Six scenic fall hiking trails to hit in Alberta, BC
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Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, traversing larch ridges or walking through the forests near your own backyard, fall in Alberta & British Columbia will blow your mind.
But scenic autumn views in the forests and mountains of Western Canada are just one selling feature of fall hiking (albeit perhaps the biggest). For me, there are at least three other good reasons to get out for fall hikes: fewer bugs (!!!), cooler temperatures and often, drier trails.
As a steady intermediate hiker over the years, I always enjoyed getting out into nature but the last couple years pushed me to get a little more serious about it. With a bit more experience, I've come to really appreciate the trails in different seasons—and fall hikes are some of the best.
Here are six of my favourite fall hikes, spanning both Alberta and BC, to check out this fall! Be sure to read to the end for trail info and details to help you hit the trails.
Sulphur Skyline, Jasper National Park
With no shortage of trails to choose from, Jasper National Park provides endless opportunities for Zen seekers to bag those peaks and enjoy the majestic nature of the Canadian rockies. There are so many trails to choose from with a spectrum of difficulty levels.
One of my favorites is Sulphur Skyline Trail.
Editor's note: the Miette Road re-opens Sept 1, 2023, following road repairs from a June 19, 2023 snowstorm that caused sliding and road damage. That opens up a window for fall access until Oct 9, 2023.
The trailhead is located at the Miette Hotsprings, about an hour outside of the Jasper townsite. The views from the peak are seriously epic.
From alpine flowers in the summer to the changing colours of fall, this is one you should have on your bucketlist. Not to mention, the cooler fall temps make the endless switchbacks much more pleasant.
Note: the road to Sulphur Skyline closes Oct 9, 2023.
Misery Mountain ridge trail, Peace River, Alberta
Peace River is a sight to behold in the fall. Peace River is nestled in a beautiful valley, about two hours northeast of Grande Prairie, AB. If you catch it at just the right time, you’ll bear witness to an endless sea of valleys covered in changing leaves.
A local hiking favourite is the Misery Mountain Ridge trail. This hike is short with a big bang for your buck. You won’t be disappointed by the panoramic views of the river valley. It’s a sight to behold in fall.
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Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, Vernon BC
The trail system at Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is endless. Hiking here in the fall means you might be able to dodge that Okanagan heat.
The views of Kalamalka Lake are stunning with the added backdrop of the autumn leaves. You may even find a hidden water fall or beach on your travels. After hiking these trails and taking in the lake views, I almost always stop for a treat at the Rail Trail Café!
(Editor's note: check out this feature on Vernon fall adventures to get more Vernon travel and hiking tips.)
Myra Canyon, Kelowna, British Columbia
Another bucketlist contender is Myra Canyon. This trail can be hiked or biked. About 40 minutes southeast of Kelowna, this trail follows the Kettle Valley Railway across multiple train trestles and through tunnels carved out of the mountainside.
While this trail doesn’t gain much elevation, it boasts beautiful views of the Okanagan in the fall. If you decide to bike, there is a bike rental shop, Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, located right at the trailhead. Visiting in fall will guarantee fewer crowds and beautiful temperatures. The autumn colors and smells will be endless.
Rock Lake, Alberta
Trust me, the gravel road into Rock Lake is worth it. Located west of Hinton, AB in Wilmore Wilderness Park, Rock Lake is a beautiful spot to hike, bike and camp.
For a view of the lake and surrounding mountains, I recommend the Rock Lake trail. You might find this area a little more rustic compared to say, Jasper because they aren’t regularly maintained. However, in the fall, the overgrowth dies out and makes for better trail conditions.
Access to the park is via 35km of gravel road, and a sturdy vehicle is recommended.
Whistlers Mountain, Jasper National Park
Whistlers trail can seem intimidating to some… it was to me. But don't let that stop you!
The first half is switchbacks through the trees, opening up to soaring views and some beginner to intermediate bouldering. The summit looks out onto Jasper townsite, Pyramid Mountain and on a good day you can see Mount Robson.
Every once in a while you’ll catch the Jasper Skytram climbing high above. In the fall, you will see fewer crowds at the top and enjoy a little less overgrowth in the trees. Pro tip: take the Jasper Skytram back down for a quick descent.
Great hiking adventures aren’t just about the lookouts on the mountain or the trails. That’s where they may start, but if you don't explore the towns and expeditions that are in the areas of these hikes you're not only missing out on great adventures, but also greater memories!
When you go
Remember, weather conditions and animal behaviours can be unpredictable in the fall. Pack an extra layer or two, check trail conditions before you go and give wildlife plenty of space. Consider extra precautions (e.g. bear spray) if you're hiking in bear country.
Sulphur Skyline, Jasper AB
The Miette road is open to Oct 9, 2023; plan to get there soon for epic views (but be sure to check with Parks first for trail updates).
Misery Mountain, Peace River AB
Find epic views on the ridgeline at the Misery Mountain Ski Area - get access details here and check out this story on Peace region hiking for more Peace River area hikes.
Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, Vernon BC
Hiking access year round on multiple trails. Find parks info here and trails info on Alltrails. Be sure to check out our #ExploreVernon expedition for more things to do this fall in Vernon and area.
Myra Canyon, Kelowna
Part of the popular Kettle Valley Railway trail network, Myra Canyon a short drive from Kelowna. Find hiking info here.
Rock Lake, Hinton
Rock Lake trail is in Rock Lake Provincial Park, approximately 80 km from Hinton (the last 35 km on gravel road). Rock Lake trail skirts the lake itself.
Whistlers Mountain, Jasper
Check conditions before you go - snow can grace these slopes early, making trail conditions slippery. Find more trail info here.
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