These six hikes near Vancouver offer stunning fall foliage sights

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Summer may have come to an end but that doesn’t mean you have to hang up your hiking boots just yet.

As the leaves change colours, some of the hikes near Vancouver become even more beautiful than before.

The stunning Elk Mountain trail. Photo: @stasher_bc via Instagram

While there are lots of hikes in B.C. you still have time to get out and do, weather permitting, we’ve picked six trails that show off stunning fall foliage and offer incredible photo opportunities.

Here’s a mix of easy and intermediate hikes to check off your bucket list this fall.

Lindeman Lake – Chilliwack

The beauty of this trek is that it’s a short and sweet 3.4km round-trip with a great reward. The hike leads to the lovely emerald green Lindeman Lake, that you can sit and stare at for hours on end. In fall, some of the trees and shrubs around the lake show off hues of orange, yellow and red, making it even more magical than summer.

While it’s a short hike, don’t be fooled, it’s classified as intermediate with a 300-metre elevation gain that will have you breaking a sweat at times.

QUICK NOTES

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time:
2 hours
Round-Trip:
3.4km
Elevation gain:
300 meters
Season:
May to October
Drive from Vancouver:
2 hours and 15 minutes
More details: Lindeman Lake

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Whyte Lake – West Vancouver

This peaceful spot in West Vancouver can be visited all year round, but it’s worth a stroll in fall when the trees around the lake turn a gorgeous shade of golden orange.

It’s a short, easy 5km trail that has an elevation of 160m. You’ll walk uphill through a grove of Western Cedar and Douglas fir trees and see several large old growth giants along the way.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours
Round-Trip: 5km
Elevation gain: 160 meters
Season: Year-round
Drive from Vancouver: 30 minutes
More details: Whyte Lake

Elk Mountain – Chilliwack

Those after a more challenging hike with breathtaking mountain views and fall colours should check out Elk Mountain.

It’s a steep climb with an 800m-elevation gain but you will be rewarded for all your hard work with stunning views of the Fraser Valley area. Once you make your way past the trail’s forested section you’ll be treated to gorgeous fall colours in the meadows.

Most of the mountain’s trail is easy to navigate but the last sections are steep and can be slippery. So watch your step and take your time. The peak offers amazing views of the Chilliwack River, Border Peaks and the U.S.

QUICK NOTES

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 4 hours
Round-Trip: 7km
Elevation gain: 800 meters
Season: June October
Drive from Vancouver: 1 hour 45 minutes
More details: Elk Mountain

Mount Strachan – Cypress Provincial Park – North Shore

If you want a slightly longer, more technical hike, this 10.5km round-trip journey in the Cypress ski resort area has it all — gorgeous fall foliage sights, mountain views and challenging terrain.

Plus, you’ll also see a historical crash site of a Royal Canadian Navy T-33 Jet on your way up.

Be careful, this trail has some steep scrambles and muddy sections in some areas.

On a clear day you’ll be able to see views of Howe Sound and mountains as far north as Garibaldi Provincial Park at the top.

QUICK NOTES

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 5.5 hours
Round-Trip: 10.5km
Elevation gain: 550 meters
Season: July – October
Drive from Vancouver: 45 minutes
More details: Mount Strachan

Elfin Lakes – Garibaldi Provincial Park – Squamish

Elfin Lakes is definitely a must do, bucket list hike that offers incredible views all year round, but in fall the red and gold meadows give it an extra special touch.

This is a 22km round-trip hike with a 600m elevation gain, so make sure you pack lots of water and food. The hike leads to two small lakes surrounded by mountains. (It’s spectacular.)

If the trek to Elfin Lakes is too much, you can stop at the 5km mark at Red Heather Meadows. You can also make a camping reservation or book a spot in the shelter for the night.

QUICK NOTES

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 6-7 hours
Round-Trip: 22km
Elevation Gain: 600 meters
Season: July – October
Drive from Vancouver: 1 hour 45 minutes
More details: Elfin Lakes

Velodrome Trail – Burnaby Mountain

Another delightful spot close to Vancouver to take an easy hike and soak in the colours of fall is Burnaby Mountain.

This 3km round-trip hike – a.k.a the Burnaby Grind – is a great workout, with 500 stairs to climb to the top of the mountain. It’s open all year but you should check it out in autumn, when the forest lights up with orange and red tones.

QUICK NOTES

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate
Time: 1 hour
Round-Trip: 3km
Elevation Gain: 240 meters
Season: year-round
Drive from Vancouver: 30 minutes
More details: Velodrome trail

Be sure to check current weather, terrain, and wildlife conditions prior to embarking on a hike. In addition, make sure that you know your physical limitations, tell someone where you are going, bring enough food and water, wear appropriate clothing, and never hike alone. Don’t attempt dangerous poses for photographs.

Visit Vancouver Trails online for a detailed list of safety tips and things to consider before your next hike.

Plus, here’s what to do if you run into a cougar, black bear, or grizzly bear in B.C.