Montreal and the surrounding area come alive in autumn with blazing hues of reds, oranges and yellows as the trees begin to turn in tune with the season. While there are plenty of viewing opportunities in more rural areas of Quebec, you really don’t, in fact, have to travel too far from your front door in order to catch a glimpse of the natural splendour on full display.
From short day trips outside of the city to more domestic adventures by way of the métro, here are some wonderful spots in and around Montreal that offer unbeatable fall foliage viewing opportunities and a great excuse to get outside and enjoy a socially distanced date with the city — but keep in mind that coronavirus-related restrictions have been changing on a daily basis. Make sure to check the current restrictions and guidelines before you make plans to travel to a different zone .
Mount Royal Park
1260 chemin Remembrance; 514 843-8240, ext. 0; lemontroyal.qc.ca/en
Residents and visitors alike flock to Mount Royal Park regardless of the season for its unobstructed city views intertwined with natural splendour and great hiking trails. That said, come September when the leaves start to change, the summit view becomes truly paramount. The largely concrete landscape bursts with an unbelievable golden colourway that lights up the city below — especially at sunrise when the city is just starting to wake up.
3400 Trinitaires Blvd.; no phone; montreal.ca/en/places/parc-angrignon
Set over 97 hectares of land (including a 1.1-kilometre-long lake), this expansive park may be the best spot in the city for those on foot — pack a picnic, hop on the Green Line and take the métro west to Angrignon station (about 10 minutes from downtown). From there you’ll be transported into a nature lover’s paradise complete with streams, waterfalls, meadows and, of course, an abundance of colourful trees in transition.
Montreal Botanical Garden
4101 Sherbrooke St. E.; 514-868-3000; espacepourlavie.ca/en/botanical-garden
Montreal’s Botanical Garden is a stimulating spot to visit at any time of year, but foliage lovers flock to the park come autumn time for its abundance of changing leaves and well-manicured trails to stroll. Whether you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the fleeting Canadian geese before they make their way south or you want to take in the technicolour fall foliage without venturing too far from home, a trip to this east-end oasis is always a good idea.
Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park
3555 rue Douglas-B.-Floreani, St-Laurent; 514-280-6678; parcs-nature.com/public/en/bois-de-liesse
With more than 13 kilometres of hiking trails and eight kilometres of bike paths, Bois-de-Liesse Nature Park in St-Laurent is a great escape from the city — and only about 20 minutes by car or 60 minutes by public transit from downtown. The 400-acre park is home to a diversified ecosystem that includes centuries-old maple trees, wild flowers and a handful of streams that foster a very active aquatic fauna — even into the autumn.
Dieppe Summit in Mont-Saint-Hilaire
Mont-Saint-Hilaire; no phone; villemsh.ca/
About 45 minutes by car or just under two hours by public transit, Dieppe Summit in Mont-Saint-Hilaire is one of the easiest ways to get off the island and go exploring if you’re short on time or don’t have access to a vehicle. Here you’ll find some easy hiking trails (the round-trip hike is just under four kilometres) that lead to a visual feast of autumn foliage and the town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire below.
40 chemin du Mont Owl’s Head; 450-292-3342; owlshead.com/en/hiking/
Lake Memphremagog may be a freshwater glacial lake, but the surrounding foliage offers breathtaking views of the surrounding autumnal leaves. Head straight to Owl’s Head, where all trails lead to the 540-metre average elevation summit. It’s here you’ll find unobstructed views of Lake Memphremagog and Vermont blanketed in golden-hued autumnal foliage. Note that trail access is free at all times, but it’s suggested to call ahead to ensure all routes are open.
Mont-Mégantic National Park
Mont-Mégantic National Park; 1-800-665-6527; sepaq.com/pq/mme/index.dot?language_id=1
While you may be looking at about two and a half hours of drive time to get to Mont-Mégantic National Park, it’s well worth the time commitment thanks to the breathtaking array of fall foliage and other natural splendour along the way. Most of the hiking trails (which are gorgeous in and of themselves) will take you directly to one of the three summits — where you’ll be met with an unbelievable vantage point to admire the burst of colours from the thick forest below.