Vancouver Island enjoys the best weather in all of Canada. The island has a varied climate that allows for a wide range of activities all year round. Interestingly the weather in the Alberni Valley is microcosm of Vancouver Island in general. The weather in the Alberni Valley is influenced by both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The spring is a time of rejuvenation in the rainforest as the diverse plant life begins to emerge and the deciduous trees begin to grow their new leaves. It is also prime wildlife viewing time with all manner of mammals and birds beginning to move around again. Summers are ideal for exploring the Valley of Trails by land or water, as the climate becomes very warm and very dry. Fall is a magical time in the Alberni Valley, as the salmon return to the rivers from which they were born to spawn. This mass migration creates a sceptical along the rivers and ocean, as large animals of all sorts congregate along the water’s edge to feed. The winter may be the best season of the year, because unlike everywhere else in Canada, the lowlands of Vancouver Island generally stay snow free. Adventure seekers wanting to enjoy the snow need only drive a short distance into the mountains.
Spring is always a wonderful time to visit the Alberni Valley. The average temperature in the spring is 8.2 °C. The average monthly precipitation is 107.3 mm and the average monthly snowfall is 1.6 cm. Keep in mind that hiking season in mountains above 1,110 m usually doesn't begin until July, as routes can be snow-covered or muddy until then.
It’s not unusual for the Alberni Valley to set Canadian heat records in the summer. However, the average summer temperature is 17.2 °C. The average monthly precipitation is 28.8 mm. Thermal winds are strong and predictable in the Alberni Valley in the summer making it an ideal time for wind sports.
Fall brings average temperatures of 14.7 °C. The average monthly precipitation is 199.3 mm and the average monthly snowfall is 0.7 cm. River hikes are popular in the fall as the leaves change colour. The Vancouver Island Mountains usually receive some snowfall by mid-November.
Vancouver Island enjoys the most temperate winter climate in British Columbia, which allows for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, fishing and golfing even in January. The average temperature in the Alberni Valley in winter is 4.5 °C. The average monthly precipitation is 256.7 mm and the average monthly snowfall is 36.8 cm. Winter also brings vast snowfalls to the Vancouver Island Mountains – where it belongs.
What to Wear
No matter the season, it's advisable to bring wet weather gear.
Summer temperatures are warm enough for t-shirts and shorts, although sweaters and pants are useful for the evenings at higher elevations. The Valley of Trails is full of lakes and rivers so pack your bathing suit as well as sandals. A wind breaking jacket will also come in handy.
Layering is the name of the game on Vancouver Island. A raincoat or medium-weight waterproof jacket is a must for winters on Vancouver Island, preferably worn over a sweater as well as pants. You'll find micro-fleece and/or light-weight down is a popular layer as a vest or jacket for many of the local residents during this season.
If you're venturing into the mountains pack along wind-and-water-resistant winter wear, including a warm coat or jacket, gloves or mitts as well as a scarf and hat.