10 Reasons to Take a Canadian Road Trip with Fairmont this Fall
Crisp days, vibrant displays of colourful leaves and quiet highways make fall the perfect time to set out on a Canadian road trip. Whether you’re hopping between cities or embarking on a mountain adventure, Fairmont has you covered.
Plus, make your road trip even more enjoyable with an exclusive offer for CAA Members: Enjoy 15% off daily rates at participating Fairmont Hotels & Resorts all fall long!
1) Stroll among vivid hues of foliage in Toronto. You don’t have to travel far beyond downtown’s skyscrapers to feel the crunch of freshly fallen leaves beneath your boots. Come October, the city’s parks are ablaze with colour as maple and birch trees create a striking show of crimson, amber and gold. Favourite spots for Torontonians include the Don Valley ravine system and High Park, where leafy paths wind past Grenadier Pond, a feeding spot for northern shoveler ducks before their winter migration south. Make your overnight stop at Fairmont Royal York, where you can slumber in Art Deco-inspired Fairmont Gold suites and relax in the sleek, new Gold Lounge on the 18th floor.
2) Stock up on jam and sauce at Upper Canada Cranberries. A short half-hour drive south of downtown Ottawa, this cranberry bog is awash with floating fruit in fall. Grab your camera as you catch the astonishing sight of brilliant red berries flooding the fields, then load your trunk with fresh, dried and frozen fruit, plus delicious juices. The farm, which is open to visitors mid-September through mid-November, also sells its products at the city’s historic ByWard Market. The lively market is just steps from Fairmont Château Laurier, which towers grandly over the Rideau Canal.
3) Sip and snack your way along the Chemin du Terroir. This 226-kilometre signposted route in Quebec showcases the Laurentians’ rich heritage and abundant agricultural produce. You can check out the 18th century Moulin Légaré, a water-powered mill, or learn about local history at the Musée Régional d’Argenteuil. Along the trail, you’ll find a multitude of foodie stops, wineries and cider houses, plus pick-your-own apple and pumpkin places. The trail begins in Saint-Eustache, just northwest of Montreal. Make the landmark Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth your home base. Stylishly renovated rooms, like the Fairmont View Rooms, have bold splashes of colour and sleek, mid-century modern touches.
4) Kick off a Canadian road trip in the Kananaskis Valley of Alberta. One of the best ways to explore the spectacular landscape west of Calgary is on horseback. Boundary Ranch offers a wide range of trail rides for all levels, including the Ridge Ride n’ Steak Lunch, where you’ll saunter along high mountain crests before digging into a cowboy BBQ of steak, baked potato and ranch-baked pie. From here it’s a half-hour drive to Arethusa Cirque, where an easy hike leads you to a dramatic alpine meadow renowned for its larch trees with needles that turn yellow in fall. After a day of adventure, retreat to a suite at the historic Fairmont Palliser in downtown Calgary.
5) Soar over the Rockies by helicopter. Alpine Helicopters runs exhilarating trips to jaw-dropping sights such as Mount Assiniboine, a pyramidal peak nicknamed the “Matterhorn of the Rockies.” Until late September, you can also join heli-hiking tours, zooming high into the mountains for tranquil, crowd-free trekking with panoramic views. Top off your day with hand-crafted cocktails in the chic Rundle Bar at Fairmont Banff Springs.
6) Hike to the historic Lake Agnes Tea House. The quaint log cabin, rebuilt in 1981 and preserving its original windows and furniture, has been dishing up tea, soup and sandwiches to hikers and walkers since 1905. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s accredited mountain adventure guides can lead you up the 3.7-kilometre forested trail to the lofty tea house, which stays open through Thanksgiving. The mountain route takes in emerald-hued Mirror Lake, mighty peaks such as Mount Aberdeen and its vast glacier. Listen for tiny pikas and whistling marmots as you go. Back at the hotel, tuck into a robust meal of bratwurst and onion soup at the Alpine-style pub, Walliser Stube.
7) Stargaze in Jasper National Park. Your Canadian road trip should include a side trip north from Lake Louise. Driving along the Icefields Parkway, this extraordinary scenic drive is lined with hulking glaciers, precipitous mountains and dense coniferous forest. Keep an eye out for elk and bighorn sheep wandering on the side of the highway. The national park has been designated a Dark-Sky Preserve, thanks to its lack of light pollution, and hosts a Dark Sky Festival from October 15-24, 2021. Events include star sessions at the top of the Jasper Skytram, open-air symphony concerts and photo workshops. Catch constellations from the deck of your signature cabin at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
8) Track down eye-catching art in Whistler. Cool days, changing colours and the anticipation of the first snowfall make autumn an exciting time to explore BC’s largest mountain resort. As you stroll through Whistler Village and beyond, look for public art pieces, including “A Timeless Circle,” a bronze sculpture showing faces artist Susan Point encountered during the 2010 Olympics. At the southern end of town, a short hiking path leads to the Train Wreck, where derailed cars from the 1950s have been daubed with a kaleidoscopic display of graffiti. Fairmont Chateau Whistler puts you at the heart of all this and more for your fall road trip.
9) Take the Britannia Mine Museum underground tour. Once the largest copper mine in the British Empire, this National Historic Site on the Sea-to-Sky Highway is located about halfway between Whistler and Vancouver. After donning a hard hat, the tour begins with a train ride into the mine’s depths before delivering an immersive, live-action experience. Photos and artifacts chronicle the story of the isolated community that once lived here. You can also try your luck at panning for gold. A glorious, 45-minute drive along Howe Sound fjord leads to Fairmont Pacific Rim, where you can unwind with a cocktail and live music or al fresco dining at Oakridge at Pacific Rim Patio.
10) See the salmon run at Goldstream Provincial Park. Soaring Douglas firs and western red cedars dominate this lush spot on southern Vancouver Island. From mid-October through early December, thousands of spawning chum salmon return, jostling against one another as they leap upriver, while hungry bald eagles swoop overhead. The trails pass right by the stream, giving you incredible views. Be sure to arrive early before parking spaces fill up and avoid wearing bright colours which can distract the salmon. The park is less than 30 minutes from Fairmont Empress, an Edwardian-era château overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
All set to book your Fairmont fall road trip? Take advantage of the CAA offer and click here to receive 15% off your stay at participating Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.