As we once again bid farewell to summer months filled with back-to-back car events, we can now look forward to the fall foliage season and the changing palette of deciduous trees in blazing bloom. It’s time to maximize your intake of colour and heighten your senses. And no matter where you are, the way to cover the most ground—and take in the biggest eyeful of colour—is from behind the wheel. To give you ideas while you map out your driving route, here are some of our favourite fall colour drives.
Highway 4/Pacific Rim Highway: Beginning outside of British Columbia’s mainland, a two-hour 150-kilometer drive across Vancouver Island from Parksville heading towards the west Pacific Coast and ending at the remote and scenic city of Tofino will make your eyes widen as you wind through ancient forests, mountain ranges and in-between lakes. Tofino, a gem of a city with small-town charm will engulf you in a grand surrounding landscape. If you so desire, stay a while to whale watch, fish, hike or kayak — then savour the peaceful ride home.
Trans-Canada Highway: This cruise begins in Revelstoke, British Columbia, which has a very quaint Main Street shopping district, and takes you through national parks, the Canadian Rockies, the Selkirk Mountain Range and Glacier National Park, with the final stop being Banff National Park in Lake Louise, Alberta. Along the lower elevations and waterways you will see Alpine fir, Englemann spruce, white spruce, black cottonwood and western white birch. Higher elevations are home to Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and Trembling aspen. Breathtaking views of valleys, lakes, glaciers and mountains throughout the 220-kilometer trip leave little else to be desired.
Highway 60 – Algonquin Park Corridor, Ontario: Highway 60 is most memorable for cutting through one of Canada’s finest parks, Algonquin Park, with 7,725 square kilometers of forests, lakes, bogs, cliffs, rivers and beaches. Taking only an hour to complete, this shorter drive has its appeal, and the venture is packed with nonstop beauty. Permits are not required to pass through the park, but if camping tickles your fancy, for a nominal fee you can gain use of their facilities and enjoy a breathtaking night under the stars.
Cabot Trail – Nova Scotia: The lush landscapes along the Atlantic Ocean make Cabot trail an exceptional fall drive. It takes only a few hours to complete the 300-kilometer long trail around the greater part of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Taking a day or two will allow time for stops at the many scenic overlooks, visits to the charming towns and walks on the wooded trails along the way. If you are a driver that doesn’t like venturing near steep cliff drop-offs, it is recommended that you travel clockwise around the island, as you would then be on the inside lane. For braver souls, driving counter-clockwise will give you the prime views and may have less traffic; fewer people opt for the daredevil route.
St. Lawrence Route – Quebec: Otherwise known as the place where the mountains meet the sea, the St. Lawerence route is a truly astonishing 50-kilometer drive that will take you through mountain-filled scenery and lively towns such as Baie St. Paul, La Malbaie and the picturesque villages of Les Éboulements, Saint-Irénée and Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive. This trip offers the grand option of making it a weekend trip; numerous vacationers take advantage of La Malbaie’s golf courses, the casino, and its high-calibre hotels. Once you reach the village of Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, a free ferry is available for boarding, and this brings you to the island of L’Isle –aux-Coudres, an island full of peace and tranquility.