Oregon Fall Foliage Update 11/14/2014

While it may be late fall, the first “winter” storm of the season walloped much of the state this week, bringing rain, ice, snow, and wind and knocking many leaves off of the trees. Please check local forecasts and road conditions before you head out on a fall adventure.

Eugene by Instagrammer jamiecongedo

Eugene by Instagrammer jamiecongedo

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Eugene escaped the brunt of the storm with just a whole lot of rain, nothing a good pair of rubber boots and a waterproof coat can’t help. The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path offers a scenic, tranquil setting for Eugene’s cyclists and pedestrians any time of the year. Now, in the prime of our fall season, the path has become a portal to a warmly colored wonderland. Take this path, and allow it to lead you towards Delta Ponds. This protected wildlife area is a delicate habitat for many fragile species, with 150 acres of land housing more than 100 species of birds, numerous fish, and western pond turtles. The path is wheelchair accessible, and there are several places to park along Goodpasture Island Road.

The corridors of Highway 126 beg to be noticed. Driving toward the coast, roads are lined with ashy purples, brilliants tufts of flaming yellow, and lush, evergreen grass. The leaves have started to fall, and their color lends a lovely temporary coat to the ground. Even in misty rain, this drive is undeniably charming. Please note that McKenzie Pass (Hwy 242) has closed for the season. As always, check with TripCheck.com for road conditions before you head out.

McMinnville by doublemdesignandphotography 11.14.2014

McMinnville by doublemdesignandphotography

Oregon Coast
Mushrooms are running rampant on the Oregon Coast. Join fungi aficionados in Astoria and hunt for hearty edibles, such as chanterelles, king boletes, and lobster mushrooms. These guided tours are free, but you’ll need to bring your own basket for carrying home the day’s harvest. For fall color and a peek at some wildlife, visit Dean Creek Elk Preserve just outside of Reedsport. This viewing area is a year round residence for a large herd of Roosevelt elk and is located on Oregon’s scenic Route 38.

Willamette Valley
Embark on a moderate hike through the woods when you visit Peavey Arboretum in Corvallis. This 40 acre park, cared for by Oregon State University, is home to more than 100 different species of native and exotic plant life, and features a variety of pine, fir, and maple trees. Scout for fall color, but beware of poison oak on this four mile loop trail. In Molalla, hikers and horseback riders alike will enjoy the abundant wildlife and colorful displays of the Table Rock Wilderness area. Bring binoculars and a camera to savor these beautiful views.

Downtown Portland by Derek Walker

Downtown Portland by Derek Walker

Greater Portland
The streets of Portland are currently colored like an autumnal dreamscape. Cathedral Park, under the haunting gothic arches of the St. Johns Bridge, contributes to this with polka dots of freshly yellow trees. Set on the east bank of the Willamette River, the park offers walking trails and picnic benches for taking in the scene. In southeast Portland, walk the streets of Ladd’s Addition, an eight by ten block neighborhood of immaculate homes plotted on diagonal streets, lined entirely with American elm trees.

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
Snow and ice blanketed the higher elevations of the Mt. Hood/ The Gorge area this week. However, brilliant golds and oranges can still be found in the lower elevations. Your best bet is around the Molalla River Recreation Area.

Central Oregon
Fall colors have been replaced by fluffy, white, snow in Central Oregon. Stay inside and get a head start on holiday shopping at the Bend Local Holiday Bazaar.

Eastern Oregon
Take a walk down Main Street in Baker City, where people are friendly and trees are fabulously fall-ish. Snow has arrived, and more is on its way. Perhaps this is a good weekend to squeeze in a relaxing game of golf. Quail Ridge Golf Club is a beautiful 18-hole, par-70 course set at the base of the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon. Play the green while taking in the color of the season.

Southern Oregon
Our Indian summer may have officially come to pass, but in the Southern Oregon town of Merlin, leaf hunters can still enjoy the colorful warmth from trees that inhabit Indian Mary Park. Explore the park’s 61 acres, or find a great place to fish on the banks of the Rogue River. In Ashland, get a taste of the community when you check out the Tuesday Market. Here, you can shop for the finest in locally grown produce, and specialty foods from a variety of mobile kitchens. The season is wrapping up, so don’t miss out!

