Every year, Nelson and the entire Kootenay Lake area says goodbye to summer and hello to the colder weather in a spectacular fashion. The area lights up with colour as trees turn magnificent reds, golds, oranges and yellows. We're blessed with a particularly vibrant mix of colours, not just from the maple trees that grace many streets in Nelson, but also from the Virginia Creeper that winds along the walls of the Nelson Courthouse and also along the highway lining Kootenay Lake up toward Meadow Creek.
In fact, you may not know that Nelson has been named in the top 10 places in Canada to see fall colours, alongside Quebec City and other truly standout places.
We think it's the diversity and landscape that combine to give us the ultimate in colour, climate, and community. And it's that community that, once you arrive here, will help you feel right at home.
In fact, to get your started on your fall colours trip through the Nelson Kootenay Lake area, we've asked a diverse set of locals who love living here what their favourite fall outing is:
Karen Bennet, publisher of the local Nelson Star newspaper, says "I like pulpit rock in the fall, it's a great place to see the colourful foliage. I also like being on the lake in the fall. The water is so clear and you are able to see contours on the bottom that you don't see in the summer; everything is so calm and peaceful too."
Pulpit Rock is a local hike that regularly sees around 30,000 users annually. The trail takes you straight up to a lookout point (Pulpit Rock itself) that gives you a gorgeous panoramic view of Nelson and up Kootenay Lake. The hike is so popular that you will likely be considered a local simply for doing this one!
Local actor Lucas Meyers' suggestion of "The mountain bike trails. Not too hot to pedal and the dirt is supreme" gives you a truly local's look at what to do in the Nelson Kotoenay Lake area in the fall. Sure, we're fairly well-known for mountain biking around here, with local mountain bike legend Kurt Sorge having just won the Red Bull Rampage (twice!) but locals know that the fall is perhaps the best time to ride our trails. The weather at Mountain Station and along Svoboda Road is mild, the dust is minimal, and you're surrounded by a show of colour that just adds to the joy.
Our own Executive Director, Dianna Ducs loves fishing! As she says so perfectly: "you'll be in your happy place boating on Kootenay Lake our hiking up to one of the many smaller lakes in the region." Word. (Top photo: fly fishing on Ross Lake)
Stepping away from Nelson and out toward Kaslo and Meadow Creek area, Daphne Hunter has lots of great suggestions. As owner of Kaslo Kayaking says, "It's so hard to nail down a "fav" place when everything is so beautiful and magical around here. But I have to say that one of my all time all year round favourites is the waterfall at powder creek. Another fav is Davis Creek. Not just to camp but just to walk around. And of course the old growth cedar forest at Retallack because that is like walking in Jurassic Park!"
Other residents mentioned lots of great ideas for stepping out in Nelson in the fall. Specifically on Halloween night. One local said, "Nelson at night is the best at Halloween! So many venues get in the spirit, there are so many dance parties, night life and people really dress up. It for me is the best night out in Nelson."
Another great local's haunt is "the Farmers' Market is the best in the fall." True, and as it's quieter (generally speaking) in the fall, you get great produce and handmade deliciousness without the crowds.
Local photographer Joel Pelletier is "really into taking family photos for people in the fall with all these colours." The colours really stand out for him as a photographer, with Gyro Park being one great location for awesome family photographs.
And a newcomer to Nelson, local Covenant Church pastor Jeff Strong has this to add to the conversation, "As a newcomer to Nelson, I've been overwhelmed by the beauty of this special city. As fall settles in, I find myself meandering around the city itself, taking in the idiosyncrasies that make Nelson one-of-a-kind." In other words, take a walk down Baker Street to see what you can see. You'll be delighted, for sure.
Finally, long time local author Kristene Perron recently moved to Campbell River, but her heart still resides in Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area at least part time. She has these words to say about what to do in the fall in Nelson: "Colour! I love the colours of fall in Nelson and one of my favourite spots to view them is from way up on the Bed Frame riding trail in the Giveout Creek area. If it’s too cold for sightseeing (yes, we authors like cozy warm dens), then you can find me at Café Momento, who make one of the best Hot Chocolates in town—you can even have it made with coconut milk. In a town obsessed with coffee, it is nice that there is a place we chocolate addicts can get our fix. And of course my other cold weather hideaway is in everyone’s favourite indie hot spot, Otter Books. I don’t go there just for the books, either; sometimes Izzy the cat is lurking around the shelves, in need of a good petting. Did I mention I’m also addicted to cats?"
I'm going to have to add my own now, since no one mentioned it. Ainsworth Hotsprings in the fall. It is absolutely the best time of year to visit the hotsprings, especially if you can go during a full moon. Stay for a couple hours, see the moon rise, and renew yourself in the mineral rich waters.
No matter what your pleasure: Indoors or outdoors, rough and ready or tame and nature-walky, there is something for you to do this fall in Nelson. And now you know what the locals love, too! Come join us this fall and immerse yourself in our beauty. We'll be waiting.