7 Gorgeous Vancouver Hikes for Fall Colours

Hiking amongst larches at Frosty Mountain in Manning Provincial Park

Hiking at Frosty Mountain in Manning Provincial Park. Photo credit: HappiestOutdoors.ca

Have you heard the Albert Camus quote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”? Despite the chilly weather, fall is a great time to hike to experience the explosion of colour that this ‘second spring’ brings. Here are seven gorgeous Vancouver area hikes for fall colours.

Safety First: Just because these hikes are close to Vancouver doesn’t mean you aren’t going to the wilderness. North Shore Rescue recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Remember that it gets dark sooner at this time of year. Start your hike early and pack a flashlight just in case. Don’t forget to leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.


Maplewood Flats Conservation Area

This little woodland is tucked away along North Vancouver’s shoreline near the Second Narrows Bridge. The Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia manages the area, and it’s a great spot for bird watching. A network of short and flat trails winds through stands of deciduous trees including maples and alders, that turn bright orange and red in the fall. Bring the Wild Bird Trust’s brochure to take a self-guided interpretive hike.

Trail Stats: Easy / Flat / 2km loop / 1 hour.


Pacific Spirit Regional Park

This huge wooded park on Vancouver’s west side has over 55km of trails to explore. Many of them wander through evergreen forest, but if you hike the trails on the north side of the park, you’ll be treated to some beautiful fall colours. Autumn favourites include the Admiralty and Canyon trails near Spanish Banks, and the Salish, Spanish and Vine Maple trails near the golf course. It can get confusing in there, so bring a map to avoid getting lost.

Trail Stats: Easy / Flat / Choose Your Own Distance.


Velodrome Trail, Burnaby Mountain

This short and steep hike is sometimes referred to as the Burnaby Grind. It climbs over 500 stairs to the top of Burnaby Mountain. Along the way, it passes through a deciduous forest that lights up in red and gold each fall. Be sure to take some time for photos at the top as the trees near Horizons Restaurant are spectacular in autumn. Bring the City of Burnaby’s map to stay on track.

Trail Stats: Moderate / 240m elevation gain / 3km round trip / 1.5 hours.

Fall colours at Burnaby Mountain near Vancouver

Fall colours at the top of Burnaby Mountain. Photo credit: Ahmed Bukhamsin on Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0.

Mount Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park

The open summit of Mount Strachan is a great place to see the alpine meadows change colour. The blueberry bushes and grasses shift from green to orange to vibrant red. On the hike up you’ll pass through gorgeous rainforest and see a historic plane crash site. Read our Mount Strachan trail guide for a full hike description.

Trail Stats: Challenging / 550m elevation gain / 10.5km round trip / 5 hours.


Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park

The hike to Elfin Lakes is a Vancouver area classic, and fall is a great time to do it. The first few kilometres of trail stay in the forest, but once you reach the alpine, the views are spectacular. And in the fall, the colours are spectacular too. The meadows change from green to brilliant golds and reds. If the long hike to Elfin Lakes is too much, you can always end your hike at Red Heather Meadows around the 5km mark. The colours here are just as beautiful as what you’ll see higher up. Get more info on the BC Parks website.

Trail Stats: Challenging / 600m elevation gain / 22km round trip / 6-8 hours.

Alpine blueberry bushes changing colours. The best fall hikes near Vancouver.

Alpine blueberry bushes changing colours.


Elk Mountain, Chilliwack

The hike to the top of Elk Mountain in Chilliwack is a favourite for Fraser Valley hikers. It’s a steep climb through the forest to the top of a rolling alpine ridge. From the summit, there are great views of the valley below. Carpets of summer wildflowers give way to gorgeous fall colours at this time of year. 

Trail Stats: Challenging / 800m elevation gain / 7km round trip / 4 hours.


Frosty Mountain, Manning Provincial Park

The spectacular fall colours at Frosty Mountain in Manning Park are worth the drive. The mountain slopes are home to rare golden larch trees that change from green to gold in the fall. Larches are a coniferous tree with needles like a pine. But unlike pines, they aren’t green all year round. The needles change colour, then drop off each fall. The hike to the top of Frosty Mountain is pretty spectacular too since it’s the highest peak in Manning Park. Read the Frosty Mountain larches trail guide for more info.

Trail Stats: Challenging / 1150m elevation gain / 22km round trip / 7-9 hours.

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