Gatineau Park Foliage Tours
Ottawa is a visual treat in every season, but autumn is particularly replete with colorful delights. Across the Ottawa River, Gatineau Park explodes in cranberry, scarlet and tangerine tones. Though the 140-square-mile park is popular with cyclists and hikers, sometimes it’s nice to be a spectator, too. Relaxing foliage tours offer both a park overview and an opportunity to simply revel in nature’s flaming hues. In September and October, weekend foliage tours display Mother Nature, or as they say in Quebec, mére nature, up close in all her maternal glory. Three-hour tours depart from downtown Ottawa both Saturdays and Sundays.
The tours, offered by numerous operators, stop at several landmarks, including Pink Lake, a popular canoeing and kayaking destination. For
plain-old scenery, the Champlain Lookout, located atop the Canadian Shield, offers a great photo op. Perched more than 1,000 feet above ground, the lookout offers an unforgettable, sprawling view of the orange-dappled St. Lawrence Lowlands.
Castle-loving visitors are in luck, too. Foliage tours regularly include Kingsmere, the home of Canada’s 10th prime minister, Mackenzie King. Regal and ancestral in appearance, the massive stone estate looks more at home in an English novel than in a Canadian park. It’s worth a side trip simply to spend some time at this sprawling compound. In addition to several cottages of varying size and formal gardens, King even built faux “ruins” on the grounds, presumably to lend a patina of heritage. Aspiring royals can dreamily wander the well-manicured grounds before climbing back on the motor coach and returning to reality across the river.
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