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The Best Ways to See Canada's Fall Foliage

Get outside and explore Autumn in Canada

As the summer draws to an end and fall’s crisp temperature starts to creep into the air we all reach for our comfiest sweaters and stare outside at the beginning of the autumnal colors. The beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red make this season a favorite for many outdoor lovers and you are probably wondering, “How can I get outside and enjoy this amazing weather”? The Niagara Parks area is the perfect answer to this question. For the inside scoop on the best places to see the fiery colors of Fall and get outside to celebrate the season, I spoke with some Niagara experts for tips on where and when to visit.

“Fall is my favorite time of year,” Chris Giles, an employee with the Niagara Parks Commission. “It’s quieter and groups slow down. Plus, with cooler temperatures, nature activities are even better.”

There are endless options for exploring the Niagara Parks. Whether you’re into hiking, bouldering, birding, cycling, or geocaching, there’s something for every visitor that’s bound to bring you closer to nature and give you an up-close view of the explosion of Fall colors.

“Peak color season is really dependent on the weather. But the middle of October is the safest bet and has good conditions before it gets too chilly,” According to Chris. “Hiking in the Niagara Glen is my suggestion for the best way to see the Fall.”

The Niagara Glen Trail is a heavily trafficked one, but as Chris mentioned the crowds tend to slow down so there aren’t as many people clambering along the 2.5-mile hike. This rugged path offers stunning views of Niagara River rapids, along with the natural phenomenon, the Niagara River Whirlpool.

To see the Whirlpool from above, make sure to take a trip in the Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique cable car suspended above the swirling water. Fun fact, the path of the car crosses the international borderline between Canada and the United States, so a ride in the car means you will be passing back and forth between the two countries multiple times!

Another great way to see the Niagara area from above is with a helicopter ride. I spoke with Anna Pierce, an employee with Niagara Helicopters, about her favorite season.

“It honestly looks like someone struck a match in the gorge,” Anna says. “Flying over the area it’s a 360-degree view of all trees, along with gorgeous views of the Falls.”

Speaking with her makes you appreciate just what those views must look like. Below you are hundreds of trees with vibrant hues that you have never been able to fully see, along with the Falls thundering below and glinting in the sunlight. A tour with Niagara Helicopters includes a headset with recordings explaining everything about the helicopters, views, and interesting facts about the area. On certain days you can even see the curve of the Earth as you soar along.

A Classic Tour is your highlight reel, covering the Whirlpool area and up over the falls in 12 minutes, including boarding time. This is the most popular option as it is the best deal without losing out on any of the wonders. Anna suggests taking a tour around 2 pm, which is her favorite time.

“Around mid-day, the sun hits the Falls just right, and you see rainbows no matter where you look.”

For an extended tour, you will want The Winery Tour, which is 18 minutes one way. You can either fly back or take a taxi to return to Niagara Helicopter’s base. This tour is special since you get to see the beauty of the gorge and Falls, but you also get to take in the local life scenery since you can see the winery’s harvest below. Plus, with the cafes and high-end restaurants that use regional fresh ingredients; you can not only see the best that the season has to offer but taste it too.

“It’s the Rockstar treatment,” says Anna. “People see you coming in on a helicopter and they pull out their phones thinking you might be someone famous.”

The smaller helicopter tours can take one to four people at a time, but the largest can take up to six. Anna says that often parents will go for an anniversary or special occasion, but they love the experience so much that they often return with their children so they can go again.

“Make sure to bring a camera,” Anna says when asked about her number one tip to first-timers. “But my best advice is to charge it up and lookup. As beautiful as the pictures are you can only capture a small portion of the full 360-degree views. It’s truly breathtaking if you take the time to take it all in.”

By Digital Content Coordinator,  ARIANA JENNELL

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Ontario: Ottawa Toronto

Other States: Ontario

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