Falling for BC's Land of Hidden Waters - Land of Hidden Waters

Falling for BC’s Land of Hidden Waters

After a hot and busy summer, we’re cheering Fall-elujah for the season of crunchy leaves, golden trees, cozy sweaters and tasty treats. Sure, we’ll miss the lake days and the patios but from enjoying Mother Nature’s vibrant show to planning wholesome fall outings (winery and waterfall tour, anyone?), there’s plenty of outside the pumpkin patch activities to look forward to this season.

With zero crowds, close proximity to Vancouver and a perfect combination of urban and wilderness escapes, BC’s Land of Hidden Waters is the perfect destination for an autumn getaway with loved ones. 

Unsure of where to start? Don’t sweat the fall stuff because we’re here to share the best events and activities to enjoy within the Land of Hidden Waters this autumn season.

Dutch Lake │ Tourism Wells Gray

Finding Fall Foliage

You know it’s a great time of the year when just a mere walk amongst the trees can lift your spirits and have you reaching for the camera. Here are some of the best places to leaf-peep:

Kamloops

If you’re looking for easy strolls right in town, check out the leaf-lined pathways of Riverside Park or McArthur Island. Both on either side of the Thompson River, you’ll enjoy fabulous water views without even having to leave the city. To enjoy the surrounding autumn views directly from the water itself, book an educational river tour with Secwepemcuu’l’ecw (Shuswap Nation) tour operator, Moccasin Trails. If lakes are your more preferred waterbody, Isobel Lake and McConnell Lake are a must. Despite being a bit further out of town, they are well worth the drive as they both have gorgeous walking loops and offer early in the season fall colours. Another must for foliage is Lac du Bois. Other than some incredible hiking trails, this grasslands protected area features alkaline-heavy lakes that during September and October turn the surrounding pickleweed plants a fiery red.

Isobel Lake Loop │ Scott Bakken/Tourism Kamloops

Wells Gray Provincial Park

As BC’s 4th largest park, it’s no surprise there are plenty of fall colours to be found here. Although autumn doesn’t last too long in Wells Gray, it’s bittersweet as the warm, vibrant days offer glimpses into the winter magic that lies ahead. And while the autumn hues and tones are worth the trip in itself, your primary reason for visiting should be the waterfalls. This time of year, they’re gaining strength and look even more dazzling surrounded by the falling leaves. For a more detailed guide into exploring the waterfalls of Wells Gray, check out our 10+ Best Waterfalls and Fall Road Trip: Hidden Wineries & Unnamed Waterfalls stories.

Dawson Falls │ Holly Louwerse Photography
Mushbowl Falls │ Allen Jones/Tourism Wells Gray

Finding Fall Markets & Events

After spending most of last year’s fall indoors, why not pumpkin spice up your life this time around and head to some community events? From Farmers’ Markets celebrating the season of harvest to Artisan Markets and the oh-so-loved pumpkin patch, the Land of Hidden waters is jam-packed with fun, family-friendly places to support local and soak up the shared love of Fall with others. 

Kamloops

Start your morning right and head to the Kweseltken Farmer’s & Artisan Market happening every Sunday until October 31st. Although also open to non-Indigenous vendors, the market’s mission is to provide an outlet to support local Indigenous grown, raised and crafted goods. You can also visit the beloved Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market every Wednesday and Saturday until the end of October, as well as the Thanksgiving Outdoor Artisan Market happening on October 10th at Harper’s Trail Winery.

Downtown Kamloops │ Scott Bakken/Tourism Kamloops

Wells Gray Provincial Park

At the entrance of Wells Gray, you’ll find the quiet and very close-knit community of Clearwater. Stop by on a Saturday morning before October 9th to enjoy the Clearwater Farmers’ Market.

PS – the baked goods here are too gourd to have just one!

