Sure, Eastern Canada gets all the credit when it comes to exploring the fall colours, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to venture beyond British Columbia to witness the trees and shrubbery turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Truthfully, you don’t even need to leave Vancouver to experience amazing fall foliage from mid-September to early-November.
Below are eight places to enjoy autumn’s beauty, listed in order of distance from the centre of Vancouver.
Stanley Park (3.6 kilometres, 2.2 miles)
If the question is about natural wonders, Stanley Park is always the answer. So yes, the trees and vegetation turn those awesome fall colours; and yes, Stanley Park is an incredibly beautiful place to view them, whether from the seawall or during a stroll through the interior of the massive green space.
Queen Elizabeth Park (5.7 kilometres, 3.5 miles)
Located in central Vancouver atop the city’s highest point, this 130-acre park has gorgeous gardens featuring both deciduous and evergreen trees. When the colors start changing, the juxtaposition of the evergreens, gardens and red/orange hues of the trees that are morphing into winter hibernation is simply breathtaking. Check out the outdoor arboretum for a diverse selection of trees to enjoy.
Van Dusen Botanical Gardens (6.4 kilometres, 4 miles)
Take the Laburnum Walk through Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, which features an eclectic mix of plant life that turns to crisp yellow throughout the fall. Also take a look at the ponds in the center of the park for a nice colour pairing of lily pads on the water and the surrounding plant life.
University of British Columbia (10 kilometres, 6.2 miles)
The leafy campus of the University of British Columbia is a great choice for leaf-peeping. Located at the far western end of the City of Vancouver, the grand old trees lining the Main Mall turn spectacular colours, but the on-site UBC Botanical Garden is also full of reds, orange and yellows during autumn.
Grouse Mountain (12.1 kilometres, 7.5 miles)
Although it’s filled with evergreen trees galore, Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver is still a sight to behold each autumn. The grasses on the open ski runs turn dozens of shades, as do the various shrubs and smaller trees, making this mountain an amazing place to hike during the fall. There are also myriad viewpoints of the city and surrounding mountains to enjoy.
Mt. Currie, Pemberton Valley (161 kilometres, 99 miles)
Driving through Pemberton Valley, north of Whistler, provides intense views of the mountains, valleys and rivers that cut through the wilderness. The gorgeous yellows that are present in the forests here are well worth a Sunday drive from the city.
From Merritt to Ashcroft (270 kilometres, 168 miles)
The 104-kilometre (65-mile) drive between these towns in the interior of British Columbia offers a glimpse of the autumnal beauty of the province. The colours, of course, will be photo worthy, and there are plenty of stops along the way. Take time to picnic by Logan Lake and check out the Highland Valley Copper Mine near Ashcroft.
Tofino, Vancouver Island (292 kilometres, 181 miles)
There are two ways to get to Tofino. One involves a scenic drive; the other is an equally stunning seaplane ride. This fishing town on the west side of Vancouver Island makes a nice overnight trip or weekend away any time of year. During the fall, however, the colours are an added bonus.