The fall season is the perfect time to plan an adventure in the Okanagan Valley’s biggest city, Kelowna. The summer’s scorching temperatures give way to sunny warm days and cool nights that tempt visitors with hikes in golden hills, harvest bounties, and tours of wine country.
Fall Getaway in Kelowna
Enjoy larch season
September and October are prime times for leaf peeping, and in Kelowna, the leaves can actually be needles. The Western Larch may appear to be like any needled tree, but in the fall its needles turn a spectacular golden yellow and fall off onto the forest floor.
Set out by foot or bike and head up to Myra Canyon. This highly scenic portion of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) runs along a steep-walled canyon, and its trestles are perfect for level walks or rides to enjoy the golden views. Originally built by hand at the turn of the 20th century, this impressive landmark is highlighted by 2 tunnels and 18 trestle bridges.
Commune with the animals
The Arion Therapeutic Farm is a peaceful farm sanctuary for people and animals situated on 12 acres in a beautiful valley in southeast Kelowna. The farm is a serene, volunteer-driven social enterprise that offers an escape from city life just 10 minutes out of town.
Open daily for interactive tours, guests can enjoy touring the farm and petting some of the 50+ animals who make Arion home, including llamas, goats, sheep, cows and horses. We could all use some animal therapy these days.
Visit Davison Orchards
This family-run farm has been producing a large variety of Okanagan produce like apples, pumpkins and vegetables since 1933. While technically up the road in Vernon, Davison Orchards are fantastic family-friendly destination, particularly during fall harvest time when apples and pumpkins are ready to bake and carve.
Take a hike
Surrounded by hills with views onto stunning Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is a walking and hiking paradise.
Practically in walking distance of downtown, Knox Mountain is a paradise for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and photographers. The Apex trail can start either from the base, or the parking lot halfway up the mountain. With steep ascents in spots, it travels 2.1 km to the top, from which hikers are welcomed by panoramic views of Kelowna, West Kelowna and Okanagan Lake.
East of the city, the Angel Springs Trail provides an opportunity for hikers to enjoy brilliant fall colours while witnessing interesting geological formations and naturally heated underground springs. The trail is relatively easy, and meanders 7+ kilometers through the lush forest across the riverbed a number of times. Unfortunately, at a lukewarm 25C, the springs are not suitable for bathing.
Visit the market
The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is held Wednesdays and Saturdays at Orchard Park Mall. In addition to finding the freshest seasonal produce market vendors have to offer in fall – think Italian plums, corn, squash and pumpkins – find handmade jewellery, soaps, crafts and artworks made by local artisans.
SUP the paddle trail
Rent stand up paddle boards to putter around the lakeside, or if you’re really ambitious, attempt the 27-kilometre SUP trail on Okanagan Lake from McKinley Beach to Bertram Creek Regional Park.
The trail is along Kelowna’s shoreline and buoys guide you along the way. Paddle by over 20 beaches and parks, three waterfront resorts, two bird sanctuaries, and downtown Kelowna.
Wind your way through wine country
Fall’s cooler temperatures make wine touring and tasting an immensely pleasurable pursuit. Kelowna is surrounded by world-renowned wineries and cideries, many of which have outdoor seating and play areas for the wee ones.
A small tasting fee applies when you visit, but a day spent sampling a sparkling Blanc des Blancs at Sperling Vineyards, sipping award-winning Rieslings and nosh at the Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, swirling organic chasselas at St. Hubertus Winery and grabbing a few bottles of coveted Platinum reds at the sleekly renovated Cedar Creek Winery is a day very well spent in the North Okanagan.
Hit a sweet spot
Enjoy made from scratch gelato at QB Gelato, the city’s truly authentic Italian gelateria. Taking advantage of the abundance of local Okanagan ingredients like berries, herbs, nuts and wine, partners Victor and Kevin rotate and mix seasonal flavours to create some of the most scrumptious gelati and sorbetti you’ve ever tasted. From real pistachio to blueberry lavender and holy cacao vegan sorbet, enjoy a scoop of heaven in a cup or cone.