Autumn is arguably the most visually stunning season of the year in Nova Scotia. Whilst the leaves of many species turn yellow, the pigmentation of red oak, mountain ash, blueberry and huckleberry leaves, for example, turn red, whilst sugar and red maple leaves run the range from yellow to purple.
The key to finding great spots to take in the foliage is, of course, identifying places with a variety of trees and brush—and perhaps most importantly, places that offer perspective. In many cases, that means finding woods with an elevation or a body of water to fully appreciate the canopy. This colourful time of year doesn’t last long—mid-October is when foliage tends to be the most vibrant in Nova Scotia—so take advantage while you can.
Cabot Trail, Cape Breton
There are dozens of incredible hiking trails and lookoffs around every turn—even just driving the Cabot Trail means experiencing kaleidoscopic colour and scenery—but some of the best vistas can be found on foot.
The Acadian, Aspy, Cape Smokey and Franey trails are among the most jaw-dropping in terms of look offs to highland-covered canopy.
The ‘Cape George Scenic Drive’ also gets labelled the ‘mini Cabot Trail’ (after the ‘real’ Cabot Trail, one of the world’s great scenic drives); that’s going a bit far, but this is still a delightful and scenic little diversion.
Lovers of lighthouses, magnificent coastal scenery and hiking should include this detour (or side trip from Antigonish) in their itineraries.
Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park
Surrounded by a spectrum of vivid maple trees, explore this gorgeous river by foot or canoe. Several walking trails are located along different points of the river, including one with access to Mill Falls. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Jakes Landing to take in the scenery by water.
Although best known as the largest of the province’s few downhill-skiing destinations, Wentworth and the Wentworth Valley are popular year-round with lovers of the outdoors.
When the snow has gone, the hilly region is ideal for hiking – there is a network of over 25km of hiking trails all centred on the Wentworth Hostel and nearby Wentworth Provincial Park – and biking. In autumn, the high proportion of maple trees contributes to a fine display of colours.