Frosty mornings, warm afternoons, crunchy leaves, apple cider — the list of things to love about autumn in Canada goes on and on. Of course, you never know when an October snowfall will cut short your fall frolicking, so gather up your wool socks and cosiest sweaters and savour the season with a getaway to one of these five luxe lodges or picture-perfect resorts.
Elk Ridge Resort
Prince Albert National Park, Sask.
Located just outside the eastern gate of Prince Albert National Park, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Saskatoon, the log cabin-inspired Elk Ridge Resort offers easy access to the picturesque lakeside town of Waskesiu and a range of scenic hiking trails within the park. Walk in the golden glow of towering aspen trees as you listen for elk calls on the Boundary Bog or Fisher Trails; then, when you’re ready to warm up, head back to the resort for a locally-inspired dinner at Fireside. We recommend the pan-seared pickerel, sourced from nearby La Ronge, and, for a hearty morning start, the huevos rancheros piled high with corn tortillas, avocado, goats cheese, refried beans and pico de gallo.
Blue Mountain Resort
It’s well-known as a ski resort, but arguably the best time to visit Blue Mountain is in fall. The crowds are thinner, the temperature is comfortable and the trees on the surrounding Niagara Escarpment are in their full autumn awesomeness. Then there are the off-season attractions: the open-air gondola; the mountain biking, hiking and off-road Segway trails; the treetop walk; the ziplining; the golfing; and the ridiculously fun, gravity-powered Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster. Plus, there’s unique shopping and top-notch restaurants, spas and accommodations.
Dalton Trail Lodge
Haines Junction, Yukon
When the Ruf family immigrated from Switzerland to the Yukon in 1987, they dreamed of owning a world-class fishing lodge that would attract avid anglers and visitors from all over the globe. Dalton Trail Lodge is the realization of that vision: a rustic yet cosy accommodation nestled between some of Canada’s tallest mountains on the shores of Dezadeash Lake, bordering the wilderness of Kluane National Park. While the lodge may not be the pinnacle of luxury, the adventure packages it offers are perfect for outdoor thrill-seekers — think grizzly-watching in the Alsek Valley, hiking old mining roads through thick spruce forests and, of course, the main draw, spending your days fishing for lake trout, pike, Arctic grayling, whitefish and burbot.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
Great Bear Rainforest, B.C.
Deep within a maze of ocean inlets, surrounded by thousands of square kilometres of the wildest old growth, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort might be one of the Great Bear Rainforest’s most surreal spots. The only way to reach this luxury retreat is by float plane or helicopter, but it’s worth any number of connecting flights. All nine cabins (six in the intertidal zone, three in the forest beside a stream) come stacked with Belgian-linen bedding, local B.C. wines and life-affirming views. You can fill your days with Pacific salmon fishing, whale and bear watching, heli-hiking and glacier trekking, paddle boarding and kayaking, yoga, massages and gourmet coastal cuisine — or, if you prefer, simply wrap yourself in the ancient silence of the forest and lose all track of time. Evenings often end around a fire on the resort’s vast floating dock, hot chocolate or wine (or both) in hand.
Trout Point Lodge
East Kemptville, N.S.
This high-end lodge is a luxurious escape in southwestern Nova Scotia’s unspoiled wilderness. Situated at the edge of a UNESCO-certified night sky preserve, the sprawling Trout Point Lodge includes an eight-room main lodge, two guest houses, a spa, scenic hiking trails and, naturally, some of the best stargazing in North America. Start with a stroll along the bubbling Tusket River, then sink neck-deep into a wood-fired hot tub before tucking into a five-star, elegantly-plated dinner showcasing local ingredients and recipes, such as freshly-caught mussels in a white wine foam, parsley soup topped with local trout and a brown butter cream and fall-off-the-bone short ribs from nearby Richmond Highland Farms.