Oregon Fall Foliage Update 11/7/2014

Downtown Eugene by Brian Davies

Downtown Eugene by Brian Davies

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Every tree, everywhere, is in full fall bloom. The Pacific Northwest is spoiling us with all of this brilliant color, soon to become a beautiful autumn memory. The banks of the Willamette River, landscapes seen from car windows while cruising down the highway, views from Mount Pisgah, Spencer and Skinner Butte, all resemble a box of crayons. Color your day “fall wonderful” and explore Dorris Ranch Living History Farm in Springfield. The season has painted this riparian hazelnut orchard in bold shades of yellow and gold. Rain or shine, the paved Middle Fork Path path offers a pleasant walk from Dorris Ranch to Clearwater Park.

Portland Japanese Garden by Instagrammer upperleftusa

Portland Japanese Garden by Instagrammer upperleftusa

Bring the kids to the 7th Annual Play in the Rain Day at Mount Pisgah Arboretum. Learn about outdoor adventures for kids and get inspired to play year-round. Activities include tree-climbing, nature crafts, hikes, hay rides, campfire cookery, native plants, archery, a visit from Smokey the Bear and much more! Parking and all activities, including campfire food, are free.

The holiday season is upon us! In Eugene this weekend, Valley River Inn will host the Annual Oregon Handmade Holiday Market featuring 30 local Etsy.com vendors.

Oregon Coast
Alfred A. Loeb State Park in Brookings is a great destination for those hoping to arrange one final camping trip before unfavorable weather conditions takeover the forecast. Enjoy the colors of fall as you relax by a fire or fish from the banks of the Chetco River, all the while indulging in the scent of surrounding myrtlewood trees. In Coos Bay, Shore Acres State Park, off of Cape Arago Highway, is looking fall fabulous, so be sure to include it on your weekend itinerary. For North Coast dwellers, Cannon Beach is hosting its 27th Annual Stormy Weather Arts Festival. During this three day event, the city’s galleries will present special exhibits, artist demonstrations, and host receptions for their guest artists. Check it out!

View from The Kitchen at Middleground Farms by Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory

View from The Kitchen at Middleground Farms by Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

Willamette Valley
In Corvallis, take a stroll through the grounds of Oregon State University, where the weather is cool and the trees are on fire. Visit Salem, our state’s capital city, and wander around the campus of Willamette University. The historic brick buildings are picturesque with the seasonal backdrop of gold and yellow.

Greater Portland
In Portland, make the trip to Washington Park. This beautiful lookout point, located at the top of Skyline Boulevard, is surrounded by historic neighborhoods with well kept yards, and offers nearly instant access to a bevy of recreational hot spots. From here, you can easily visit the Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, and Hoyt Arboretum. Ride the novelty train through the park from the Oregon Zoo, or stop by the World Forestry Center. Washington Park is sure to have something for everyone. If traipsing this urban paradise leaves you feeling hungry, check out the Beaverton Saturday Farmers Market, featuring local food, produce, and craft vendors.

Multnomah Falls by Instagrammer patrickernest

Multnomah Falls by Instagrammer patrickernest

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
For great fall color, the Columbia Gorge has a variety of hikes and scenic viewpoints to choose from. One option is Horsetail Falls, a 2.6 mile loop trail located off of the Historic Columbia River Highway. This easily accessible waterfall is flanked by brilliant yellow aspen trees in a tranquil forest setting. Bridal Veil Falls is another excellent viewpoint for color, also located off of this highway. For more of a challenge and an excellent payoff, try Angel’s Rest, a 4.5 mile hike with a 1,800 foot elevation gain. Trek through a fern-filled forest to reach the summit, which overlooks Beacon Rock, and Silver Star Mountain.

Central Oregon
Snow, and other dangerous weather conditions set in fairly quickly after fall gets started. As a result, many state parks and trailheads experience closures after October. Perhaps this is the weekend for a drive on one of Central Oregon’s scenic byways. Take a ride on the McKenzie Pass – Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, a potential three to five hours of cruising that could take you through Mount Washington Wilderness, the Three Sisters area, and over the Santiam Wagon Road Trail. Make a pit stop at Sahalie and Koosah Falls, or on the other side, Proxy Falls. There are colors abound! Get out and catch them.

