The impending arrival of autumn brings a wave of peace over me- it has always been my favourite season of the year. The days are getting shorter, darker and cooler, all of which invoke the desire to embrace a more restorative energy in tune with nature. I find myself sleeping in a little longer, reading more, lighting candles in the evening, slowing down and turning my attention inwards.
During this brief pause between seasons, I have been looking back on some photos of autumns past on Vancouver Island as it is also the anniversary of my move to British Columbia. This coming year will be my fourth autumn spent living on the west coast, and it is rooted in so many positive memories and experiences for me.
Fall on Vancouver Island encompasses the return of waterfall season, cozy cabin stays and campfires, blazing sunrises, fragrant walks in the rainforest, colourful mountain hikes, the most magical moody fog, peaceful and quiet beaches- loveliness everywhere. Some of my most treasured areas to enjoy this upcoming season are displayed below. Let me know if any of these places would make your travel wish-list!
Strathcona Provincial Park
This huge, mountainous park in the center of Vancouver Island is a hiker’s paradise, made all the more stunning when carpeted in fall’s finest colour palette. The abundance of waterfalls in the area are also roaring with power at this time of year. My top recommended Strathcona hike in the fall season is aptly named Paradise Meadows (featured in the boardwalk photos below).
Northern Vancouver Island
I first visited this region last autumn and it captured a piece of my heart. The moody, misty, remote and pristine wilderness absolutely shines here in the cooler months. The charm of the small northern towns reveals itself to you through slow and mindful exploration, in alignment with the changing season. A must-see is Telegraph Cove, a picturesque and cozy boardwalk community tucked away in a quiet bay.
Central Vancouver Island
From fairy-door forests at Neck Point Park in Nanaimo to ancient old growth rainforest in Cathedral Grove, suspension bridge trails, waterfalls and glorious autumn sunrises at Qualicum Beach, there is so much beauty to take in throughout this vast region of the island.
By far, this is the area of the island where I spend the most time in the fall season. The beaches along southern Vancouver Island’s west coast provide the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience; the atmosphere during rainy season simply must be experienced by any visitor or resident. The mossy forests are alive with vibrancy, the sea air is fresh and revitalizing and the beaches are calm, moody and ethereal. I will dive deeper into the beaches of this region in a future blog post, as each is unique and worthy of further description.
Goldstream Provincial Park
This park just outside the city of Victoria (British Columbia’s capital) has incredible old growth forest, waterfall hikes and striking autumn colours. You can witness the annual salmon run in the Goldstream River starting mid-late October which also involves substantial congregations of bald eagles that come to feed during this time- an unforgettable sight.
This unassuming coastal community is full of wonders and hidden gems that provide comfort and solace throughout the fall months. I hike often in this region when I am in need of solitude as there are so many quiet spots to take in the views of the Salish Sea. Gorgeous Bilston Creek Farm (pictured directly below) is a highlight of this area and the perfect place to spend an autumn Sunday afternoon.
This castle and the gardens surrounding it is a fall haven in the greater Victoria area. The colours start to change here in late September and frame the castle in stunning vistas. Charlie’s Trail on the castle grounds is a local treasure- along the way you will pass numerous wooden bridges, rushing waterfalls of stunning variety and lovely pops of yellow and burnt orange leaves decorating the path.
The Parks of Victoria
There are too many parks to list in the Victoria area in which to take in the beauty of fall. It makes me beam to reflect on the many outdoor memories I have made since moving to this city, especially in celebrating the return of the cooler months. From beach campfires to radiant trails and coastal views, an autumn on Vancouver Island is a season well spent.
Do you have a favourite park or city in which to take in the beauty of the fall season?