Opinion: Why fall is the best time to take a hike in Vancouver

Sep 2 2017, 12:43 am

Most people think hiking season ends with the final days of summer. As kids return to school and vacationers head back to their jobs, Vancouver hiking trails are left deserted in a season when it’s finally their peak time to be explored.

Don’t let the changing leaves stop you from finishing up your hiking goals, now is the best time to FALL in love with the outdoors, here’s why.

No bugs…okay fewer bugs.

Gone are the days of bug nets and mosquito bitten legs. Dropping temperatures and shorter days are causing insects like mosquitos, black flys, wasps and bees to retreat to warmer hideaways for the year. While the bugs don’t enjoy the fall weather, humans certainly do, and without the pests, you can hike distraction free.

Cleaner air

Man hiking in the mist (frankie's/Shutterstock)

Man hiking in the mist (frankie’s/Shutterstock)

The plague of BC forest fires has (hopefully) almost ended. We’ll all breathe a sigh of relief when the smoke finally clears. For many Vancouverites, the last few weeks of hazy smoke-filled skies have meant no outdoor activities of any kind. As the fires lessen and the smoke gets blown or rained away the air will finally be clean enough to hike without fear of blowing your nose to discover a Kleenex full of sooty boogers.

As a bonus, bone dry dirt trails are transformed back into solid paths by the rain. No more loose dirt flying in your face every time the person in front of you takes a step.

Cooler temperatures

Hiker / Shutterstock

No one likes hiking in a 30-degree hellish inferno. Low 20s and high 10s are comfortable temperatures for walking and should last into October. You can wear your tee-shirt while you’re moving about and pack an additional layer for snack breaks and peak chill outs.

The chilly temperatures will also keep your sweat levels down making those post-hike dinners a much more presentable affair. No wet wipe car baths required!

Beat the crowds

This news may just be the most exciting part of this article. Wait for it…

The Joffre Lakes parking lot will finally have spots available.

Yes, that means you don’t have to wake up a 4 am to land yourself a parking spot, and you also don’t have to walk 5 km down the road to reach the trailhead. At long last, you can go on this hike and park close by too. Praise be unto the weather Gods for making this possible.

Fewer selfie-loving tourists


Want to take a picture of scenery without 1000 balking tourists in the photo, here’s your chance. The tour buses have stopped pouring in, and without them, far fewer selfie sticks and classroom sized hiking groups are loitering around viewpoints.

The snowline is as far up as it will get

Our stories may be singular, but our destination is shared. @arcteryxwhistler #mybcadventure

A post shared by Eric Wilson 🏔 (@eeedubs) on

For all the snow haters, this is your time to shine. Fear not, unless you hit a glacier there’s not a lick of snow around. Get all your peak bagging in quick, snowless trails make for easier approaches and drier, happier feet.

The one and half-ish month window starts now, get the most out of it and go for peaks like the Lions, Panorama Ridge, and Black Tusk which are at least somewhat obstructed by snow the rest of the year.

Less mud

hiking naked (By rdonar / Shutterstock)

Just as the sun has cleared the snow, it’s also dried up the soggy spots on trails. The result is less mud and a more enjoyable, gaitor-free hiking experience.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

Sam SchonewilleSam Schonewille

+ Health & Fitness
+ Great Outdoors