5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Travel in BC

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Every season has its appeal, yet many locals will tell you that fall is their favourite time to explore British Columbia. If you’re thinking about taking a trip this September, October, or November, here are five reasons why it’s the perfect time to explore BC.

Stanley Park, Vancouver | Nelson Mouellic

1. The Beauty of the Changing of the Season

With 10 mountain ranges and 14 distinct ecological zones, fall displays its beauty across British Columbia in both nuanced and dramatic ways.

There’s something special about the sight of fog rolling off the lakes through the golden vineyards of the Okanagan as you sample wines during the autumn harvest.

Witness the aspen changing colour through the rolling ranch lands of the Cariboo during a cozy fall getaway to a lakeside guest ranch.

Catch the first snowfall seen through evergreen rainforests on the peaks of distant mountains as you take in a breath of earthy autumn air during a late-season hike.

The visual spectacle of fall in BC is as diverse as the province’s geography.

Nakusp Farmers Market | Kari Medig

2. Unique Only-In-Fall Experiences

There are some things that can only be experienced in the autumn months.

Catch the golden larch in the alpine, the only conifer that behaves like a deciduous and turns yellow for a mere few weeks before shedding its needles.

Witness the ancient homecoming of salmon spawning in coastal streams and inland rivers, and deepen your understanding of its significance to Indigenous cultures.

See autumn wildlife in its natural habitat, such as the world’s largest gathering of bald eagles, or grizzly bears feasting before hibernation.

Embrace the harvest season at a wine festival event in the Okanagan or at the very farms where BC ingredients are grown and produced.

Discover BC’s ultimate fall experiences and gain a whole new perspective on the province.

Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park | Ted Hesser
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park | Kari Medig
The Columbia River near Trail and Rossland | Kari Medig

3. The Weather

Fall weather is perfect for getting cozy. Days are getting shorter after September 21, but there’s still plenty of light for sightseeing. Fall in BC is typically that perfect window between the summertime heat and the winter frost; not too hot, not too cold, just right.

Hiking can be done in the mountains until first snowfall, which usually falls on the tops of the tallest peaks as early as mid-September and up to late-October closer to the coast. The coastal rains usually don’t come on strong until later on in October, and even then, the days can also be delightfully sunny with cool crisp air, golden light, and beautiful midday warmth. While snow can fall in the high mountain passes, it does not usually stick around on the roads.

Nelson | Kari Medig
Purcell Mountains | Kari Medig
Whistler | Blake Jorgenson

4. Shoulder Season Prices

One perk for travelling in fall is the shoulder season discounts that are sometimes available.

You can often find accommodation deals, especially at BC’s ski resorts like Sun Peaks and Whistler, which have said goodbye to summer tourists and are awaiting the ski season to begin in late November.

BC Ferries Vacations also offer some incredible ferry and accommodation travel packages, and booking directly with them often provides a better deal than if you were to book it separately yourself.

Cranbrook | Kari Medig

5. Fewer Crowds

When the kids go back to school after the Labour Day long weekend and the cruise ships stop for the season, a portion of the crowds go with them.

Though visitors don’t disappear in September, you will certainly notice fewer crowds compared to summer and a slower pace in general (and even more so after our Thanksgiving long weekend in early October).

While some BC businesses close for the season after summer, many stay open year-round, though it’s always a good idea to double check opening hours first.

If you’re craving a trip where you can relax, throw aside the itinerary, and be a little bit more spontaneous with your plans, autumn can be the perfect window for that kind of travel experience in BC.

Header image: Rossland | Dave Heath

POSTED BY: Robyn Hanson

Robyn was raised along the Fraser River near the historic fishing village of Steveston. Surrounded by BC’s fishing heritage, rich ecosystems, and diverse Indigenous and settler cultures, it was here on Canada’s west coast where Robyn developed her love of nature, history, culture, and a deep sense of place.

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