8 Beautiful Fall Drives

Scenic routes to help inspire your inner photographer.

Image courtesy Colorado Tourism.

Image courtesy Colorado Tourism.

When it comes to picking a favourite season, we’ll have to vote for autumn – not just because that’s when all of the new TV shows hit the airwaves, or we can layer our looks without breaking into a sweat – but it’s easily the most beautiful time of the year. Green leaves are slowly replaced by fiery shades of foliage, quietly turning the landscape into a real-life Group of Seven painting.

While you could catch a seat sale to Europe, we suggest you take advantage of this gorgeous season by planning a weekend road-trip that will let allow you to marvel in the changing colours. Not sure where to go? We pick eight scenic fall drives guaranteed to inspire your inner photographer.

1. Destination: Aspen, Colorado
Don't discount this skiing destination outside of the winter months. Whether you're coming from the New Mexico towards Aspen or Salt Lake City, you'll find the highway routes to have plenty of fall scenery to take in. If you're doing the four-hour drive from Denver, the I-70 is your best bet for fall foliage. Continue down Colorado 91 all the way to Aspen, where you'll find plenty to do from hiking to antique shopping, or take an hour detour to the rejuvenating Glenwood Hot Springs.

Image courtesy Tourism Niagara.

Image courtesy Tourism Niagara.

2. Destination: Niagara-on-the-Lake
Whether it's a weekend getaway or even a day-trip, a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great fall escape. The scenery begins to get impressive the further out of Toronto you get, particularly once you reach Niagara Falls, heading along the Niagara Parkway to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This charming town has a multitude of wineries to explore, from big-name labels like Jackson-Triggs and Peller Estates and boutique wineries like Lailey Vineyard and The Organized Crime Winery, there is plenty to see and taste. We also suggest taking in a theatre performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre, with the season running until November 3.

Looking onto Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka.

Looking onto Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka.

3. Destination: Muskoka
Another easy day or weekend trip from Toronto is north to Muskoka. The route is simple, yet stunning. All you need to do is take Highway 400 north until it splits and then choose Highway-11 towards Gravenhurst. Whether you're heading to a family cottage or one of the many posh resorts, remember to pack some cozy sweaters to beat the chill.

Vermont's fall foliage. Image courtesy Vermont Tourism.

Vermont's fall foliage. Image courtesy Vermont Tourism.

4. Destination: Burlington, Vermont
A reasonable drive from Ottawa or Montreal, New England residents will also find it a easy trip heading north. We suggest making your final destination either Burlington or Stowe, two charming towns where you'll find wineries, scenic hiking trails and even apple picking! Coming from the south? Take Vermont Route 100, which is beautiful no matter what section of it that you drive.

The beautiful autumn colours in Mont Tremblant.

The beautiful autumn colours in Mont Tremblant.

5. Destination: Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Another ski destination not to discount in the fall months are Mont Tremblant and the Laurentian Mountains, both are full of colourful fall foliage. Peaking in mid-October through to early November, natural lovers shouldn't miss stopping at Mont Tremblant National Park, where you can participate in outdoor activities from rock climbing to canoeing -- and the more adventurous can even plan for an overnight. Our pick? A luxe stay at the Westin Mont Tremblant Resort & Spa located in the bustling village.

Image courtesy Lake Louise Inn.

Image courtesy Lake Louise Inn.

6. Destination: Lake Louise, Alberta
Beautiful scenery is a year-round affair at Lake Louise, thanks to the mesmerizing Rocky Mountains as the backdrop to the landscape. Though the foliage doesn't offer as dramatic of a colour-scheme as the east coast, you'll still notice the golden larch trees, particularly in September. If you're coming from the north, be sure to take the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) towards Lake Louise, which allows you to take in the rugged landscape.

Photography courtesy NovaScotia.com

7. Destination: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
One of the most scenic drives on the east coast of Canada is the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. Though it's only a five-hour drive, with scenic overlooks, hiking trails and sites along the way, you'll want to plan at least a day to complete the trail. Plus once you start you have to finish the loop, as there's no way to cut across the island. During the fall expect to see a full palette of fall shades from golden yellow to fiery red, which starts in late September and continues until late October.

The Ironman Loop in Lake Placid. Image courtesy Lake Placid tourism.

The Ironman Loop in Lake Placid. Image courtesy Lake Placid tourism.

8. Destination: Lake Placid, New York
The fall foliage covers the landscape in the Adirondacks and while hiking is your best bet to get up-close-and-personal with the great outdoors, it's easy to cover a lot of ground by car. Once you've reached the area there are a handful of routes you can choose from that let's you experience everything from panoramic views to lakeside viewpoints.

The 56-mile Ironman Loop is a three-hour drive that allows you to see highlights including the Olympic Center and High Falls Gorge. Just take the 73 south out of Lake Placid past the Cascade Lakes and down Keene Hill. Turn left on Route 9N north to Jay and left on Route 86 to Wilmington and Lake Placid. For a break from the main road, take a left onto River Road and then a right on Route 73 by the ski jumps. For more information on scenic drives in Lake Placid visit lakeplacid.com.