Oregon Fall Foliage Update 10/17/2014

Clear Lake by Ilhoward via Instagram

Clear Lake by Ilhoward via Instagram

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
While the leaves are a week out from peak in the lower elevations, the fall colors are still playing a bit of hide and seek in the mountains. Sounds like the perfect excuse to get in the car and explore doesn’t it? We suggest a journey that leads you to one of the 7 Waterfall Wonders. With a bit of moisture on the horizon, we want to play in the rain. What could be better than tiptoeing down a forested path, tear drops of water sneaking quietly through the canopy of trees, and one spectacular reward of a waterfall at your journey’s end?

There’s plenty to keep you and the whole family outdoors this weekend. Join Ducks and Huskies alike in downtown Eugene and Springfield Friday night for Duck Downtown. Start the evening with a run with five-time 800 meter U.S. Champion and two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds at the 3rd Annual Nick Symmonds Springfield 800. Runners and walkers of all levels are invited to run down 5tth Street in the Historic Washburne District.

Oregon Coast
Light rains and cooler temperatures on the Oregon Coast are breaking in the fall season. With weather like this, it may be a good weekend to share a cabin with family or close friends. Try Fort Stevens State Park on the North Coast. This uniquely diversified state park offers views of wildlife, hiking trails that wind through forests of spruce and pine, and its own brand of fall foliage; needle dropping. Located just 10 miles outside of Astoria, Fort Stevens is the sight of a historic shipwreck, and houses remnants of an old military base. In Coos Bay, the South Coast Striders will be leading a group hike through Silver and Golden Falls. Choose the short or long route, and bring a sack lunch, raingear, and sturdy waterproof boots. Make friends, catch the last of the wildflowers, and get outside!

Willamette Valley
The leaves are at their peak along the McKenzie River. With colors ablaze and the rain setting in, this is a great week to take the Aufderheide Scenic Drive. Though Bracken ferns are fading to brown, big leaf maples are orange, yellow and gold, and other broad leaf varieties are showing off their fall splendor. Colors tend to be better closer to Westfir.

Washington Park by mikephotog7 via Instagram

Washington Park by mikephotog7 via Instagram

Greater Portland
It has been a crazy summery autumn this year – while some trees seem to have forgotten to change, others are morphing and quickly dropping their bits of wonderful color. The season has peaked, but whether or not you have gotten your fill of reds, yellows, and golds, you can be sure to get a good dose of orange this weekend. A must-see is the annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in the Tualatin Commons. After the pumpkin parade and weigh-off, witness these 1,000-pound pumpkin boats bob and weave on the waters as racers try to get to the finish line first. Not ready to call it a night after the races? For all you brave souls out there make sure you take a stroll through the Haunted MAiZE  at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. 

Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast near Mt. Hood by opinnkeeper via Instagram

Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast near Mt. Hood by opinnkeeper via Instagram

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
We’re seeing bits of gorgeous gold in the Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge areas. Conditions are a bit chilly (Mount Hood saw the first snow fall of the season!), but we think that we can come up with activities to keep you warm. Friends of the Columbia Gorge offer 35 Autumn Hikes throughout the Columbia Gorge while Rasmussen Farms continues the fun for the whole family at their Pumpkin Funland. For one weekend only, the Gorge Fruit and Craft Show is going on at the Hood River Co. Fairgrounds. Also, catch the 32nd Annual Hood River Valley Harvest Festival.

Deschutes River near Bend by Michael Burkhardt

Deschutes River near Bend by Michael Burkhardt

Central Oregon
Fall weather is here with its breezy days and light showers. Though season is at its peak, the beautiful fall foliage still pops against this newly muted backdrop. Aspens are in their full golden glory, and Bend’s Shevlin Park is positively aglow with these trees. Explore neighborhood streets, like Mt. Washington Drive or Colorado Avenue for brilliant displays of color. Venture further, and hoof it on a section of the Deschutes River Trail. The mile stretch between Aspen and Big Eddy is a brief holiday among willow flats and the sound of roaring rapids. Get there before the snow sets in.

Sumpter Valley Railroad by Base Camp Baker

Sumpter Valley Railroad by Base Camp Baker

Eastern Oregon
Color is looking great in Baker City. The urban forest has turned, and peak is expected within the next week. Geiser Pollman Park is an excellent destination for foliage seekers in the area. Located off of the Leo Alder Memorial Parkway, bordering the Powder River, this park has more than 100 trees of varying species and age. In Haines, sensational color can be found along Main Street, in Dick Camp Memorial Park. For those seeking adventure, tackle some gravel back roads and explore Burnt River Canyon, between Durkee and Unity. Exit the canyon, and continue to roll through the vast, open country between Unity and Herford. The drive provides great splashes of color set amidst rolling hills, and big, Eastern Oregon skies. This is also the weekend for the Sumpter Valley Railroad’s Fall Color Trains, a unique opportunity for those that want a steam-powered trip through beautiful fall foliage without making it an all-day event.

Lithia Park in Ashland by Graham Lewis

Lithia Park in Ashland by Graham Lewis

Southern Oregon
After weeks of waiting, seasonal colors have reached their peak in Southern Oregon. The valleys of the Rogue and Umpqua rivers are ruggedly scenic, and though the forecast calls for rain and snow over the next several days, it’s not too late to have a great fall experience. Visit the Fremont-Winema National Forest, and embark on the Billie Creek Nature Trail. Take Highway 140 from Klamath Falls toward Lake of the Woods. The trail is located off a dirt road that can be accessed just after the Lake of the Woods turn off, but before mile marker 36. This two mile loop trip is well forested, open through November, and begins on Rye Spur Trail. Dress appropriately, pack snacks, and keep an extra set of clothes handy for when the adventure is over.