Clearwater Farmers’ Market │ Holly Louwerse Photography

Sun Peaks

Along with beautiful fall colours thanks to its high elevation, Sun Peaks hosts a whole lot of awesome events during the autumn season. Check out their Sun Peaks Fall Festival happening on September 25th. If you miss it, they also have a Market Day every Sunday running until October 10th, as well as a Fall Retail Sale where you can pick up some discounted winter gear right up until Halloween! 

Lower North Thompson

Midway between Kamloops and Clearwater, stop by the Barriere Farmers’ Market happening until October 28th. For some pumpkin patch action, book ahead and have a quintessential fall day picking pumpkins at Ashcroft’s own Desert Hills Ranch.

Barriere Farmers’ Market │ Holly Louwerse Photography

Finding Fall Wildlife

Out here, fall is one of the best times of the year for wildlife viewing. Along with a huge array of bird species, bears are bulking up before winter and salmon are making their arduous way back to their home rivers to spawn. Please remember to educate yourself about animal respect and safety before wildlife viewing

BC Wildlife Park │ Mary Putnam/Tourism Kamloops

Kamloops

Kamloops’ BC Wildlife Park is home to over 65 species of animals for you and your kiddies to safely see and learn about. Visiting during the fall means you’ll get to see the resident Grizzly, Black and Kermode bears before they go into winter denning and hibernation! Outside of the Wildlife Park, Kamloops also offers the chance for visitors to try horseback riding. Visit Erin Valley Riding Stables or Jandana Ranch for an intimate trail riding experience. 

Wells Gray Provincial Park

For more horseback riding options, check out Vavenby Trail Rides and Western Riders. Both offer an unforgettable riding experience in the wild Wells Gray landscapes. And if you’re visiting between August and October, you can’t miss viewing the thousands of vibrant-red Sockeye Salmon jump. Their arrival marks the end of a 3-year, 4,000-kilometre (2485-mi) journey that takes them from their spawning grounds in Wells Gray, to Alaska and back. To view this spectacular display for yourself, visit the Raft River Viewing Platform or hike to Bailey’s Chute and watch in wonder as the Sockeyes jump their way up the waterfall, narrowly escaping the paws of Black bears and Grizzlies who like to fish from shore.

Horseback Riding in Wells Gray Provincial Park │ Tourism Wells Gray
Salmon in Wells Gray Provincial Park │ Jeremy Koreski/FishingBC

Lower North Thompson

Another place to witness the incredible Salmon run is Tsútswecw (Roderick Haig-Brown) Provincial Park. With easy, well-marked walking trails, gorgeous fall foliage and vibrant red and green salmon swimming beside you, this is a wonderful place to spend an autumn day. Interested to learn more about these fascinating fish and their journeys? Take an educational tour at Dunn Creek Fish Hatchery where the Simpcw First Nations conserve and maintain the local Coho population.

Salmon in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park │ Fernando Lessa/Tourism Kamloops
Dunn Creek Salmon Habitat │ Holly Louwerse Photography

Finding Fall Treats

Well, it’d be a fallacy not to conclude this article with where you can find the best flavourful fall treats to enjoy whilst in BC’s Land of Hidden Waters. This region is full of wineries, cideries, and breweries all itching to warm up your taste buds.

Kamloops

Now that the summer crowds have thinned and grape harvesting season is in full swing, a fall winery tour at one (or all!) of Kamloops’ 4 wineries is a must. But Kamloops is not only home to award-winning wineries. Prepped and ready with their classic beers and fall seasonals, savour some quality golden brews at Iron Road Brewing, Bright Eye Brewing, Red Collar Brewing, Alchemy Brewing and Noble Pig Brewhouse. For an even more authentic autumn experience, head to Woodward Cider Co. for apple cider tastings and a stroll in their garden. 

Monte Creek Ranch Winery │Scott Bakken/Tourism Kamloops

Prior to visiting BC’s Land of Hidden Waters, please read our Know Before You Go article and make sure you’re up to date with hellobc’s latest health measures and travel updates. 

© 2021 Land of Hidden Waters. All Rights Reserved.

Handcrafted by Eco Escape Travel & BLKWTR.

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