Vancouver is a wonderful place to hike during the Fall: the leaves are turning, the air is chilly, and it’s raining.
There are lots of places to hike in Vancouver, however, some places involve some serious wilderness. So here are some tips for safe Fall hiking.
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Bring the essentials with you
Always bring a backpack with essential safety and first-aid equipment when you leave on any excursion.
We have put together a list of the 8 most important items to pack: navigation supplies, sun protection, extra clothes, extra water, a first-aid kit, fire starters, nutrition, and shelter.
Leave a Trip Plan before you travel
If you get lost or hurt on your journey, will anyone know where to find you? Make sure somebody knows your travel plans by leaving a trip plan before departure.
Before you travel, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast
Vancouver’s weather in the Fall is generally rainy, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 19°C (41-66°F). Even though it rains constantly, there are always a few lovely sunny days, as well as numerous days when the sky is mostly cloudy. So if you’re headed towards Capiliano Suspension Bridge, for example, make sure you know the weather ahead of time!
Always remember that the temperature in the mountains can be colder and the precipitation much higher than what is forecasted for cities. If you can, check the weather report for a nearby ski resort to get an accurate idea of conditions at higher elevations. For every hike, you take during Fall, be sure to pack warm clothes and a rain jacket.
Avoid bad weather while traveling
In Vancouver, Fall generally consists of light rain with a few sunny days, but we can occasionally get intense storms. These storms usually involve a lot of heavy rainfall and wind, which is often caused by atmospheric rivers.
An excessively wet spring can be bad news for hikers who may try to cross a swollen stream or wade across a flooded river. Floods, storms, and rain can make hiking dangerous due to trees blowing over or rivers and streams rising. If it’s going to rain on your trek, postpone it until after.
Be Ready for Snow and Ice
While it may be Fall in the city, Winter begins early in the mountains. The highest mountain paths start seeing ice and snow in late October or early November in most years. Bring traction aids like trekking poles and microspikes to prevent slipping and falling on ice or snow, as well as plenty of warm clothing.
If you don’t want to brave ice and snow, there’s no need to – pick a destination near sea level instead! The majority of Vancouver’s low-elevation trails are snow-free all year.
Make sure to use Waterproof Shoes
On even the driest days, Vancouver’s trails might be soggy and mucky in the fall. Your walk may be ruined by cold and damp feet. Choose waterproof hiking boots or shoes that will keep you dry and muddy out.
Remember that the sun sets earlier in the Winter months
As the season’s change, so does the amount of sunlight we receive each day. In the Fall, evenings are noticeably darker than summer nights. The sun sets at 7:00 p.m. in September, but by October, we’ve lost an hour of light and sunset is at 6:00 p.m. In mid-November, it sets at 5:00 p.m., due to Daylight Savings time change.
Study how long you’ll need to get there and make sure you leave early enough to reach it before dark. And, in case you forget your headlamp or flashlight, carry one just in case – your phone’s flashlight is very powerful and won’t burn through your battery quickly.
Dehydration is still a risk, even when it’s not hot out and you don’t feel like you’re sweating as much. Bring lots of water with you. The water in many of Vancouver’s mountain streams appears to be clean, but it isn’t safe to consume without filtering or purifying. Typically, most hikers consume about 1L of liquid for each hour of hiking.
From bad weather to shorter days, there are a few things to keep in mind when hiking in Vancouver during Fall. But as long as you’re prepared, it can be a great time to explore the city’s beautiful trails.