With it being a two-ferry, and approximately five and half hour trip door-to-door (or a thirty minute flight), people from Vancouver don’t often put Powell River on their list of top weekend getaways.
You might even consider Powell River a sleepy town, with not much going on. I certainly did when I was a teenager.
It used to be that summer was the only time I thought there was fun to be had, because of the vast number of lakes, trails, and of course, easy access to the ocean. Over time, though, I’ve realized that some of my favourite trips home (since I now live in Vancouver) have actually been in the spring, fall, or winter. A bonus of travelling in the off-season is that you also get to avoid the crazy summer ferry traffic. (Committing to travel with BC Ferries on long weekends is either brave, or silly!)
Once I got over the fact that Powell River was a pretty cool place to be, I started seeing it in a whole new light. There are endless things to do, if you know where to look–and fortunately, I now know where to look. Here are 9 excellent reasons to visit Powell River this fall:
1. Events and Festivals Galore
Just to name a few, there’s the Fall Fair, a Dragon Boat Regatta that brings together teams from all over the Sunshine Coast, a Salmon Festival, Craft Fair, Health and Wellness Fair, a Haunted Ball for Halloween at the historic Dwight Hall, and–this is probably the coolest event–a Halloween bike ride with the Powell River Cycling Association around Inland Lake, dressed in costume!
2. View the Fall Foliage and Benefit from the Harvest
Tip from a local: raid your neighbour’s apple tree to make yourself some applesauce or apple pie. There are also plenty of opportunities to pick up newly canned and preserved local delights.
3. Water sports
Water sports are still a thing in the fall–boating, kayaking, fishing (both saltwater and freshwater), and even water-skiing, if you can believe it.
Quadding, or ATVing, is a popular pastime in the fall and winter, as trails get far too dusty for it to be enjoyable in the summer. Powell River even has several volunteer groups who build and maintain the trail system, to keep them free of fallen trees, overgrown branches, and debris.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Sunshine Coast Trail. It’s 180km in length, complete with 18 standalone huts that you can stay in overnight along the route. And you don’t have to do it all in one go–you can do day hikes, and visit the huts one at a time. One of the local faves is the hike to Tin Hat Mountain Hut.
Powell River is known as a world-class mountain biking destination. It’s the location for Day 2 of the BC Bike Race every year, and there’s even a newly installed bike park with a pump track. If you’re visiting for the trails, some of the most popular trails with varying difficulty include: Bob's Yer Uncle, Aloha, Death Rattle, W8, Appleton Canyon, Civil Disobedience, Suicide Creek, Willingdon Beach Trail, and McFall Creek Trail. Just ask a local, they’ll point you in the right direction.
The summer ferry traffic has finally calmed down! Three-sailing-waits are a thing of the past (but I’d still go ahead and book that reservation, just to be safe). Oh, and once you finally get to Powell River, traffic does not exist. You’ll forget what more than one lane looks like.
9. Local Beer!
Yup, Powell River finally has some street cred, now that we have our own micro brewery, Townsite Brewing. And thanks to the BC Ale Trail, many more tourists are visiting for that very reason. Powell River also has a CAMRA chapter, and a craft beer festival in November. This will be the 3rd year for the festival in Powell River.
So there you have it, not so sleepy after all! And there are plenty of reasons for a visit outside of the busy summer months. Want more? Visit PowtownPost.com for all things Powell River.