- You’re keen to bask in the beauty of Garibaldi Provincial Park and see a turquoise glacial-fed lake.
- You’re inexperienced or unequipped for a wilderness hike.
- You’re short on time or want a short hike or won’t be camping overnight (although there is a campground, if you wish to do so).
You may be tempted to hike to Garibaldi Lake and Panorama Ridge. If you’re a professional hiker who has hiked alone many times, more power to you. However, the hike to Garibaldi Lake is four hours one-way, with an incredible elevation gain so I decided against it—perhaps when I return to BC with a hiking partner for safety reasons.
Then I came across the Cheakamus Lake trail. Pictures looked gorgeous, short distance and relatively low elevation gain. I could do this alone.
Cheakamus Lake Trail
Distance: 14 km however, Cheakamus Lake is a quick 3km from the parking lot
Time: 3.5 hours
Elevation gain: 78 m
After turning right on Highway 99, the drive to the Cheakamus Lake trail parking lot will be on a thin, winding dirt road. It will take close to 30 minutes.
Cheakamus Lake Trail Conditions
It’s a family-friendly trail surrounded by massive, ancient cedars. The path is easy to follow and there are signs along the way.
My Cheakamus Lake Hike Experience
This trail is perfect for a solo female traveler. I went at noon, met friendly hikers along the way and never felt unsafe.
Rain and clouds made the hike more breathtakingly surreal and walking through the gorgeous Fall colours was a bonus. I brought my umbrella with me, however the trees form a canopy so I barely used it. Although this trail can be done in running shoes, I recommend proper hiking footwear in the rain.
As I’ve learned throughout my travels, October is a good month to travel anywhere. The lack of tourists being the main reason, but also because attractions prices are less expensive off-season and the weather is still usually good. And Vancouver was no exception.
What was Vancouver’s weather like during October? Not a question I thought of when I spontaneously booked my trip one night in May. I know, *facepalm*.
My trip dates were from October 10 – 17. I regularly monitored Vancouver’s weather up until then. Rain and more rain.
Vancouver scenery in October
Dense fog obscures the peaks of vast mountainous landscapes. The bright reds, yellows, oranges of leaves barely hang off twigs, letting go in the slight breeze. Mist warps through massive yellow and green pine tree forests, the tops of cedars and waterfalls. The dewy, after-rain earthy smell fills your lungs with fresh, cool air. Tiny droplets on bigleaf maples. The sky, a dark grey instills a moody ambiance.
Vancouver in October is surreal.
Vancouver weather in October
Fall is the rainiest season so expect it to rain during your trip. Try not to avoid the rain or plan around it—embrace it as part of your trip or you won’t be going out much. This means wear appropriate attire. You’ll enjoy your trip as long as you’re dressed for the weather. The weather is also unpredictable. It can be raining one minute and the next can be bright and sunny. If you don’t own waterproof clothing, an umbrella is helpful. Carry it on less-intense hikes and use it to shield your camera while taking photographs (considering it’s going to be on a tripod). Trail running shoes or hiking boots with good grip are a must—the wet trails make it easier to slip on grass and rocks. You’ll find many hikers alongside you whether rain or shine and the fall colours make every moment spent outside worth it.
If you venture out of Vancouver, you may be caught driving on a road with no streetlamps while it pours. Be cautious and drive slowly. With poor visibility, you don’t want to come across an animal that may be out in the rain.
The temperature for October 2017 reached a high of 17°C and a low of 4°C. It was a bit chilly, but my hoodie and utility jacket usually provided enough warmth.
Things to do in Vancouver during October
Almost all attractions are open rain or shine, but check opening times beforehand. Many hiking trails are best hiked until November. A bike ride or walk in Stanley Park is great for experiencing Vancouver’s fall foliage. I began to prefer a rainy Vancouver. It was dark, moody and beautiful. I never hiked in the rain up until this trip, but I grew to like it.
There are several fall and Halloween activities going on. Fright Nights, Halloween Expo, the parade, pumpkin patches and train rides at Stanley Park to name a few.
October is fantastic month to tour other British Columbia cities. While it rains in Vancouver, it may be sunny in Squamish or Whistler so check the weather and take advantage of when to visit other cities. Since it’s colder in northern cities, make sure to dress warmer, pack a blanket, grab some coffee and snacks before you set out for the short road trip.
If I were to visit Vancouver again, which I will, I would choose to go in October in a heartbeat. The mountains, the mist, the fall ambiance… Vancouver offers an appeal I have yet to experience in Toronto.
Have you moved from Toronto to Vancouver? Let me know your experiences in the comments below!