While it’s possible to enjoy the glorious national parks of Canada at any time of the year, the changing seasons are bound to dictate your experience, whether you’re road tripping the Rockies in the summer or hitting the slopes of Banff when the weather turns. However, the fiery colours, blue skies and light dusting of snow that’s typical of the cooler months should put autumn in Canada right at the top of your bucket list. Here are 5 reasons autumn is the perfect time to visit Canada – passports at the ready!
1. It’s salmon season
September’s considered the start of the salmon run in Canada, and the comfortable climate couldn’t be more ideal for bearing witness to this fascinating ritual. Millions of Chum, Coho, Chinook and Pink salmon enter the Goldstream River on Vancouver Island, swimming in from the Atlantic, heading for their native streams to spawn. This uncanny ability to pinpoint their place of birth is a natural phenomenon. Not only will you see the rivers filled with fish, but eagles, bears and other wildlife are easy to spot as they make their catch of the day.
2. Bears on the prowl
Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Canada for wildlife viewing, especially if you’re hoping to spot the country’s mightiest predator – the grizzly bear. As the salmon run commences, grizzlies can be spied in large numbers, fishing from the river banks or even immersed in the water, seeking the sumptuous salmon that are making the perilous journey upstream. Wildlife safaris could take you cruising on the rivers or tracking and hiking through woodland with expert guides leading the way. Pay the Yukon a visit in late October for a chance to spot the ice grizzlies, fur jingling with sparkling icicles, before they bed down for the winter.
3. Colours all around
Autumn is a beautiful season to get out and about in the Great Outdoors – and Canada’s turning leaves are a spectacle worth planning your trip for. You’ll find the most scenic woodland in eastern Canada where maples, chestnut and aspen are found in abundance, ablaze with red, orange and gold. Hire a car to tour the Annapolis Valley before tucking into a hearty casserole or stew – Canadians know how to do autumnal food right.
4. Lake Louise out of season
The glittering vistas of Canada, framed by imposing forest and underscored with sapphire lakes, are enough to make visitors dream of jacking in their jobs back home and moving to this land of crisp mountain air. Yet as improbable as it may seem, the beauty of sights like the crystalline Lake Louise can be intensified – just take away the tourist crowds of the peak summer months. The number of day-trippers making merry on Lake Louise thins out significantly in the shoulder season, allowing you to soak up the serenity of the scenery in peace.
5. Northern Lights in the Yukon
Head to northwest Canada in winter to observe the magical Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. This part of the country is renowned for unpredictable displays of this natural light show – expect to glimpse dancing ribbons of green, yellow or blue, pulsing overhead.
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