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The Okanagan Valley is best explored in its autumn glory which may come as a surprise many.
Summertime offers visitors jaw dropping views of the lakes and mountains and an endless array of vineyards and wineries. The valley is also an outdoor mecca for hiking, boating and mountain biking.
If that weren’t enough to get your outdoor spirits rejoicing, the area draws tens of thousands of winter lovers from across the continent. Visitors flock in for the winter season to take advantage of knee deep champagne powder skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in its alpine play-land.
Unfortunately the unbeatable outdoor views and attractions bring with them the bustle of vacationing crowds! A dry desert heat preventing many from straying far from the poolside. Then the short winter days limiting the availability of outdoor experience hours.
For this reason, the best season to visit the Okanagan Valley is the Autumn season.
Busloads of Space
The area slows to a more comfortable pace as the busloads that crawl the valley during summer all but evaporate. Rather than brawling for parking at the valley’s best wineries and lining up for a taste of the fabulous wines, the experience becomes personal. Taste at your leisure while you absorb all the character and tidbits of the welcoming vintners.
Many of the local wineries reserve the best views for their restaurant patrons making a delicious farm to table meal an extraordinary event. The low season also ushers in a happy hour menu at many wineries providing a perfect excuse to sit back and share the experience with your new favourite vino.
As the motherland to boating enthusiasts, the lakes of the Okanagan Valley are overflowing their banks during the summertime session. Once the calm of Autumn arrives, the lakes stand still leaving a refreshing space for all nautical adventurists.
Whether you’re into skiing, kayaking, wake boarding or just cruising around you’ll find the experience much more relaxing and enjoyable in the shoulder season.
The Natural Transitions
Most of the country begins slumbering in for the grips of winter come October. However, the Okanagan Valley’s arid climate extends the warmth and sunshine long into fall.
The high elevation desert landscape begins to green as the agricultural belt of fruit trees and vineyards transition to a sea of oranges and reds. The brilliantly bright colours reflect in the deep blue lake backdrop giving endless postcard scenery in all directions.
September brings another type of visitor to the Okanagan Valley. During the annual Salmon Run spectators can see nature’s frantic migration of Kokanee and Sockeye Salmon.
The scores of salmon race up the rivers and streams to spawn a new generation in their original birthplace. The run is an annual event lasting up to a month in duration however, numbers peak every fourth year.
Ripe For The Picking
The regions agricultural belt is well into bloom come early fall. It’s a fantastic time to indulge in some fresh apples, pears and plums straight from the tree. There are a variety of u-pick farms to visit or take advantage of the valley’s many road side fruit stands.
At Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park the fall harvest litters the lawns and walkways with Walnuts, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts and Butternuts. Visitors can collect to their hearts desire or purchase pre-collected bunches by the pound. As a Regional District Park all the proceeds go towards the rehabilitation and upkeep of the grounds. So roast your chestnuts for the good of the land.
Local honey is also being harvested from the courtesy of the tireless effort of the area’s bee populations. The honey is reason enough to visit the valley’s keepers like Arlo’s Honey Farm, however, Honeymoon Mead is bottling batches batches of their home crafted honey wine. Meanwhile artisans throughout the region are crafting candles, soaps, lip balms and lotions for local shops and markets.
The Rise Of The Fall
Autumn marry’s the infamous adventure of the Okanagan Valley with a peace that the natural spectacle deserves. Though there’s never a bad time to explore the valley’s many exciting facets, the fall brings the best to all adventuring travellers. For a great idea check out our Pedalling For Pints post where were cycle Kelowna’s micro breweries.
So make your next pleasureful autumn adventure to where the summer stays late and the crowds leave early. See you there!