Autumn in Victoria has arrived with a bang (or a splash!), and that means the perfect time to step outside and enjoy the glorious changing foliage.
Time to bundle up, grab a warm beverage and indulge in the picture-book scenery our island is famous for, such colourful leaves set against a brilliant blue sky or even perhaps the mystery of an early morning fog.
Here are some of our favorite locations to catch nature’s vibrant show, all while staying safe and physically distanced, of course!
1 – Beacon Hill Park
The Japanese maple leaves are just gorgeous at this beloved park! 200 acres of beauty, centrally located and also the western terminus, the Mile “0” of the 8,000 kilometre Trans-Canada Highway.
2 – The Butchart Gardens
Stunning colourful trees and vibrant fall flowers and plants are found throughout this world-renowned garden. From the Japanese Garden with its maples and beech trees lovingly created in 1906 by Jennie Butchart and Isaburo Kishida, to the majesty of the Sunken Garden. This location is a must-see!
3 – Galloping Goose Trail
60km long, this multi-use trail has beautiful fall colours through much of its distance! It passes through urban, rural and even semi-wilderness landscapes. The stretch in the City of Colwood, near Royal Roads University looks particularly magical this time of year!
4 – Goldstream Park
Just 17 kilometers from downtown Victoria, Goldstream Provincial Park lies amid the splendour of an old-growth temperate rain forest. The fall colours change throughout the park, contrasting with the fog and cloud enshrouded Mount Finlayson. View the incoming salmon, and be dazzled by our very own Niagra Falls.
5 – Gorge Park – Japanese Gardens
Found in the Township of Esquimalt, this Japanese Garden was originally designed in 1907 by Isaburo Kishida (who assisted with the Butchart Gardens’ Japanese Garden!). There is an ornamental stream, a traditional Japanese bridge, a Japanese entry gate and of course lovely Japanese maples.
6 – Gorge Waterway
The Gorge Waterway is bursting with colour along its banks this time of year. Often perfectly reflected in the calm morning water, or mysteriously obscured by the arrival of fog. Lower toward downtown, the Selkirk Trestle sets off the scene beautifully.
7 – Hatley Gardens – Japanese Gardens
Isaburo Kishida (designer of Butchart Gardens and Gorge Park Japanese Gardens!) created this stunning design in 1910. The winding paths (evil spirits can only go in straight lines!), take visitors around a tortoise-shaped island, over a humped bridge to a lovely pagoda. All in a breathtaking setting of brilliant colours.
8 – Lochside Trail
The 29 kilometre multi-use trail that stretches from Swartz Bay to Victoria, rolls through some of the most stunning autumn scenery in Victoria! The tunnels of colour especially just past Mattick’s Farm in Saanich, will transport you to another realm.
9 – Ross Bay Cemetery
According to The Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria, Ross Bay Cemetery has the oldest surviving formal landscape design in BC and is a superb example of a Victorian-era burial ground. It is also a wonderful location to see lovely autumn leaves – even more mysterious if you can catch it with some fog…
10 – University of Victoria campus
One of the prettiest places in Victoria to catch the changing leaves is none other than our University. Beautiful colours abound, squirrels, deer, owls and other creatures will make you feel as if you stepped into a storybook – rather than a research and educational institution!
11 – Your local park
We are spoiled for choice with our local parks all over Victoria! James Bay to Oak Bay, up and down the city, from the tiniest stretch of grass to one complete with playground – so many of our local parks are breathtaking right now. Crunching leaves under your feet, your face to the golden afternoon sun, nothing beats the perfect fall day in your own neighbourhood park.