Top BC Towns to Visit in Fall

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Fall in love with these nine unique BC towns, where you’ll find plenty of autumnal delights—from alpine architecture to harvest-time hikes and farm-fresh feasts.

Nelson | Kari Medig

Nelson

Be charmed by Nelson where mountains of fall foliage embrace 350 heritage buildings along the shore of Kootenay Lake in the West Kootenays. Grab a cup of freshly roasted coffee at Oso Negro, a local institution and one of Nelson’s many excellent eating establishments (the town claims to have more restaurants per capita than Manhattan!)

Pick up seasonal supplies from Kootenay Co-Op or Cottonwood Community Market and join locals on a short, steep hike up Pulpit Rock for fall leaf peeping and views of golden larch trees. Soak tired muscles in nearby Ainsworth Hot Springs—head into the cave for a natural steam bath.

There’s fun to be had in all directions. Head northwest for a day trip through the Slocan Valley. Head east on a free ferry across Kootenay Lake, then drive south to the Creston Valley (an up-and-coming wine area). Head northeast to visit the historic town of Kaslo and enjoy a stroll along the Kaslo River Trail.

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Inland Lake Provincial Park | Andrew Strain

Powell River

For a coastal experience of fall, head to the Sunshine Coast community of Powell River.

Explore the arts and crafts-styled homes and heritage buildings in the nationally designated historic district of Townsite, including Townsite Brewing (try their wild-yeast brews) and Canada’s oldest-running movie theatre, the Patricia.

Enjoy a late-season hike along the Sunshine Coast Trail or paddle one of Powell River’s many lakes.

Experience Tla’amin culture at the Lund Resort at Klah ah men in the charming seaside community of Lund, only 30 minutes up the road.

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Powell River | Andrew Strain
Patricia Theatre | Andrew Strain
Vernon | @_jordanmcgrath

Vernon

Vernon’s proximity to both Canada’s largest salmon run in the Shuswap and the Okanagan harvest makes fall one of the best times to explore this North Okanagan community.

Take a bite at the annual Apple Harvest Festival at Vernon’s Davison Orchards or check out October’s month-long Vernon Fall Festival for wild mushroom foraging, winemakers’ dinners, family-friendly farm events and even pumpkin boat races.

Ride or hike the Okanagan Rail Trail, which connects Vernon to Kelowna along a lakeside route, or simply discover downtown’s vibrant murals.

Nature brings a splash of colour with fall foliage and the largest salmon run in BC in nearby Tsútswecw Provincial Park, home of the Adams River.

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Davison Orchards | Andrew Strain
Tsútswecw Provincial Park | @conor.mccracken
Smithers | Marty Clemens

Smithers

Northern BC’s picturesque Smithers is a favourite fall fishing destination, located in the Bulkley Valley at the base of Hudson Bay Mountain.

Smithers’ spectacular location is matched by its Bavarian-style buildings, which are home to coffee shops, breweries, and several German-style sausage shops. Wander down alpine-inspired Main Street and ask friendly locals (Smithereens) for their favourite places to eat.

Breathe in the crisp mountain air and take in fantastic fall foliage on a hike along the Bulkley River on the Perimeter Trail (be sure to make a stop at Bulkley Valley Farmers Market for supplies).

Cozy up in a rustic lodge and take a few days to experience the rich Indigenous culture and history in the region, including ‘Ksan Historical Village in Hazelton, the ancient Gitxsan village of Gitanmaax at the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers.

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'Ksan Historical Village | Andrew Strain
Bulkley Valley | Marty Clemens
108 Mile Lake | @plover.love

100 Mile House

Originally a fur trading station and stagecoach stop, 100 Mile House is the gateway to the Fishing Highway and Gold Rush Trail communities.

Here in the “Handcrafted Log Home Capital of North America,” you’ll find hundreds of small lakes surrounded by fall foliage and cute cabins (many with shoulder-season rates). Cozy up with a good book in a rustic fishing lodge and listen to the haunting call of the loons.

