Although the lazy days of summer are behind us, the opportunity for outdoor vacationing is still very present. Camping in the fall is awesome. The crowds are smaller, the searing heat of summer is gone, but warm days and cool nights arrive (perfect for sleeping). It’s also the perfect point of view to absorb the changing of the leaves as nature weaves one of her most spectacular seasonal sights. If you are planning on camping in Canada this fall, here are a few campgrounds you’ll want to check out.
7. La Mauricie National Park, Quebec
The tree-lined landscapes in La Mauricie National Park, located mid-way between Montreal and Quebec City, are a sight to behold in the autumn. It’s a tapestry of contrasts with the reds and golds of the changing leaves, against the vast forests of coniferous trees, maintaining their green as the year marches on. This park is popular with canoe campers and car campers alike, with the opportunities for outdoor leisure as vast as the open spaces that surround them. Looking for some panoramic views? Drive around the Ile-de-Pins, and stop along at the lookout points; hike the Solitaire Lake Trail or around the Gabet Lake Trail and pause for some serious scenery.
6. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia
If hiking the arduous West Coast Trail is on your bucket list, you only have until the end of September annually to do it. The mild September temperatures and drier weather make it a more pleasant experience, although the sense of the accomplishment, along with the once-in-a-lifetime scenery along the way is compelling enough in terms of motivation. The West Coast Trail is not the only scenic jewel in the Pacific Rim National Park though. Visit the Rainforest (yes, there’s one in Canada). There is the incredible Long Beach, where you can participate in 9.5 km Long Beach Challenge run every autumn. There is lots of opportunity to camp here, with many serviced campsites open through October. Camping in the Broken Islands group is particularly good in September, in part because you still have summer-like weather without the summer crowds.
5. Jasper National Park, Alberta
Jasper National Park has lots of camping opportunity for those wishing to extend their camping season through the fall. Most of Jasper’s campgrounds are summer only, but a couple of them remain open and fully operational through the middle of October. Jasper National Park does offer Otentiks like many of the other National Parks, which are generally available through to the middle of October as well. Now that you’ve determined where to sleep, how to spend your waking hours? Tackle the surrounding mountains for a hike or a mountain bike, during a season where the temperatures are downright comfortable. Visit the Miette Hot Springs, located within the park, which are the hottest mineral spring waters in the Rockies.
4. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
As far as unique scenery goes, witnessing the highest tides in the world pull in and out of the shore is hard to beat. The Yurts and the OTentiks (A-frame tents) that are available for rent in Fundy National Park overlook the shores of the iconic Bay of Fundy. Talk about a room with a view! Imagine waking up to the sites of the rolling Bay at your doorstep and then going for a walk on the ocean floor (when the tide is receding, of course!). Fundy National Park has a “Red Chair Program,” which means that there are giant red Adirondack chairs placed at various vantage points around the park, intended for you to pause, relax and absorb the view.
3. Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario
Located just outside Picton, On, Sandbanks Provincial Park is immensely popular with day-trippers and campers through the summer months. This is due in part to it’s amazing, long, shallow, sandy beaches that make it hard to believe you’re in Ontario (and not in some seaside tropical locale). While the water may be a little chilly for camping through the fall, this lengthy beach is a walker’s (or runner’s) delight. After your walk on the beach, you can enjoy some of the best food and wine in the region or go antiquing while touring around in nearby Prince Edward County. Another fall highlight: this park’s location makes it a hotspot for bird migration, so there is lots of natural wildlife to observe. At Sandbanks, there are 500 campsites, as well as a handful of cottages available. The cottages are available year round, but for those looking to embrace the great outdoors and camp proper, sites are open through mid-October.
2. Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario
Bon Echo Provincial Park is located in Cloyne, ON and has some of the most unique and beautiful scenery in Eastern Ontario. It is set upon Lake Mazinaw, featuring Mazinaw Rock, which juts 100 metres up from the shoreline. Boat tours of the lake are available seasonally and offer an up close and personal view of the pictographs. The jagged rock face has over 200 Aboriginal pictographs upon it (which is one of the largest such collections in Canada). This place is a hiker’s paradise, with several trails of varying difficulty and length around the park. (Abes and Essens Lake Trail) are particularly vibrant in the fall when the leaves turn, and the panoramic views can’t be beat. There are campsites available along some of the trails. In addition to the car camping sites, Bon Echo is fitted with a number of heated Yurts which can increase the comfort level on those chilly fall mornings.
1. Algonquin Park, Ontario
When you think of sweeping, regally coloured vistas that characterize the colours of fall, it is hard not to picture the rolling countryside and forested terrain of Algonquin Park. Very popular with outdoor enthusiasts year-round, the fall offers a special combination of seasonal activity, made awe-inspiring when it takes place against the colourful backdrop that the season provides. Sugar and Red Maples are at their fiery best from mid-September through mid-October. Other tree types will follow suit, with the canopy of colour remaining pretty vibrant through November. Several of Algonquin Park’s developed campgrounds are available for use through until Canadian Thanksgiving. If you are looking to camp a little deeper into the fall, check out Mew Lake Campground, which has full hookups and service year-round. There is also a collection of hiking trails that connect through the campground, which gives you easy access and a bird’s eye view of the fall foliage.