Weekly Update 11/11/2011

Strong winds and steady rains have made way for winter, though Oregon’s fiery fall foliage is still abundant in several portions of the state. Gain an early start on your Christmas shopping at holiday bazaars or relax and enjoy the late autumn ambience on art walks and wine tours. Honor our Veterans at a variety of parades and patriotic events across Oregon. With the onset of wintery conditions in some areas, be certain to visit tripcheck.com before taking off on your adventures around the state.

The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The fall color change is at peak in the lower elevations of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Leaves are starting to fade and are completely gone in some higher elevations. Spark your holiday shopping while enjoying some tasty treats at the 16th Annual Holiday Food & Gift Festival or take advantage of pre-season sales at the Holiday Open House.  Sample over 20 coffee infused beers at the 16 Tons Coffee Stout Fest, including a local favorite from Oakshire. Bound your way through the brisk November air at Run with the President. Highway 126 and the Aufderheide still provide scenic drives though Highway 242 will be closed once it sees a bit more snow or ice.

Fall colors and blue sky in Astoria

Coast
The fall color change is at peak along some portions of the Oregon coast, while other parts are near peak. Bring back the sounds of summer by catching the Beach Boys in concert at Chinook Winds Casino Resort.  Before the holiday rush kicks in, women can savor some downtime at the Women Only Weekend. Tantalize your taste buds at Lincoln City’s Seafood and Chowder Cook-Off or sample some fine wines at the Seaside Downtown Wine Walk. With winter on the horizon, mark your calendars for festive family fun along the coast. Ring in the holiday season at the Shore Acres Festival of Lights or start your shopping at the Astoria Winter Market.

Willamette Valley
The fall color change is at peak in parts of the Willamette Valley, while the colors are starting to fade in other areas. View the work of over 30 artists at the 20th Annual Coastal Hills Art Tour. Start your holiday shopping at the St. Mary’s Holiday Bazaar or treat your ears to the sophisticated sound of Italian concert pianist Mariangela Vacatello. Treasure your freedom at Albany’s Veterans Day Parade, the largest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi.

Greater Portland
The fall color change is at peak in the Greater Portland area. Come in from the cold and experience some the area’s great museums including The Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro. The Portland Art Museum provides interest for all ages including The Artist’s Touch, The Craftsman’s Hand – a Japanese wood block print exhibit – or the LEGO Castle Adventure. Photographers and leaf peepers alike should take advantage of Free Admission Day at the Portland Japanese Garden where the colors are truly popping. Wander through Washington Park or Tryon Creek State Park for additional flourishes of stunning fall foliage.

Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge
The fall color change is at peak in Mt. Hood Territory and along the Columbia River Gorge. Reds, golds and oranges are exploding from the branches while easterly winds have started to knock down leaves. Find a sense of calm at Benson Lake State Park or watch the salmon swim upstream Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery. Spice up your holiday décor with a trip to the Country Christmas Bazaar.

Central Oregon
The fall color change is almost over in Central Oregon. Shuffle through an assortment of leaves at Drake Park or walk through downtown Bend where a few trees are still hanging on to their color, despite the early emergence of winter. Bend has a surplus of sites to enjoy the snow including Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, which offers downhill and Nordic skiing, while numerous sno-parks offer terrific terrain for snowshoers, Nordic and back-country skiers and snowmobiling.

Eastern Oregon
The fall color change is starting to fade in the higher elevations of Eastern Oregon. Take in the last bits of fall color along the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway or add some culture to your day with a performance from the Grande Ronde Symphony. Find some holiday stocking stuffers at The Art of Giving before prepping your investigation skills for the upcoming Ghost Hunters Weekend.

Southern Oregon
The fall color change is at peak in Southern Oregon, though more leaves are falling with each day’s rain. Catch the Southern Oregon Concert Band’s opening show of the season at the Veterans Day Concert “John Phillip Sousa: An American Patriot” or enjoy a variety of patriotic numbers while finding fresh vegetables and fruits at Kruse Farms. See some of the year’s best international flicks at the Archaeology Fest Film Series.

Hunting for Eastern Oregon’s Fall Colors

Eastern Oregon University library

Eastern Oregon University library, La Grande

Oregon’s east side is a landscape of diversity. Often pictured as “high desert,” this expansive region actually is home to five mountain ranges, the deepest river gorge in North America, two National Scenic Byways, three Oregon byways, and yes, a sagebrush or two. Fall golden colors are found in cottonwoods and quaking aspen along the rivers and trickling down gullies on the rolling hills like warm yellow honey. The bright red sumac bushes are stunning in the fall and often provide a nice respite for deer, elk, and even an occasional black bear. Lining the quiet streets of Eastern Oregon’s historic little towns, you’ll find maple, birch, and horse-chestnut showing off their colors. Not to be up-staged by the foliage, the geology also offers an amazing pallet in the rock and sediment formations of the John Day River Territory.

Painted Hills

Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Traveling to the eastern portion of Oregon does take a bit of planning for your fall color hunting trip. The tank needs to be full; the evenings will be chilly, so throw on a jacket and a pair of good shoes. There are plenty of options for accommodations and many great places to fill up the ‘tummy’ tank too. After a day of hiking or driving the scenic byways hunting for colors, a hand-crafted beer is definitely in order. Eastern Oregon’s six micro-breweries are becoming known worldwide. Pick up a ‘Beer Tag’ (yes, hunting is BIG in this region, even when hunting beers!) in Pendleton, Baker City, Joseph, Enterprise, La Grande, or Ontario and participate in this ‘Controlled Hunt’ to sample some great beers.

Union House
Union House

The best time to visit Eastern Oregon for colors is late September into November. Find more at: VisitEasternOregon.com