Montreal Fall Foliage: Top 9 Destinations for the Best Leaf Peeping Colors

  • 01 of 10

    Enjoy Fall Colors to the Fullest at These Montreal Fall Foliage Hot Spots

    Montreal fall foliage destinations that are the best of the best?
    ••• Montreal fall foliage destinations that are the best of the best? I've got a few favorites, including the one you see in this photo. Wayne Barrett & Anne MacKay / Getty Images

    Montreal Fall Foliage: Top 9 Leaf Peeping Destinations

    From mid-September to early November, Montreal's many trees reveal an array of colors which, believe it or not, are present year round. Yellows, oranges and reds are hidden from view in warmer months by the green pigment chlorophyll, a molecule crucial to photosynthesis which begins disappearing from leaves as days grow shorter and temperatures drop.

    And while you could pick any city park to get an eye full, the following Montreal fall foliage destinations listed below are particularly picturesque, if only for the variety of tree species they offer, a mix of shapes and colors you just can't find everywhere. Or even anywhere given that some of my top picks feature unique collections of rare tree species which don't naturally grow together outside of arboretums. 

    Add to that the fact that some of these locations are smack in the middle of Montreal's nightlife, spa and restaurant scene and you've got yourself the...MORE makings of the most worldly leaf-peeping experience you could possibly have in North America in the span of 24 hours.

    One morning, you're on a cobblestone road overlooking water lined by technicolor trees, eating the perfect sandwich en route to the closest museum or gothic cathedral. By afternoon, you're in galoshes walking through the woods practicing your French. Come evening, you're dining on steak tartare followed by a local ice wine digestif.

    See Also: When Harvest Hits, These Montreal Public Markets Split at the Seams

    One last thing. Don't forget to check the Quebec Fall Foliage Report for details on the best time and location to catch fall colors in full bloom across the province of Quebec. It varies every year.

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  • 02 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Mount Royal Park

    Montreal foliage
    ••• It's that beautiful up there. Honest. Yves Marcoux / Getty Images

    Mount Royal Park? A no-brainer come fall in Montreal. Now don't get me wrong. Montreal's sort-of-mountain-plopped-in-the-middle-of-the-city is a no-brainer destination year-round, but if crisp leaves and colors are what you seek, Parc du Mont-Royal has it in every direction.

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  • 03 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Mount Royal Cemetery

    Montreal fall foliage colors are incredible at the Mount Royal Cemetery.
    ••• Mount Royal Cemetery. It's a beautiful shot. But it doesn't do the cemetery full justice given the slew of exotic trees sprawled on the grounds. But it was the best photo I could secure without stealing random photos protected by copyright. RENAULT Philippe / Getty Images

    Adjacent to as well as part and parcel of Mount Royal Park, Mount Royal Cemetery might be home to the dead, but it's teeming with life, its macabre facade doubling as an arboretum of rare tree species which include Japanese lilacs, crab apple trees, Kentucky coffee trees, and chestnut trees. You might even spot a hawk or one of the other 145 migrating birds that populate the area. It's simply one of the most beautiful places in Montreal, on par with the awe the tallest point of the city inspires.

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  • 04 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Montreal Botanical Garden

    Montreal fall foliage colors are best viewed at these amazing destinations, like at the Botanical Garden.
    ••• The sheer variety of trees at the Montreal Botanical Garden is reason enough to cough up admission for an afternoon stroll. Ellen Rooney / Getty Images

    Unfortunately, admission to these grounds isn't quite as free as my other recommendations but the Montreal Botanical Garden gives your buck a bang in the fall: its popular annual lanterns event coincides with Montreal's fall foliage season.

    The lanterns are best viewed at sundown –in my personal opinion, it's fun to compare and contrast what the handcrafted lanterns look like in daylight versus at night– so consider dropping by the Garden's arboretum in the late afternoon for a peaceful stroll before making your way to the main attraction in the Chinese garden.

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  • 05 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Bois-de-Liesse Park

    Best Montreal fall foliage destinations. Gorgeous colors are there for the gawking at Parc Bois-de-Liesse.
    ••• Bois-de-Liesse Park. RENAULT Philippe / Getty Images

    Close to 400 acres of old growth hardwood and silver birch forests surrounded by picturesque streams, don't be surprised if you run into a fox while meandering along Bois-de-Liesse Park's trails. This out-of-the-way park is one of Montreal's best-kept secrets.

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  • 06 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Morgan Arboretum

    Montreal fall foliage colors are particularly spectacular at Morgan Arboretum.
    ••• Leaf-peeping rule of thumb? The greater the variety of trees, the better the view. mricom / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    A forest reserve located on the western tip of the island of Montreal, Morgan Arboretum is home to 330 horticultural species, 40 of which are indigenous to Canada, all on protected land as part of McGill University's Macdonald Campus. 

    And the view come leaf-peeping season is everything you would want on an autumn's day excursion in the woods. The arboretum itself is used for teaching, research, and everyday public enjoyment with 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) of walking trails. Note that a modest admission fee is required to gain access to the grounds, proceeds necessary for preserving the arboretum.

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  • 07 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Old Port

    Montreal fall foliage colors are in full bloom at the Old Port come fall.
    ••• Nino H. Photography / Getty Images

    First time in Montreal? Get thee to Old Montreal or more specifically, the Old Port. The earlier in the day, the better. My favorite place in the entire city first thing in the morning –apart from here– is right here.

    It's magic.

    Fall foliage colors are in full bloom by the water by late September and early October. Just head for Marché Bonsecours and you'll get the lay of the land, catching a view of the waterfront and the Clock Tower.

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  • 08 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Parc Jean-Drapeau

    Montreal fall foliage colors are stunning at Parc Jean-Drapeau, especially in the Floralies Garden.
    ••• RENAULT Philippe / Getty Images

    Floralies Gardens' cotton ball treetops and weeping willows are a sight for sore eyes any season and as your humble expert, I feel it's my duty to send you on a walk through one of my favorite places in Montreal any chance I get. Quebec fall foliage season is just the latest excuse. The gardens and public art pepper the grounds of Parc Jean-Drapeau.

    Pro tip: while you're at Montreal's most eccentric park, consider visiting the Biosphere and Stewart Museum. Looking for some thrills? Then try the Six Flags theme park on location, or practice your blackjack at the Montreal Casino.

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  • 09 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Parc Angrignon

    Montreal fall foliage colors are lovely at Parc Angrignon.
    ••• Nicolas McComber / Getty Images

    Parc Angrignon is gorgeous. It's got waterfalls and streams and weeping willows and ponds and hidden paths lined by berries AND... it's conveniently located.

    No car required.

    Just hop on the Metro and get off at Angrignon, the last station on the western end of the Green Line which, by the way, is only a ten-minute subway ride from downtown Montreal, and boom, you're there. Within two minutes of exiting the station, you forget you're in a city altogether. At a gentle, exploratory pace, you could spend an afternoon walking to and fro.

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  • 10 of 10

    Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Bois de l'Île Bizard

    9 Montreal fall foliage destinations you have to see include Bois de l'Île Bizard.
    ••• Above: Bois de l'Île Bizard, a gorgeous park, beach and marsh on the western tip of the Island of Montreal. RENAULT Philippe / hemis.fr / Getty Images

    Best reached by car or by bicycle, Bois de l'Île Bizard is about as far removed from city centre as you can get while still remaining within city limits, on the northwestern island and Montreal borough Île Bizard.

    There's a beautiful eeriness to the marsh grounds, walkings its lengthy boardwalks and surrounding woods' isolated paths.