Autumn hikes in the Okanagan
Fall is here and to make sure you experience the autumn colours in the Okanagan, check out these fall hikes in and around Vernon. I would say fall is the most magical time of the year, who doesn't love all the colours changing not to mention the fresh cool breeze and that perfect temperature where it's not too hot or too cold?
Hiking Guide for Fall Hikes
1. Grey Canal-Turtle Mountain
Distance: 3.5km one way, 7km return
A scenic hike with views over Vernon and Swan Lake allows you to take in the changing of seasons as well as that view. Stroll past lava rocks, and pasture land, and relax on the few benches provided to soak it all in.
Parking: There are 2 parking lots at Turtle Mountain Boulevard (one at the trailhead and the other across the street) and a parking lot at Blue Jay Road.
2. Grey Canal-Bella Vista
Distance: 6.9km return
This is a wide, flat, multi-use trail that is perfect for all ages and levels. Enjoy one of the many benches/chairs scattered throughout this trail, overlooking the backyards of homes, vineyards, orchards, and of course Vernon. Strollers and wheelchairs are able to navigate the gravel path.
Parking: There are 3 parking lots: Vineyard Way (just up from Pinto Place, take the little trail down to start); Pinto Place (big enough for about 4 vehicles) and a big parking lot at Sierra Road, at the other end of the trail.
3. Grey Canal-Swan Lake East
Distance: 8.6km roundtrip
Swan Lake East offers either one long trail (8.6km return) or 3 shorter trails depending on how energetic you feel. You can start the trail from either end (if doing the whole trail) or park at one of the 4 parking lots (parking lots or roadside parking) and pick your trail length. Walk the most scenic section of the trail from Glenhayes Rd to McLennan Rd, in addition to walking along with the remnants of the old irrigation system.
Read More: Fall Hiking Guide: Hyde Mountain Lookout
4. Okanagan Rail Trail
Distance: 52 km one-way
Before you gasp about the distance, this trail runs all the way from Vernon to Kelowna, however, you do not need to complete the whole hike to experience all the fall colours. Start in Coldstream and hike to either the 4 or 5 km (8-10km return) mark to get those autumn colours in.
Parking: There are a few places to park. Either park at the Kal Beach parking lot on Husband Road or park on the side of the road at the intersection of Westkal Rd and Kickwillie Loop. Note: there are only bathrooms at the start of the trail and not again till about the 14km mark.
5. Rattlesnake Point Loop
Distance: 3.1km roundtrip
Ok, this one really isn't for the fall colours, it's more for the turquoise blue water that happens when the weather is warm. Catch this colour before it turns into a cool blue in the winter.
6. BX Creek Trail
Distance: 6.8km roundtrip
I absolutely love this trail! It is beautiful all year round and you're greeted with a waterfall in less than 300m if starting from Tillicum Road parking lot. Despite the lure of the waterfall, keep making your way down towards Star Road parking lot for the fall colours and small wooden bridges that switch back and forth over the creek.
Parking: Tillicum Road (for easy access to the falls) or Star Road.
7. Middleton Mountain Trail
Distance: 1.6 - 7.7km return (many starting points to choose from)
If you ever wonder where postcards get their inspiration from, this is it. An unbelievably easy hike leads you to some fantastic views! There are many starting points and parking lots depending on the amount of km you want to walk. This is a very open hike with little shade.
Parking: Kalamalka Beach parking lot (longer hike) and Mt. Ida Drive (shorter hike).
8. Mount Rose Swanson Loop, Armstrong, BC
Distance: 5.6km loop (there are trail options to make it shorter or longer)
This is the gem of fall hikes! If you could only do one fall hike, this would be it! Unfotanetly this autumn hike isn't located in Vernon but it is well worth the 20-minute drive to Armstrong. At the parking lot, take the trail to the left (with the Welcome trail sign) where you will wander through pine trees, in addition to frolicking through bits of pieces of colour before completely emerging yourself in colour! This section of the trail is quite flat until the ascent to the summit. Instead of completing the loop, head back the way you came as the other side is mainly pine trees.
Not sure how to hike in this change of weather or looking at still getting outside but not wanting a long hike? Follow my Top 10 Tips on how to Hike in Cooler Weather or my Top 8 After-work Hikes. in Vernon.