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Couple playing in the park with autumn leaves | Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang

5 Places to See Fantastic Fall Colours in BC

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Couple playing in the park with autumn leaves | Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang

Note: This story was originally published in January 2018. 

Fall’s brilliant paint box of hues makes a beautiful consolation prize to the end of summer. In fact, autumn holds its own as one of the best seasons to visit British Columbia, thanks to the dramatic scenery. Sure, you need to throw on a few extra layers for chilly nights, but by day, it’s often crisp, sunny afternoons and blue skies aplenty.

Here are five places where you can lift your palms to the sky and revel in falling leaves. It’s up to you whether you stay in the city or head out on the highway.

Stanley Park | @erikandersen

Vancouver

Easily accessible from downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is a convenient (and spectacular) spot to get your foliage fix. (There’s also Queen Elizabeth, and VanDusen Botanical Garden, and…) Neighbourhood jaunts offer no less; check out leafy cobblestones backed by brick buildings in Gastown or splashes of colour along the tree-lined streets in Kitsilano.

Here are even more places to see fall colours, all camera ready for the season.

The Butchart Gardens | Destination Greater Victoria

Victoria

Victoria is a great walking city, and you don’t have to go far to hit a park trail (Beacon Hill Park is a prime example). And there so many more locations to get your fall fix, like the lush expanse of The Butchart Gardens, Goldstream Provincial Park (the site of an annual chum salmon spawning run, which draws thousands of salmon—and visitors—every year), or along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, where you can walk or bike along the 55-kilometre (34-mile) former railway line that stretches through urban, rural, and wilderness scenery from Victoria to Sooke.

Here are some additional ways to Fall for Fall in Victoria.

Salmo-Troup Rail Trail, Nelson | Kari Medig

Nelson

The city of Nelson is pretty relaxed any time of year, and in the fall it’s quieter still. Listen—that’s the sound of the leaves floating to the ground. Cooler mornings and evenings also promote luxurious downtime over a coffee or dinner in the picturesque community.

Wilgress Lake, Greenwood | Allen Jones

Highway 3

Road trip! For fans of the open road, Highway 3 is particularly colourful this time of year.

This blog on the route from Calgary to Vancouver lays it all out; you don’t have to do the whole drive, though. Leafy destinations on Highway 3 include Fernie and Manning Park.

At Manning Park, be sure to drive up to the Cascades Lookout for a fiery view of the sub-alpine larches. (The park road to the lookout is open before the snow comes from late September to early October.) Farther east in Fernie, changing leaves put on a show mid-September through mid-October (to snap photos of golden larches, aim for mid-October to early November), all making a perfect backdrop for hiking, fly-fishing, rolling along the newly paved accessible path at Maiden Lake along the Elk River.

Near Crooked Lake Resort | @michaelbednarphotograph

Cariboo Region

This vast region features some drop-dead gorgeous drives for those in search of fall foliage. For example? Highway 24 in the South Cariboo, otherwise known as the Fishing Highway, which stretches from Little Fort to 100 Mile House. Or, take Highway 26 in the North Cariboo on the road from Quesnel to Barkerville.

Other colourful touring options include Highway 97. And that is just the beginning.