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Enjoy Fall Colors to the Fullest at These Montreal Fall Foliage Hot Spots
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... 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.
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.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Mount Royal Park
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.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Mount Royal Cemetery
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.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Montreal Botanical Garden
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.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Bois-de-Liesse Park
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.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Morgan Arboretum
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.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Old Port
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.
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.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Parc Jean-Drapeau
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.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Parc Angrignon
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.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Montreal Fall Foliage Colors: Bois de l'Île Bizard
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.