Fall Rhapsody in the Capital

September 23, 2021

It is that time of year! The nights are getting cooler and each morning when I take the dogs for a walk there is a bit less green and more red, orange, and yellow popping through.

There are beautiful areas all around the Ottawa region to admire the fall colours- check them out below!


Yellow, orange and red leaves provide a stunning backdrop to already scenic views in the urban core of Gatineau and Ottawa.

From downtown, you can walk, bike or take public transit to parks, gardens, attractions and beautiful views of the shorelines. The area is loaded with architectural gems — and bustling with shops, cafés and restaurants which are sure to enhance your Fall Rhapsody experience. Stop for a bite to eat at the NCC Bistros or taverns (Tavern on the Hill and Tavern on the Falls), or in the historic ByWard Market.

Walking and cycling discovery routes in Ottawa-Gatineau

Walking and cycling on Confederation Boulevard

Touring urban parks


Canada’s Capital Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is a place for nature and for people. It is a vast, protected green space showcasing a mosaic of landscapes, including farms, forests, sand dunes, wetlands and natural trails. Enjoy a fall-themed picnic, take a family hike under colourful leaves or visit a local farm, and its proximity to residential areas makes it a choice destination this fall.


Hiking and walking

Canoeing and kayaking



Gatineau Park

A favourite among local residents and visitors — and for good reason — Gatineau Park often reaches visitor capacity in the fall. For a less crowded, and possibly more pleasant experience, head for Meech Creek Valley, Philippe Lake or Luskville Falls. The trails in these areas will lead you to lakes, lookouts and scenic covered bridges. On weekends, be sure to check out special Fall Rhapsody events organized in the Park.

If you really have your heart set on seeing the southern sector of the Park, plan on going during the week, or take the free NCC shuttle during the weekend, which stops at Pink Lake, the Mackenzie King Estate and Champlain Lookout.

During Fall Rhapsody, Gatineau Park parkways are open only for active users and the shuttle service every day until noon. Motor vehicles can access the parkways daily from noon until 30 minutes after sunset.

Hiking and walking


Canoeing and kayaking


Plan your visit

To make the most of your visit, be sure to plan your route, bring plenty of water and snacks, and dress according to the weather. Don’t forget to check on hours, access routes and fees before heading out. Keep your return time in mind, as the sun sets earlier in the fall.

Other tips

  • Maintain physical distancing practices during your visit, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask in the shuttle and where required.
  • Know and follow the rules specific to the location you’re visiting and the activity you’re practising.
  • Always carry a map, and be sure to share your itinerary. If you’re setting out alone in Gatineau Park or the Greenbelt, bring a cellphone, a whistle and a flashlight in case of emergency.
  • Leave no trace. If there are no waste receptacles nearby, take your trash back home with you, where you can dispose of it properly.

Other areas to discover

There are many more places to enjoy the fall colours around the Capital Region. Several suggestions can be found on the Ottawa Tourism and Outaouais Tourism websites. And here are some tourist routes that combine the outdoors with local flavours:

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