5 places to check out the colours of autumn in Niagara


Published October 4, 2023 at 3:31 pm

When autumn, many people’s favourite season, lands in Niagara Region, Mother Nature has a spectacular array of colours on her paint palette. The lush greens of summer give way to a vibrant living canvas filled with oranges, yellows, reds, and browns all across Niagara.

Here’s what we think are the top five spots to check out the autumn hues in Niagara. However, first, we’re going to rule out a couple of obvious ones.

First of all, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority says there are 36 conservation areas in the region. Given the spectacular amount of natural forest in each, they could easily dominate this list (or, in fact, be the entire list) and we’re looking for different locales, not similar ones.

Two obvious Niagara Falls tourist attractions – the Skylon Tower and the Niagara SkyWheel – are both excellent spots to see the foliage from above but we’re looking for locations that get people up close and personal with the changing colours. So here we go.

1: The Niagara Parkway itself! Construction of what is now the Niagara Parkway (formerly known as both Niagara Boulevard and Niagara Road) began in 1908 and was finally completed in 1931. If you want to get up close and personal with nature’s changing colours, this is the road to take. Running 55 kilometres from Fort Erie in the south and Niagara-on-the-Lake in the north, it passes several spectacles along the way – the Niagara River, Niagara Falls, and the Niagara Gorge before ending at either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario. It is possibly the most tree-lined drive in the province. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.”

2: The Whirlpool Aero Car (3850 Niagara Parkway). The Whirlpool Aero Car, originally designed in 1916 (and upgraded many times since then), is a cable car that carries 35 standing passengers over a section of the Niagara River, referred to as the Niagara Whirlpools, on a one-kilometre ride. The Aero Car is suspended between two Canadian points, though it crosses the Canadian and American borders four times on a full trip. It offers a spectacular view of the changing foliage on both sides of the river.

3: Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls. Just a short half-mile or 0.8-kilometre walk south from Table Rock Centre will bring you to 10 acres of secluded, pristine greenspace at Dufferin Islands. Winding paths and wooden footbridges connect small islands and offer a tranquil escape in the heart of Niagara Falls. Dufferin Islands are man-made and were named after Canadian Governor-General Lord Dufferin (1872 to 1878), who had been instrumental in establishing parkland along the river. The area is known as a photographer’s paradise during every season, but it is exceptionally beautiful to photograph in the Autumn.

4: The Rainbow Bridge. Yes, the very border-crossing bridge that connects Niagara Falls, New York to Niagara Falls, Ontario. Sure, you could drive across it for $4.75, but it’s only 50 cents to walk, skateboard, scooter or bike across it. That will give you plenty of time to take in the mixed reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall season on both sides. Completed in 1941,  the Rainbow Bridge is a structure internationally renowned for its architectural beauty and outstanding views.

5: The Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours (55 River Frontage Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake). We’re saving the last one for the thrill-seekers in the crowd. Your choice: you can get wet in the open-air boats or you can stay dry in the glass-covered boats. Either way, the high-octane jet boat ride lets riders experience the vibrant fall colours from the water. “The autumn landscape in Niagara is truly breathtaking,” says John Kinney, President of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. “We extend a warm invitation to all to savour this magnificent scenery while it graces us.” Along both riverbanks, lush forests burst into a riot of vivid reds, oranges and yellows, creating a picturesque tapestry in the late autumn months.

Here’s a quick 30-second view from the Whirlpool Aero Car!