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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 mid-October.
Since we don’t like playing favourites (usually), here are eight places to enjoy autumn’s beauty, listed in order of distance from the centre of Vancouver.
Queen Elizabeth Park (5.7 kilometres, 3.5 miles)
Located in central Vancouver, 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.
Memorial West Park in Dunbar (8.8 kilometres, 5.5 miles)
Located in western Vancouver, this small park is a lesser visited green spaces in the city and also serves as a war memorial. It is quiet, far removed from the business of downtown and full of serene places overlooking coulourful gardens and trees.
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.
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 on the edge of the Okanagan Valley 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 two Okanagan Valley villages offers a glimpse of the beauty in the B.C. interior. 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 (285 kilometres, 177 miles)
There are two ways to get to Tofino. One involves a scenic 292-kilometre (181-mile) drive. The other is an equally stunning seaplane ride. This fishing town on the west side of Vancouver Island makes a nice day or overnight trip any time of year. During the fall, however, the colours are an added bonus. Don’t forget to snack on some oysters. Or better yet, check out the Clayoquot Oyster Festival. The colours may have changed by then, but it’s another worthy reason to check out this quintessentially West Coast town during the fall.