Soak in the season and explore some of our favourite Ottawa Instagram hot spots this fall.
Hog’s Back Falls
Ottawa has its fair share of cool waterfalls and among the best is Hog’s Back Falls. Located smack dab in the middle of the city, only a short walk from Mooney’s Bay Beach and Carleton University, Hog’s Back Falls is a great place for a fall afternoon outing. Be sure to walk along the paths on both sides of the falls as they both offer different vantage points and head down the path on the west side to the rocky area at the bottom for a unique perspective.
TIP: If you love to bike, Hog’s Back Falls can be reached by both the Rideau Canal pathway and the multi-use pathway along the Rideau River.
A top spot to visit in the summer months, Gatineau Park is even more spectacular in the fall when the forest bursts with colour. Only a 15 minutes drive from downtown Ottawa, there are endless photo ops awaiting you in this 361 square kilometer park. Take a scenic drive, explore waterfalls deep in the forest, hike to scenic lookouts or take the path less travelled and adventure to abandoned ruins.
TIP: If you’re visiting with your family, be sure to check out free family programming on weekends during Fall Rhapsody September 30 – October 22 and new FREE shuttle from the ByWard Market and Camp Fortune.
Slip on your comfy shoes, pack your camera and head into the Dominion Arboretum this fall. Only a short walk from Dow’s Lake Pavilion, the Arboretum is home to more than 2,000 varieties of trees and shrubs that make for some spectacular fall photos. Follow one of the many winding paths and spend an afternoon exploring.
TIP: Looking for a view of the Arboretum from the water? Rent a canoe or kayak from Dow’s Lake (open until Thanksgiving weekend) and paddle down the Rideau Canal for a different vantage point.
Mer Bleue Bog
An Instagram worthy boardwalk, unique wildlife and a picturesque landscape are only a few of the elements that draw people to the Mer Bleue Bog. Only a short drive out of the city, this 7,700-year-old bog, which has an ecosystem more reminiscent of the Arctic than the Ottawa Valley, is a great place to spend a fall afternoon. If you’re an avid photographer there are ample wildlife viewing opportunities including some rare bird species along the scenic 1.2 kilometers trail.
TIP: If you have a little extra drive time, skip the highway route and venture through Ottawa’s scenic countryside.
The ByWard Market is a bustling place during Harvest season and one of our favourite spots to photograph in the fall. From pumpkins and wheat bundles to fresh picked apples and hot cider, the Market is definitely the place to get into the fall spirit.
TIP: Stop by the Moulin de Provence bakery for delicious pumpkin themed cookies, specialty coffees, or decadent French pastries.
Major’s Hill Park
The views from Major’s Hill Park are stunning all year round but there’s nothing like seeing the park ablaze with autumn colours. Take a stroll with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and stop at one of the various lookout points for a postcard perfect pic of Parliament Hill.
TIP: Tavern on the Hill (one of Ottawa’s hottest new patios) stays open until Thanksgiving weekend. Stop in for a pint and a gourmet hot dog and soak up the view.
One of the most spectacular places to visit in a fall season is at Parc Omega, located about an hour drive from downtown Ottawa. Head out on a Canadian style self-drive safari and explore diverse habitats while getting up close and personal with some Canadian wildlife. From moose and bison to bears and wolves, visiting the park with a multihued backdrop is a classic fall experience you won’t want to miss.
TIP: If you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in the park experience, try one of their cool overnight accommodations in the forest including a wi-tent (a super fun heated tipi) or stay in a traditional log cabin. Overnight guests also get exclusive access to a boardwalk overlooking both the wolf and bear habitats.
Eagles Nest Lookout
Hiking is always a great way to enjoy the fall season, especially when it ends in lookouts like this! Located just outside city limits in Calabogie, this easy 1.5 kilometers hike leads up to an incredible lookout point atop a 120-metre cliff!
TIP: Head to nearby Calabogie resort to refuel after your hike or make a weekend of it and stay overnight. Eagles Nest is only one of many great hikes in the area, so stay a little longer and check out Manitou Mountain and the Skywalk Trail.
In nearby Morrisburg, Upper Canada Village puts on an incredible show every fall during Pumpkinferno. An Instagrammers dream, this 1 kilometer long path through the village showcases over 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins lit and arranged in impressive displays. Charge your camera batteries and empty your memory cards, this event is truly one of a kind!
TIP: Warm up midway though the path at the Harvest Barn Restaurant. Hot meals, cider and pumpkin pie are all available for a much awaited snack.