The Best Places to See Fall Colors in Vancouver

Vancouver harbor

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Despite British Columbia's general reputation for being "evergreen," Vancouver does indeed have fall foliage, which usually starts to appear in late September before falling from the trees in mid-November. There are many local spots to take in the fall colors, including Stanley Park and the gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Garden, but there are also plenty of nearby leafy destinations within driving distance of the city.

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Stanley Park

Red autumn leaf in wire mesh fence, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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Located right on the border of downtown Vancouver and mostly surrounded by the waters of the Burrard Inlet and English Bay, Stanley Park offers some of the most dramatic fall foliage in the city. Leaves of rich purple, red, bronze, and gold line the Stanley Park Seawall, which visitors can bike, rollerblade, or walk around while enjoying the rich foliage.

Founded in 1888 and covering 400 hectares of "natural West Coast rainforest," Stanley Park is Vancouver's oldest and largest park. While there, walk along 16 miles of walking trails through the forests to get the best views of the changing colors up close. Also be sure to stop by one (or several) of the monuments and attractions in the park such as the Stanley Park Totem Poles, Vancouver Aquarium, or the Lost Lagoon Nature House.

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VanDusen Botanical Garden

Fall foliage at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, BC

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The VanDusen Botanical Garden is an oasis inside the city complete with perfectly-manicured gardens, winding pathways, and lily pad-covered ponds. In the fall—especially in late October—heather, angelica trees, autumn crocus, asters, and hydrangeas bloom while the leaves on the trees across the grounds turn every shade of brilliant red, gold, and orange.

Located just 15 minutes by car south of downtown Vancouver, the VanDusen Botanical Garden is open daily (with hours that vary by month) and charges a small admission fee. The Garden also offers adult education courses, various art exhibits, family adventures, and seasonal events throughout the year.

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Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park - Vancouver, Canada.

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Located in the center of Vancouver at the city's highest point, Queen Elizabeth Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, especially during the height of the fall foliage season. Climb to the top of the park and look across the downtown skyline, surrounding mountains, and the bright colors of the park's gardens and forests below.

Considered one of the best spots in the city for fall foliage, Queen Elizabeth Park is located about 15 minutes south of downtown Vancouver by train or car and is open for free to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year. Take in the foliage then stay to warm up inside the tropical Bloedel Floral Conservatory or take in the splendor of the park, along with a glass of wine, at the Seasons in the Park restaurant.

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Vancouver Streets and Neighborhoods

Wild orange fruit in the Okanagan Valley.

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Another free and easy way to see fall foliage in Vancouver is to simply take to the streets on your bike or in your car. Among many possibilities, you'll find crimson-leafed Persian ironwoods on the 500 block of Eighth Avenue, while golden-leafed katsura trees line the roadway at 6100 Brightwood Place, near the Fraserview Golf Club.

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05 of 08

University of British Columbia

Autumn Colours in Vancouver

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The campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver is surrounded by trees on three sides that turn to gold, orange, and red each fall. These bright autumnal colors complement the campus' scenic location nestled between the city, mountains, and the Pacific Ocean.

The Univerisity of British Columbia's Vancouver campus on the western tip of the Point Grey peninsula is a half hour's drive from downtown. Take a tour of the university's Nitobe Memorial Garden, which is full of fall color all season long, or schedule one of the entire campus to truly take in all the sights.

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Okanagan Valley

Okanagan Valley

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Known for its fruit orchards and wineries, the Okanagan Valley is also famous for its incredible fall foliage. If you can take the time for a drive into the countryside, this region of British Columbia is the perfect destination to take in the colors of autumn.

Centered around the city of Kelowna—which is about 389 kilometers (242 miles) northeast of Vancouver—the Okanagan Valley is covered in stunning lakes like Okanagan and Tuc-el-Nuit as well as provincial parks like Kalmalka Lake, Fintry, Wrinkly Face, and Skaha Bluffs. To see fall foliage, take a drive from Merritt to Ashcroft—or just head straight to Kelowna from Vancouver.

Be sure to take time to stop at the small towns throughout the region, which feature great local restaurants and boutiques full of handcrafted goods. While it may get a little cold later in the season, you can also camp in many of the parks in Okanagan Valley if you want to stay the night.

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Burnaby Mountain

Burnaby Mountain

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Located just 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of Vancouver at the border of the city of Burnaby, Burnaby Mountain is a great destination for taking in breathtaking views of the lower mainland's dense deciduous forests. Burnaby Mountain is also home to the Simon Fraser University, the Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, and the Horizons Restaurant, which overlooks the bright foliage of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area and Centennial Rose Garden.

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Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs

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Located just 132 kilometers (82 miles) east of Vancouver on the southern end of Harrison Lake in British Columbia, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs is a great place for a day-trip in the fall, especially in mid-October when the leaves change colors and reflect off the clear waters of the lake.

Get pampered at the Harrison Lakeview Resort, Harrison Spa, or the Harrison Hotsprings Resort and Spa, or spend the night in style at the Bramblebank Cottages, Bungalow Motel-Cascade Adventures, or Harrison Lake Hotel. When you want to go out, take a walk around the Harrison Lagoon or hike out to Sandy Cove Beach and Whippoorwill Point. For an added adventure amongst the fall foliage, try to find the three Sasquatch statues around Harrison Hot Springs.

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