Each September New Brunswick’s landscape goes into fall party mode. A riot of color celebrates the changing of the seasons, from mountain forests to river valleys to coastal seascapes.
If you’ve never experienced it, imagine Mother Nature taking all the reds, yellows, and oranges from a Crayola crayon box and going wild on the treetops... leaving a few evergreens to really make things pop.
Planning on doing some leaf-peeping this fall? It’s all about timing.
Late September and early October tend to showcase the best colours, but keep in mind that the timing varies by region. There’s a north/south variation, with the northern areas (Appalachian mountains, upper Saint John River valley, Miramichi region) producing colour one to two weeks before the south (Bay of Fundy, lower Saint John River valley, parts of the Acadian coast).
Colour’s also affected by variations in topography. Typically, softwoods grow in the valleys, mixed hardwood/softwood along mid-slope positions and hardwoods grow on the ridge tops. These are usually subtle differences, but come fall it makes for a veritable ice cream sundae of colour.
To understand how this explosion of colour actually happens, let’s put on our science hats for a sec...
New Brunswick is predominantly positioned in the Acadian Forest Region, which fosters a blend of boreal (predominantly softwood) and deciduous (predominantly hardwood) forests. Together these make for one heck of a show.
During the growing season, chlorophyll is continually being produced and synthesized, which causes the leaves to remain green. As summer turns to fall, night length increases, which causes chlorophyll production to slow down and eventually stop altogether. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf are then unmasked... and voilà! There’s your colour.
Want to see some serious fall foliage? Follow these 5 scenic drives.
🍂 Appalachian Mountain Region
Colors will start to form in the mountainous Appalachian region earliest, around the second week of September. Peak colour’s also going to hit here first - usually around the last week of September. Get fall road trip tips for the Appalachian Range Route
🍂 Saint John River Valley
The brightest colours will emerge on the upper portion of the Saint John River valley not long after the Appalachian region. Peak colours typically occur around the first weekend of October. The southern river valley - closer to the Bay of Fundy - is going to peak a bit later, around a week or so. Get fall road trip tips for the River Valley Scenic Drive
🍂 Miramichi River Region
Similar to the upper Saint John River valley, colours begin to emerge in mid-September, with the brightest colours typically hitting early October. Note that the closer you get to the coast, the later the colours will peak. Get fall road trip tips for the Miramichi River Route
🍂 Acadian Coast
This region offers a unique fall colour experience due to the blanket of peat bogs on Miscou Island. Their scarlet colour emerges early to mid-October and lasts through the month. The seagrasses and coastal flora on the rest of the drive will begin to turn golden in late September, getting continually darker into the fall. Get fall road trip tips for the Acadian Coastal Drive
🍂 Bay of Fundy Region
Pulling up the rear on fall colour is the Bay of Fundy region. It’s going to start to show colour latest - peaking around Thanksgiving weekend - but it makes up for the late arrival with a gorgous rainbow of colour along the coast. Get fall road trip tips for the Fundy Coastal Drive
Make sure to check the Leaf-Peeping Map before your trip. Beginning September, weekly updates will point you to where you can find the best fall color around the province. You can also follow fall foliage updates on Twitter and share your own fall photos by tagging them #ExploreNB on Instagram.