboard the ski resort's gondola to snap photos of the fall colours from a different angle.
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Photo credit: Calm Vistas
Whether you enter Michigan from the north or through the Windsor Tunnel, you'll have some of the country's most breathtaking fall colours in sight within a handful of hours. If you enter near Detroit, travel roughly four hours northwest until you reach the sleepy but adorable town of Harbor Springs along the west coast of Lake Michigan on Little Traverse Bay.
This charming little town is known as a tourist haven in the summer months, but it becomes more affordable and less crowded as fall creeps in. Cruise along the famed M-119 highway through the "Tunnel of Trees" to see some of the state's most lively colours. After you spend hours cruising the empty coastal roads, stop at a lakefront restaurant to snap photos of the colourful trees against the backdrop of turquoise Lake Michigan.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Photo credit: Bret Vogel
The Columbia River Gorge forms a natural border between northern Oregon and Washington state. The 80-mile-long gorge is a sight to behold in all seasons, but it's even more impressive in fall. The big-leaf maples, cottonwoods, Oregon ashes and firs lining the gorge turn breathtaking shades of gold and orange between mid-September and late October. Travellers can cruise along the Columbia River for a scenic drive, hike the trails along the gorge or even kayak on the river for a more active take on "leafing."