Drop by The Sugar Shack in nearby 70 Mile House for authentic poutine before exploring Canada’s largest log barn and other heritage buildings at the lakeside 108 Mile Ranch Historic Site.

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100 Mile House | Gold Rush Trail
108 Mile Ranch | Michael Bednar
Fort Langley National Historic Site | Jonny Bierman

Fort Langley

Fort Langley makes its home in the Fraser Valley, the largest agricultural region in BC–home of Canada’s largest cranberry harvest, a well-established wine and a burgeoning craft beer scene, as well as orchards and pumpkin patches.

Head to this historic riverfront village during Thanksgiving to experience the annual Fort Langley Cranberry Festival (try the local Tart Cranberry Ale by Trading Post Brewing). History buffs can learn more at the Fort Langley National Historic Site and Langley Centennial Museum or by cycling the historic Fort to Fort Trail.

Take a self-guided Circle Farm Tour road trip to discover the Fraser Valley’s hidden harvest gems. Then, deepen your understanding of the Fraser Valley’s Indigenous culture and history at the Stó:lō Nation‘s interpretive centre and gift shop in nearby Chilliwack, and embrace the culture of the “River People” who have lived in the valley since time immemorial.

 

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Fernie | Tourism Fernie

Fernie

Experience the Canadian Rockies without the crowds. Fall brings the first dusting of snow to historic Fernie, making this scenic mountain town even more magical. Enjoy late-season hikes, go river fishing, or take it easy with a tipple from Fernie Brewing Co, one of the stops on the Kootenay Rockies East Ale Trail.

For a day trip, journey through the Rocky Mountain Trench and relax in the region’s hot springs, or experience yesteryear at Fort Steele Heritage Town near Cranbrook.

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Duncan Farmers Market | Tourism Cowichan

Duncan

Duncan, on Vancouver Island’s eastern coast, is known as the City of Totems for having the world’s largest collection of publicly displayed totem poles, which can be seen on a self-guided tour. When in Duncan, pick up a cozy Cowichan sweater; these iconic designs have been a staple of the Coast Salish peoples since wool was introduced in the 19th century (goat hair and dog hair predated wool).

Duncan is also a great jumping off point to celebrate the harvest season in the Cowichan region. Come in November for Eat. Stay. Play. to embrace Cowichan’s harvest with longtable dinners, winemaker brunches, chef’s tasting menus, and exclusive hotel packages. Autumn is the perfect time to explore this fertile landscape dotted with farms, cideries, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and small seaside towns.

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Experiencing Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre | Okanagan (Syilx Nation)

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Osoyoos

Experience desert life in the autumn season at the southern end of the Okanagan in Osoyoos. Immerse yourself in local Indigenous culture at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, learn about the antelope-brush ecosystem at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, then leisurely tour the region’s many award-winning wineries and restaurants, including BC’s first Indigenous winery, Nk’Mip Cellars.

Osoyoos is also an excellent home base for exploring further afield. Venture to the nearby boutique wineries of the Similkameen Valley and walk it off with fall hikes in nearby Boundary Country. Or simply unplug and relax along this lakeside community to take in the beauty of the South Okanagan in autumn.

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Header image: Fernie | Tourism Fernie

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Top BC Towns to Visit in Fall

The top BC towns to visit this fall, mapped for your convenience.

POSTED BY: Amy Watkins

From: Vancouver
Amy Watkins, a British-born travel and food writer, fell in love with Vancouver at the age of 18. She has travelled the world, but her steadfast love of the West Coast led her to move here in 2012. In the UK she worked as a features editor and freelance writer for 10 years, writing about travel for magazines and newspapers. She now writes about travel, food, and West Coast life for a variety of publications. When she’s not on her laptop, she can be found exploring Stanley Park or hiking in the rainforest with her bulldog, Rick James; tackling waves and tacos in Tofino; or eating her way around the province on a food-focused road trip. Amy has even been persuaded to eat kale chips and practise yoga—making her an honorary Vancouverite.

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