Originally published October 13, 2016 | Updated September 1, 2017

For us, fall’s arrival means two things: vibrant, multi-hued foliage, and the excuse to unapologetically step on, erm, jump into crunchy mounds of leaves. We can’t help it, autumn brings out the kid in everyone. Luckily, Victoria is home to a number of picturesque places to find fall color, but don’t just take our word for it, check out our favorite spots around Victoria to see the leaves first-hand.

Victoria, BC Overnight Getaways

1. The Butchart Gardens

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Brimming with hundreds of trees and plants in all shapes and sizes, the ever stunning Butchart Gardens is likely the first place that comes to mind for spotting Vancouver Island fall color, and for good reason. Golden witch hazel, fiery red burning bush and thousands of chrysanthemums give The Gardens a glowing radiance as all 55 acres undergo the seasonal transition from summer to fall.

2. Beacon Hill Park

Conveniently located just a hop, skip and jump away from Victoria’s busy downtown center, you’ll find Beacon Hill Park is rich with forest flora and fauna. Take a stroll among orange willows along the water, or find a bench and admire the park’s Japanese maples bursting with crimson leaves.

3. Hatley Castle

Soak in the vibrant reds, oranges and golds of the autumnal color spectrum set against incredible Victorian architecture at Hatley Castle. The three gardens on the grounds are yours to explore, including the Japanese Garden, created in 1910 by Isaburo Kishida, designer of both the Butchart Gardens and Gorge Park.

4. Galloping Goose Trail

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Jump on a bike and whiz though a kaleidoscopic blur of glowing leaves at the Galloping Goose Trail. This 55 kilometer former railway line winds its way from the urban back streets of Victoria, through hidden lakes and rocky outcrops of Langford and Sooke to the ghost town of Leechtown.

5. Goldstream Park

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Transport yourself to the lush old-growth temperate rainforest within Goldstream Park as it transitions from green to a soft golden glow. Ancient evergreens sway overhead, while returning salmon spawn in the crisp, cool waters.

6. Gorge Waterway

Walk over the still, glassy surface of the Gorge Waterway as you cross the Selkirk Trestle and immerse yourself in a landscape untouched by human hands. Dark green eelgrass and emerald sea lettuce add to the complex color palette here, while lighter yellows and deep merlots ashore indicate fall’s arrival.

7. Lochside Trail

Meandering its way from Victoria to Swartz Bay, the Lochside Trail is an urban alternative to its rural cousin, the Galloping Goose Trail. However, you can still expect to find plenty of fall colors inside the plant-filled corridors we’ve coined as “color tunnels,” which are formed by intertwined, overhanging foliage encircling the path.

8. Cowichan Valley

Head 30 minutes north of Victoria and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the rural Cowichan Valley. Power down your phone, wander down any country road and you’ll be greeted by yellow and orange maples and maybe even a pumpkin patch. With countless wineries and farms spread throughout the region, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.

9. University of Victoria Campus

More like a nature preserve than a college campus, the University of Victoria is home not only to students but also squirrels, rabbits and deer. You’ll find an abundance of fall color along Ring Road or while strolling through Cunningham Woods, the university’s 1-acre forested area.

When it comes to getting out into BC’s open wilderness to explore fall colors, you certainly aren’t strapped for choices. The countless number of spectacular parks and gardens right in your own backyard provide an easy outlet for you to escape the concrete jungle, soak in autumn’s vibrant hues and enjoy the crunch of leaves underfoot.

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Clipper Recommends:

  • While you’re trekking along the Galloping Goose, take a detour on Atkins Avenue for more fall colors at Mill Hill Regional Park.
  • Exploring Cowichan for the day? Ditch the car for a bit and pick a trail. There are plenty to choose from, including the 122 km Cowichan Valley Trail.


Featured Photo: The Butchart Gardens