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I'm mulling whether to see fall foliage this year in Banff & Jasper, or Charlevoix.

Many comments allege that AB aren't swarming with maple trees that discharge the red foliage.

3. Re: Banff Best Time for Fall Color _ Leaves 11 years ago

Also, don't expect the cliche "Canadian" red leaves; maple trees are not hardy enough for Alberta weather. All our native trees turn yellow and gold, with the wild rose bushes adding an accent of red in the understory.

Banff and Jasper for Fall Colors

Yes, those who live in that region would have more expertise, but having trvalled through the BC mountains in fall, I don't recall extensive colour. As mentioned by SheiliDawn, I believe alpine forest does tend to be predominated by coniferous specious. Fall colour tends to be associated with maples (e.g. Sugar Maples) and to a lesser extend other deciduous trees such as Oaks, Aspens (poplars), birch. Maples are, I believe, more abundant in the mid-north eastern North American Forests. Regions known for fall colours include Northern New England (Appalachians), Quebec (Laurentians), Central/Northern Ontario (e.g. Haliburton Highlands, Algonquin Park), Nova Scotia (Cape Breton Highlands). Peak colour is variable depending on the weather patterns in any given year - I usually target somewhere between late September and mid October.

1. Re: Best time for fall colors? 9 years ago.

The change in colours for vegetation is a characteristic of a Deciduous Forest... and as much of Western Canada is a Coniferous Forest (Evergreens) then the transition is not found with as much impact as it is in Eastern Canada and the USA (it happens, just that the "show" isn't as significant due to the lack of "variety" in vegetation and Maple Trees).

The Yellows, Oranges and Red, that most folks think about... are primarily due to the Maple Trees, which actually grow primarily in a very small portion of New England (Massachusetts thru to NY State) and Canada's Maritime Provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

aroundtheworld2005. 8 years ago

I live in Banff National Park and my vacation this year is to Montreal,Tremblant, Quebec City and area at the last week of September, first week of October, specifically to see the fall colours. So that should give you an idea of how we lack the colours here. As stated we do get the yellow and sort of orange colours in some of our trees in the Kootenay areas, and mostly yellow from the Larches in my parts, it is nothing like the pictures I have seen of the foilage in the east. We have maples from my home area of the west coast of Canada, but they just don't compare.

But don't the three pictures beneath, allegedly taken in Banff, show red foliage?

Banff in The Fall

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Fall foliage in Vermilion lakes area at Banff national park

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Pocaterra Fall

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    That first photo with the snowy mountains in the background, and to a lesser extent the second one with the pond in the foreground, look like they have been enhanced by increasing the colour saturation. That means they look more colourful on the screen than they would in person. I recall a past question with a lot of discussion about this effect which you might find helpful: How can you enjoy nature, when it looks better in photographs than in person?. Jun 28, 2019 at 0:14
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    Btw yellow foliage is still impressive. Jun 28, 2019 at 2:56
  • I have seen something, but natural, like that in Finland. But the colours seem too photoshopped.
    – DumbCoder
    Jun 28, 2019 at 11:43
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    Note that the second picture is consistent with the first quote: some red & yellow in the understory, but not as much in the canopy. Jul 7, 2019 at 5:21

1 Answer 1

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The majority of Banff's forest is coniferous, and stays green year round. In autumn, a tiny portion of larch turns golden yellow, and a tiny portion of aspen turns yellow.

Red color usually comes from smaller shrubs and bushes, either at valley bottom or subalpine. Although they can turn red, they don't dominate the landscape, nor are they the typical maple out east.

Pine beetle damage to coniferous trees is turning them red, especially in Jasper National Park where the beetle was pervasive. But these aren't fall colors! They are dying trees!

In conclusion, there are fall colors in Banff. But it is usually yellow/gold from larch or aspen, which is what you're seeing in your third photo, but this yellow/gold has been saturated to border on orange/red. Your photos are super-saturated, to bring out more vivid colours in real life.

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