We are still basking in the tail end of summer here in Oregon; however a change is on the horizon. Days are getting a little shorter, students are starting back to school, and some trees, like our Oregon ash are starting to change colors. These changes are far from their seasonal peak though. Now is a good time to squeeze in your last bit of summer fun, but don’t be bummed out, fall has many treasures in store for us.
Our Mediterranean climate makes this state very conducive to drought tolerant conifers. The best places to look for our many broad leafed deciduous trees are in wet areas. Along rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, and wet prairies are the best places to look for these trees, but occasionally you can find an oak, maple, or ash dwelling in a moist patch of forest soil. Keep this in mind as you search for that picture perfect place.
Eugene, Cascades, and Coast
We’re already seeing signs of fall here in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Travel the Aufderheide Scenic Drive to see the color change before your eyes. Find the first yellows of the season along rivers, lakes and streams. Savor the final days of summer by strolling the booths of the Coburg Antique Fair.
The leaves are still pretty green in the Willamette Valley. Stick to the lower elevations to find the earliest colors. The 40th Annual Sublimity Harvest Festival kicks off Friday night with the truck and tractor pulling competition. Save some energy for Saturday’s fun run, parade and live music.
If you are in or around the Portland area this week you can take advantage of some urban forestry. Places like the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden host a variety of non-native plants that are none the less spectacular.
Among Hoyt Arboretum’s 1000 tree species is the dawn redwood. Considered to be a living fossil, this redwood is deciduous and changes color in the fall! Other trees to check out include the lacy leaved Japanese maples, which can start their color change as early as September.
Fun events to scope out this weekend in Portland include Musicfest NW. The multi-venue music festival will include hip hop, punk, and indie music. Marvel at the urban foliage as you munch your way through the streets of Portland on the Epicurian Excursion Tour.
Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
Green still covers the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. The warm temperatures provide the perfect centerpiece for a September hike to Oneonta Gorge. Experienced hikers can navigate to stunning Oneonta Falls. Climb, wade, and maybe even swim your way through this narrow basalt canyon, alive with green mosses and ferns.
The Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains are full of flora year-round. This is a great spot to watch the colors change. Surround yourself with a canopy of lemony yellow as you ride the Rogue River on a jet boat excursion. Outdoor recreation meets Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Performances continue through early November.
While few trees have started changing color, Central Oregon’s natural beauty and restaurants make it a perfect weekend getaway this fall. Fly fish along the Deschutes or Metolius Rivers, take the family to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery at Camp Sherman. Finish the day with dinner and a seasonal microbrew at one of Bend’s many breweries.
The high desert’s mix of amber hues and ponderosas paint the perfect fall picture.