Fall Colour Report
Image above: East Arm of Joe Lake in Algonquin Park on October 1, 2015 (click to enlarge).
Algonquin Park’s Sugar Maple canopy colour is at “peak”. Visitors coming to Algonquin Park this weekend and early next week will observe some of the season’s best maple colour, see below or Facebook for the latest images. The best maple canopy colour in Algonquin Park is in the western portions of the Park dominated by Sugar and Red Maple such as from the West Gate to km 26.
A relatively warm fall, with no occurrence of temperatures dipping to below freezing in Algonquin Park yet, have provided little incentive for leaves to speed up preparations for the onset of winter. This gradual colour change, uncommon in the past 10 years or more, is being recorded with trees of the same species changing colour at different rates. This asynchronous colour change is providing fall colour watchers with a variety of colours (green-yellow-orange-red-purple) in the same view, but not the traditional uniform intensity.
Predictions are that Algonquin Park's fall colours will be much better than average for Thanksgiving weekend (October 10 to 12, 2015). Traditionally, Thanksgiving weekend is near the end of the Algonquin Park's fall colour season, but this year with a delayed colour change maple colour (including the understory) and the increasing poplar and birch colour are expected to be the main attractions.
Birches and poplars are showing an increasing yellow-orange colour with each passing day. Tamaracks, the latest changing tree species occurring during mid to late October, are showing little or no colour change.
During the past 41 years in Algonquin Park, the peak Sugar Maple fall colour has ranged from as early as September 15 (1982) to as late as October 9 (1996). Many factors such as temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and daylight length all play factors in when the peak will occur and how long it will last. High winds, rain, or even snow can sometimes quickly result in fragile leaves being knocked off the trees increasing what is called "leaf fall". Check below for the current leaf fall percentage.
Below is the current status of Algonquin Park's fall colour change. Please check back throughout September and October 2015 for more detailed updates as conditions warrant.
|Current Status Category:||PEAK|
|Percentage of Colour Change:||90%|
|Percentage of Leaf Fall:||10%|
Algonquin Park Fall Colour Comparison 2015/2014
On September 29, 2014 Algonquin Park’s fall colour was listed as at “peak”. This year the Sugar Maple canopy colour is rated as “near peak” as of September 29, 2015. A direct comparison of this difference from one year to the next is observable in the image below or via the Algonquin Park Webcam and its “Archives” feature.
Please note that fall colour at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre (shown in the image below) traditionally peaks slightly later than the Sugar Maple fall colour in other areas of Algonquin Park.
The peak of Algonquin Park's Sugar Maple forests is traditionally expected during the last week of September or first week of October. An Algonquin Park visit between early and mid-October will observe the peak yellow-orange colours displayed by poplar and birch species. A mid to late October visit showcases Tamarack at their peak yellow colour before dropping their needles in preparation for winter. See below for more details.
Below are suggested places for viewing Algonquin Park's fall colour. These locations change according to the date and conditions observed within Algonquin Park.
- West Gate
- Whiskey Rapids Trail
- Tea Lake Dam Picnic Ground
- Hardwood Lookout Trail
- Canoe Lake & Smoke Lake
- Mizzy Lake Trail
- Peck Lake Trail
- Canisbay Campground
- Track and Tower Trail
Interpretive Walking Trails offer a great opportunity to experience Algonquin Park's fall colour. These day walking trails range in length from 800 metres to 11 kilometres in length. Trails that are suggested for fall walking include:
- Beaver Pond Trail
- Booth's Rock Trail
- Brent Crater Trail & Tower
- Centennial Ridges Trail
- Hardwood Lookout Trail
- Lookout Trail
- Track and Tower Trail
- See all Interpretive Walking Trails
The following side roads of Highway 60 offer great foliage viewing opportunities with lower speed traffic than Highway 60.
- Arowhon Road (at km 15.4)
- Source Lake Road (at km 20.0)
- Centennial Ridges Road (at km 37.6) - This road is best for early/mid-October viewing.
- Rock Lake Road (at km 40.3) - This road is best for early/mid-October viewing.
- Opeongo Road (at km 46.3) - This road is best for late season foliage viewing.
Traditionally, Algonquin Park's fall colour occurs earlier than surrounding areas because of the Park's higher elevation and shorter growing season. During the past 40+ years of detailed record keeping, the earliest autumn leaf colour peak recorded was September 15, 1982, and the latest was October 9, 1996. The average peak of the Sugar Maple canopy in the western portion of the Highway 60 Corridor is September 27. The precise peak fall colour for the Sugar Maple canopy in Algonquin Park for 2014 was determined to be September 26. In order to observe the Sugar Maple canopy colour a trip in mid September to early October is a wise idea. Learn more about the history of Algonquin Park's Sugar Maple colour peak.
Visitors coming to Algonquin Park in early to mid October (including Thanksgiving) are likely to catch the transition between the peak of the Sugar Maple colour and the onset of the peak yellow-orange colours displayed by poplar and birch species.
A mid to late October visit generally means the maples are well “past peak" or "bare", but the Tamarack, also know as Larch, are reaching their peak yellow colour before dropping their needles for the winter. The Tamarack is Algonquin Park's only cone bearing tree that changes colour and drops all its needles in preparation for winter. By late October or early November (depending upon environmental conditions) all deciduous trees are bare and prepared for winter.
Regardless of the exact date, Algonquin Park's Interpretive Trails are a good bet for viewing the fall colour. Trails offering lookouts with wide vistas are especially popular around the Sugar Maple peak and the later peak of poplar and birch species.
Below are recent images of Algonquin Park. Click to enlarge the images and see the captions for the image date and location. For live video see the Algonquin Park Webcam or The Friends of Algonquin Park's Facebook page for additional images.
Image above: Tea Lake (foreground) and Highway 60 in Algonquin Park on October 2, 2015.
Image above: Canoe Lake (right) in Algonquin Park on October 1, 2015.
Image above: Highway 60 near the West Gate in Algonquin Park on September 30, 2015.
Image above: Source Lake in Algonquin Park on September 28, 2015.
Image above: Near Park Lake in Algonquin Park on September 30, 2015.
Image above: Highway 60 at the Source Lake Road in Algonquin Park on September 28, 2015.
Image above: Highway 60 near the Track and Tower Trail in Algonquin Park on September 28, 2015.
Image above: Red Maples in Algonquin Park on September 28, 2015.
Image above: West Gate of Algonquin Park on September 25, 2015.
Image above: Near Whiskey Rapids Trail in Algonquin Park on September 25, 2015
Image above: Near Leaf Lake Ski Trail on September 21, 2015.
Image above: Red Maples in Algonquin Park on September 21, 2015.
Image above: Near km 53 of Highway 60 in Algonquin Park on September 21, 2015.
Image above: At Park Lake in Algonquin Park on September 21, 2015.
Algonquin Park's Fall Colour Visible from Space
Below is a satellite image taken near the peak of the Sugar Maple canopy showing the red/orange colour of the Sugar Maples and the boundary of Algonquin Park. Algonquin Park's West Side including the Highway 60 Corridor shows the most colour, while the White and Red Pine dominated East Side of Algonquin Park continues to show green needles that do not change colour. This satellite image was taken on October 1, 2012.
- Algonquin Park Webcam
- Images of Fall in Algonquin Park (Facebook)
- Submit your images of fall in Algonquin
Plan Your Visit
- Directions to Algonquin Park
- Fees and Permits
- Highway 60 Corridor
- Fall in Algonquin Park
- Plan Your Visit
- Events Calendar
- Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park