Ottawa

Seeing red (and yellow and orange): 5 spots to catch the fall colours

Across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, trees are gradually bidding farewell to their summer greens and taking on warmer autumnal hues. Here's where you can see the autumn foliage turn.

Orange you glad we came up with this list?

Joanne Scott composes an image as she takes in the fall colours in Gatineau Park near Chelsea, Que., on Oct. 10, 2014. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

It's that time, leaf lovers.

Across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, the trees are gradually bidding farewell to their summer greens and taking on warmer autumnal hues.

So where are the best spots to gawk at all those reds, oranges and yellows?

Thankfully, resources abound. Ontario Travel, for instance, publishes weekly reports this time of year on the progress of the fall colour change, as does Ontario Parks

And for folks planning a day trip into the Outaouais or beyond, tourism website Québec Original provides similar information for locales in that province.

We've pored over the maps and charts and have come up with five spots within an hour or two from Ottawa-Gatineau that are ideal for watching the leaves change.

This map, produced by Ontario Parks, gives travellers an idea of what colour the leaves are in parks across the province. (Ontario Parks)

Algonquin Provincial Park

It's no secret that Algonquin Park offers some of the best views in Ontario of the annual fall spectacle — and if those deep red hues are what you're after, now's the time to go.

Conditions are ideal this Thanksgiving long weekend for viewing both red and sugar maples, particularly along the western stretch of Highway 60, according to the park's own fall colour forecast.

The park does note, however, that high winds in the coming days could blow away some of that leaf cover.

If you miss out on the maples, you should get a chance later this month to see the park's aspens and tamaracks turn. They're still closer to the green and yellow end of the colour spectrum.

Fitzroy Provincial Park

Significantly closer to downtown Ottawa, this provincial park on the city's western border is in the midst of a widespread colour change.

Nearly half of the park's trees have begun their annual shift, according to the park's most recent update on Oct. 1.

The park is reporting that most of those leaves still remain on the trees, although that came before Thursday's windy conditions rolled through the area.

Ontario Parks says the Pine Grove campground offers some of the top leaf-ogling opportunities at Fitzroy, as does the park's main beach.

Heading to the Outaouais to check out the fall foliage? Tourism website Québec Original publishes an autumn colour guide for the entire province. (Québec Original)

Gatineau Park

Right across the Ottawa River is heavily-forested Gatineau Park, which Ontario Travel describes as one of the area's "favourite leaf-peeping destinations."

According to their Oct. 4 update, leaf colours have changed on roughly 30 per cent of the local trees.

The National Capital Commission's "fall rhapsody" weekends provide an opportunity for park visitors to pair their leaf viewing with other local events, like the Pontiac Country Fair near Luskville Falls from Oct. 6-8.

While sections of Gatineau Park were closed after tornadoes tore through the region in late September, the vast majority of the park has since re-opened.

From Perth to Kingston

Head to this part of the eastern Ontario, with its cluster of provincial parks, and you're in prime leaf-viewing territory.

Murphy's Point Provincial Park, just outside Perth, is currently bathed in warm yellow hues, while Charleston Lake Provincial Park — a bit further south — is much the same.

Closer to Kingston, Frontenac Provincial Park is reporting that its leaves are starting to change colour. That update is more than a week old, however, so park visitors could be in for a pleasant surprise.

Western Quebec

According to Québec Original, there are some ideal spots in western Quebec outside Gatineau Park to check out those reds and oranges.

If you want to get high above the tree canopy, head to Mont Morisette Regional Park and climb its 18-metre observation tower. It's located about 115 kilometres north of Ottawa.

And if you want those fall photos framed by buffalo, deer and other wildlife, the tourism website suggests making the trip out to wildlife reserve Parc Oméga near Montebello, Que.

Both locations are at the midway point of the autumn fall colour change, Québec Original says.