a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Sep, 2010

Watching the fall leaves fall in Ottawa

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

I think everyone probably agrees that the best time to catch the peak of fall is between now and mid-October. What I didn’t realize was the Ontario Parks website has a really great feature… you can practically track the best time to catch the best fall colours here and around the province. Check it out. It’s super-detailed. Great for people like me. :)

The NCC calls it Fall Rhapsody, and they often have events to celebrate the season. Right now they are hosting an educational program for the whole family called “Follies of the Fall Forest” (click here for info in PDF format). Fall is a big event here in Ottawa!

I like to go to:

  • the Stony Swamp trails near Bell’s Corners (where these photos were taken), including the Jack Pine and Lime Kiln trails … which I wrote about for SavvyMom in ’07 and you can do some of this:

 Chickadee feet

  • Gatineau Park: the Champlain Lookout is a great place – where else?
  • the Arboretum (near Dow’s Lake and the Experimental Farm)
  • the Wakefield Steam train (I wrote about it here). We haven’t done a fall tour, but I bet it’s a great way to see the fall foliage.
  • Barrhaven! The old Nepean Quarry would be a nice place for a fall walk. Mud Lake in the west end of the city would be pretty too.
  • the Lusk caves ! What about Hog’s Back Falls? Less emphasis on trees but it’s so pretty there.
  • ETA: twitter peeps are chiming in to add Rideau Hall, Mackenzie King Estate, Voyageurs pathway in Gatineau, Ottawa River between Beacon Hill and Orleans …

So are so many places to catch a sight of the fall splendour. Whether you’re hiking or just driving, you certainly don’t need to go far.

Where do you go for the best views of autumn in the Ottawa area?

12 Responses to "Watching the fall leaves fall in Ottawa"

1 | Mr.G

September 29th, 2010 at 9:30 am


Gatineau Park was always my favorite, but as I live in kanata now I may take a look at some of the places you suggested.

Thanks! And great pics!

2 | Jen Hughes

September 29th, 2010 at 9:50 am


The grounds at Rideau Hall are great for this. It’s easy to get to, especially for families with no car access.

Kids can collect fallen leaves from trees planted by Princess Di and other famous people and foreign dignitaries. Once home, you can help them look up who the people are if you want to continue the learning opportunity!

And if nothing else, it’s such a pretty place. Lots of unique tree specimens. Pack a picnic!

3 | Shannon

September 29th, 2010 at 10:03 am


If you have kids who are older and can hike a fair distance up a mountain (or if you’re just with adults) I can’t recommend Luskville Falls/Water(fire)tower enough! It’s part of the Gatineau hills and has amazing views in the fall. In the spring, the water falls are gorgeous, with all the winter thaw. But the fall is my favorite. And a great workout as well. Bring a lunch and eat at the top at the water tower.

4 | Pam

September 29th, 2010 at 10:43 am


Awesome! I’m in the mood for the splendor of fall leaves. Great post with handy dandy tips! Thanks.

6 | Binki

September 29th, 2010 at 11:51 am


Good list. I might add that a Sunday drive or cycle in the country is a superb way to see brilliant beauty of fall. My favourite roads are south of Ottawa. The little winding road from Merrickville along the river is fantastic. Grab a less travelled (old / winding) road to Westport, Newboro, Chaffey’s Locks….all great drives. Gatineau Park is amazing but the traffic is getting to be a bit much. And I agree…the Lusk “grind” is a really great way to get some exercise, fresh air, and fantastic scenery. It’s our fave fall tradition.

7 | Boomergirl

September 29th, 2010 at 1:34 pm


Fond memories of Luskville Falls. We used to play Capture the Flag there.

Ontario Parks listed some great fall colour vantage points this year on its blog at

8 | Carly

September 29th, 2010 at 8:22 pm


Rockcliffe Park, off the Rockcliffe Parkway. There a huge maple tree just beyond the gazebo that is resplendent with colour every Fall!


9 | Know More Do More: exploring our neighbourhood >> a peek inside the fishbowl

October 4th, 2010 at 8:58 am


[…] been hankering to go somewhere ever since my post about great places to catch the fall foliage in Ottawa. Sunday became the perfect day for an outing. I wasn’t able to swing the picnic part of this […]

10 | Harold-ing a new season « Going Gloucester

October 4th, 2010 at 9:30 pm


[…] Oct Ever since I read Andrea’s blog post about all the neat places to go in Ottawa for phenomenal fall foliage, I’ve been thinking where I […]

11 | Ottawa’s Lime Kiln Trail - yet again >> a peek inside the fishbowl

October 13th, 2010 at 7:59 am


[…] Re: pretty places in Ottawa to experience the fall season. […]

12 | Your Sunday stroll: wild things at Mud Lake >> a peek inside the fishbowl

October 16th, 2010 at 9:46 am


[…] few days ago I wrote about Lime Kiln Trail as one of the pretty places in Ottawa to celebrate the fall season. The urban jungle known as Mud Lake happens to be a lot closer for thoes of us here in Westboro. […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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