It's officially the season of all things golden and there's no better time to grab your favourite sweater and head outdoors. If you need a little bit of inspiration, these Canadian national parks are the perfect places to fall in love with fall!
While Canada is a pretty big country, there are spectacular national parks in every region, which means you don't have to catch a flight or drive for hours to find a red, orange and golden paradise and dreamy fall views near you.
From the Skyline Trail in Nova Scotia, to Alberta's iconic Banff National Park, this country is jam-packed with extraordinary places to explore the changing leaves during the golden season. So, what are you waiting for?
Where: Banff National Park, AB
Why You Need To Go: One of the most instantly recognizable national parks in the country, Banff National Park is simply stunning in every season. That said, there’s a certain golden magic found in the fall that shouldn't be missed.
Combine Rocky Mountain peaks with turquoise glacial lakes and miles and miles of golden larch trees and you've got yourself a fall adventure unlike any other.
Where: Yoho National Park, BC
Why You Need To Go: With countless waterfalls, towering rock walls and 28 different peaks that stand taller than 3,000 metres, it won’t be hard to find the perfect autumn lookout point here.
With glaciers, waterfalls and towering peaks, each and every viewpoint will look like a picture-perfect fall postcard.
Where: Riding Mountain National Park, MB
Why You Need To Go: A true wildlife lover’s paradise, this park is home to black bears, deer, elk, beavers and moose. With that kind of company, this has to be one of the most Canadian places in the country to watch the leaves change.
With windswept grasslands and deep, silent forests, you can hike out into nature and forget the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life. Dreamy, eh?
Where: Kouchibouguac National Park, NB
Why You Need To Go: Located on New Brunswick's east coast, this 238 square-kilometre park has forests, lagoons and sand dunes. With all of that on offer, plus more, it's a wonderful place to enjoy the cozy season.
While this spot's golden sand dunes and warm ocean beaches are known to be dreamy during the summer, the peaceful, autumnal display on show here will convince you it's the perfect place to visit any time of the year.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Where: Gros Morne National Park, NL
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for the perfect time of year to visit Newfoundland's Gros Morne, this is it! During the autumn, this place transforms into a colourful paradise, jam-packed with hiking trails, water views and so much more.
At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll find vistas combining soaring fjords, moody mountains and beaches, all alongside forest teaming with leaves of red, brown, orange and gold. What more could you ask for during the fall season?
Where: Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NS
Why You Need To Go: If one thing should be on your seasonal bucket list, hiking the Skyline Trail is it. October is the most spectacular time of year to complete this hike, as fall foliage in every colour will surround you from start to finish.
Considered one of the absolute best places to explore in Nova Scotia, you can explore 950 square kilometres of fall magic here, all while marvelling at river canyons, rugged cliffside and the chilly, October ocean.
Where: Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
Why You Need To Go: While this is actually a provincial park rather than a national park, this spot is second to none when it comes to fall adventures in Ontario.
It's got extraordinary colours, golden foliage and hiking paths and it's really easy to explore, too. If you're lucky, you might even spot some iconic Canadian wildlife here as well.
Prince Edward Island
Where: Prince Edward Island National Park, PEI
Why You Need To Go: Wherever you go in P.E.I. during the fall season, you’ll find vibrant red and bright orange colours. However, a woodland hike in Prince Edward Island National Park is a good place to start.
That said, if you’re not ready to say goodbye to the beach, this park’s rolling sand dunes and ocean views have got you covered ... just don't forget your jacket!
Where: La Mauricie National Park, QC
Why You Need To Go: With 150 lakes and ponds, trees for miles and the company of beavers and wood turtles, this sprawling Quebec park is a golden, natural paradise just waiting to be explored.
Unsurprisingly, it's impressive all year round, but this park particularly lights up during the early fall season, when you'll see leaves of gold, red, orange, yellow and more in all directions. Pack that camera, pronto!
Where: Prince Albert National Park, SK
Why You Need To Go: With boreal forests in all directions, this Saskatchewan national park should be every local's go-to spot for everything orange, yellow and gold.
This spot has enough trails to keep even the busiest of hikers occupied for the whole fall season — and the views you’ll discover will be worth every step.
UPDATE: Parks Canada is warning travellers that Wood Buffalo National Park is currently facing active wildfires, so now is not the time to visit. Road closures remain in place due to fire operations and unsafe conditions. This story will be updated when the advisory has lifted.
Where: Wood Buffalo National Park, NT
Why You Need To Go: With the fall freeze-up usually occurring at the end of October, this is an adventure that should be taken sooner rather than later. It’s bound to be chilly in this region, but it’s worth braving the cold for the totally unique scenery you'll get to experience.
Where: Tombstone Territorial Park, YT
Why You Need To Go: During September and October, this territorial park transforms into a red, orange and purple heaven. With the rugged mountains as a backdrop, it's the perfect place to get that once-in-a-lifetime fall photograph.
Where: Auyuittuq National Park, NU
Why You Need To Go: Put those plans on hold! The fall season kicks off between late August and early September in Nunavut, and winter rolls around very quickly. Instead, a summer visit to this region's national parks may be more appropriate for most visitors. After all, Auyuittuq National Park is known as "the land that never melts" in Inuktitut.
That being said, with sprawling glaciers, steep fjords and winding river valleys, in addition to rich Inuit culture and history, this place is a bucket-list designation for sure.
This story has been updated since it was originally published in October 2021.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.