Best Fall Foliage Train Rides in Canada

Every September, Canada's maple leaves undergo a stunning transformation. They change from summer greens to the distinctive red, orange and gold of autumn.

VIA Rail train travels along scenic passage with vivid fall foliage and lake in the Canadian Rockies

In Canada's alpine areas, the golden-yellow leaves of the larches stand out against an eye-catching backdrop of blue lakes and rushing waterfalls. There's no better way to celebrate autumn's arrival than with a train tour through Canada. 

Canadian Train Vacations has experienced agents available to help you select the best fall foliage train tours based on your needs. Looking to take a relaxing ride through the Canadian Rockies or want to combine your train trip with an outdoor adventure? Our travel experts can make it happen. The advisors at Canadian Train Vacations are happy to answer your questions about fall colour train excursions. Let us help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

Canada Coast to Coast by Train 

Departing from Vancouver, the Canada Coast to Coast by Train tour is one of the longest train trips to see the fall colours—19 days and 18 nights. This itinerary features authentic local experiences and a little bit of everything Canada has to offer, from Niagara Falls to the Canadian Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Canada Coast to Coast starts at $9,980 USD per person and includes 4 nights aboard a sleeper train. 

Miles covered on train: 3,240 

Days on train: 5 

Nights on train: 4

Canada Eastern Rail Classic 

The Canada Eastern Rail Classic includes 8 days and 7 nights of travel and starts at $3,080 USD per person. You'll enjoy guided tours through Montreal and Quebec City, stops along the Nova Scotia coastline and the opportunity to view Quebec's countryside from the comfort of your train car. This tour even includes a visit to Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, a quaint village that towers over the Atlantic. 

Miles covered on train: 836 

Days on train: 2 

Nights on train: 1 

Canadian History and Culture by Rail 

For history buffs, the Canadian History and Culture by Rail tour includes 10 days and 9 nights of travel through some of Ontario's and Quebec's most historic sites. Starting at $3,980 USD per person, this itinerary includes stops in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and the Niagara region. Small-group sightseeing tours are also available, including some exciting activities designed just for foodies. 

Miles covered on train: 465 

Days on train: 3 

Nights on train: 0 

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Best Places to See Canada's Fall Foliage 

Nothing can match the fiery beauty of Canada's fall foliage. Warm, golden rays of sunshine shimmer on mirror-like lakes and slant through canopies of auburn, ochre and crimson leaves. The skies are bright and blue, the air is crisp and the sunsets are achingly beautiful. 

Whether you're traveling through the aspen alpine meadows of the Rockies, the dense forests of Quebec's interior or the craggy coastline of Nova Scotia, Canada will enchant you in the autumn months. When you take a train ride, fall foliage surrounds you, putting you in just the right frame of mind for an outdoor adventure followed by a relaxing evening in front of the fireplace.

Rocky Mountains 

As the needles of the larch trees turn a stunning shade of burnished brash, the alpine meadows of the Albertan Rockies come alive with colour. Gaze through the train windows at the pine-covered mountainsides, where you can see a dramatic contrast between the dark green conifers and the golden poplar and birch. 

Best time for fall colours: Late September to early October  

Recommended activities and tours: Ride the Banff Gondola to get a bird’s eye view of the golden larch trees in fall.

Rocky Mountaineer train passes through forest in the fall with Canadian Rockies in the background

Niagara Region 

History buffs may know the famous Winston Churchill quote calling the Niagara River Parkway the “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.” That is especially true in the fall of the year, when the trees in the Niagara region begin their seasonal transformation. Stunning shades of crimson, orange and gold can be seen when leaves are at peak colour. The area is also home to several wineries and orchards, making it an ideal fall getaway. 

Best time for fall colours: Peak colour can happen between late September and late October.  

Recommended activities and tours: Enjoy a personalized immersive experience on a private tour of the Niagara region.

River stream in Niagara Region in the fall

Algonquin Park 

If your Canada train journey begins or ends in Toronto, consider adding on a day trip to gorgeous nearby Algonquin Park. You can wander through dense colourful forests and view thousands of lakes and rivers, some of which can only be explored by canoe or on foot. This is also an ideal time of year for camping, as campgrounds are less crowded and you won't be bothered by bugs. 

Best time for fall colours: Peak colour can happen between late September and late October. 

Recommended activities and tours: Speak to your travel advisor about arranging a private tour to the park.

Fall foliage surrounds lake in Algonquin Park

Quebec 

The sugar maples of Quebec's forests turn a dramatic shade of crimson in autumn, making this region a treat for the eyes. The pretty countryside and the fiery foliage in the Laurentian Mountains will have you reaching for your camera again and again. 

Best time for fall colours: Peak colour can happen between late September and late October. 

Recommended activities and tours: Take a private tour to Montmorency Falls Park to see the waterfall surrounded by gorgeous trees in all the fall colours.

Laurentian Mountains reflect colourfully across lake during daytime

Nova Scotia

At the Eastern edge of Canada lies Nova Scotia, with the fruitful orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley and the sheer cliffs of the Cabot Trail. There's just something so striking about the contrast between the extravagant golden fall foliage and the cobalt blue of the Atlantic. 

Best time for fall colours: Early September to mid October.  

Recommended activities and tours: Explore Cape Breton on a private tour.

Vibrant forestry spreads across small village of Meat Cove

Best Time to See Fall Colours in Canada 

For the best fall foliage train rides, plan to take your excursion in late September or early October. This is when the red birch and maple trees are their most vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange. If you visit during late September or early October, you'll get to enjoy the contrast between the red, orange and yellow leaves and the green needles of Canada's evergreen trees. 

Between late September and early October is also an ideal time to take a train tour through Canada if you'd like to avoid summer crowds and enjoy milder weather. By this time of year, summer heat waves have been replaced by mild daytime temperatures and cool nights, making early fall an ideal time to try out new hiking trails, visit one of Canada's national parks or spend the day walking through your favourite city. 

In early fall, the weather conditions are ideal for boating, canoeing and fishing, making it even easier to add excursions to your fall foliage train trip. We'll take care of the planning so that all you have to think about is which activity you want to try first.

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You want to relax and enjoy your trip, not get overwhelmed by the planning. Let us make all of the bookings for you, including rail tickets, hotels, excursions and activities, meals and transfers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Canadians talk about fall colours, they are referring to the seasonal change of the leaves of certain deciduous trees from green to various shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown.

The best time to see fall colours in Canada is between late September and early October, when the maple and red birch leaves are their deepest shades of red, orange and gold.

Canada is filled with gorgeous fall foliage, but Algonquin Park, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the Rocky Mountains are some of the best places to see the autumn colours.

Canada Coast to Coast by Train is the most scenic fall train ride in Canada. The tour features cities, countryside and coastline, ensuring there's a little something for every traveller.

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