Lithia Park in Ashland by Bill Langton

Lithia Park in Ashland by Bill Langton

Eastern Oregon
For an incredible adventure in fall foliage, spend some time soaking in the Alvord Hot Springs. Set in the Oregon high desert at an elevation of over 4,000 feet, this remote location is open year round and offers immaculate views of Steens Mountain and all of its seasonal glory. The springs are more than 100 miles southeast of Burns. Remodeled in 2013, the springs feature a public parking lot, bathrooms, and even a small general store. Be ready to pay a $5 day use fee for this experience. In La Grande, check out the Nightingale Gallery’s 27th Annual Season’s Faire Exhibit. Now through December 6th, this exhibit will house the work of over thirty artists competing for a $1,000 prize! Support the arts if you’re in town.

Southern Oregon
Ashland’s Lithia Park is all sorts of spectacular. Trees may have reached their peak earlier in the week, but for now, colors are still blazing brightly. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Lakeview features a beautifully turned aspen forest and is home to several species of wildlife. Bring binoculars to help put these native plants and animals into focus. Outdoor marketplaces will soon retire for the season, so if you’re passing through Grants Pass on a Saturday morning, pull over for a showcase of the finest produce, specialty gourmet foods, and crafts from local artists. The Grants Pass Growers Market is second only to the Rogue River as one of the area’s greatest attractions. Plan a trip before November ends, or you’ll have to wait until next year.

Oregon Fall Foliage Update 10/30/2014

Currin Bridge by Instagrammer erica2

Currin Bridge by Instagrammer erica2

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Welcome to Eugene, Cascades & Coast, where pink and yellow trees dot the landscape and every neighborhood street is alive with the flair of fall color. This weekend, may we suggest some urban hiking? You won’t have to travel too far beyond your own backyard to immerse yourself in a wide spectrum of color, fleeting as it may be. Hike up Lincoln Street, beginning from downtown Eugene, and take it to the top. This pretty little stretch will tie a few miles under your belt, pass you through a wooded dog park, and land you in a graveyard, the Mount Cavalry Cemetery. Watch out for ghosts and goblins. Boo! The Fifth Street Public “Haunted” Market is all tricked out in pumpkins and cobwebs and ready for trick-or-treaters. Admission to the family-friendly event is three cans of food to be donated to Food For Lane County or $3.
Head to the Eugene, Cascades & Coast website for more Halloween festivals.

Eugene by Instagram naoyagram

Eugene by Instagram naoyagram

Oregon Coast
When the rains come, water levels rise. Check out Alder Glen Falls, an ever-changing waterfall in the town of Tillamook that flows with more gusto once the wetter seasons set in. Situated in a moss-draped setting of alder and maple trees along the banks of the Nestucca River, this spot is sure to please fall foliage hunters. Further south, things are getting spooky in North Bend. Experience CarnEVIL, a haunted house presented by the players of the Little Theater on the Beach. Ambiance will be complete with costumes, lighting effects, wicked music, and mazes that would fool a rat. The price is $5 for adults and $3 for those under 13, though the staff suggests that no very young children attend as the performances are scarily realistic!

Linfield College by doublemdesignandphotography

Linfield College by doublemdesignandphotography

Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley has reached its peak. Recent storms have made for dark grey skies, and vibrancy is dying off. Leaves are falling and snow is in the forecast for higher elevations, so get out and enjoy the last of the fall colors while you still can! Take a scenic drive to Silverton, and visit the Oregon Garden, open to the public 365 days a year and always offering something special to see. Throughout October, Wave Broadband will be hosting Scarecrows in the Garden, a fun, month-long display of locally made scarecrows. Vote for you favorite, and you might win an overnight stay at the Oregon Garden Resort.

Portland by Instagrammer bryangeli

Portland by Instagrammer bryangeli

Greater Portland
Greater Portland is looking good. The Camassia Natural Area, located 30 minutes outside of Portland in West Linn, is wonderful for walking about and viewing some excellent fall foliage. Volunteers with the Nature Conservancy have restored more than 26 acres of oak woodlands and meadows for public access. This is a great spot for birders. Ospreys nest onsite, and chickadees, warblers, and vireos can be found on the forest’s edge. To put yourself in a Halloween state of mind, make this your weekend to visit Pittock Mansion. Not only does this mansion overlook the city, it is also rumored to be haunted.

Oregon Garden

Oregon Garden

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
Rain should hold off this weekend in the Mt. Hood and Gorge areas, so take a walk in Tucker County Park. This park, located on the Hood River, is a go-to for locals, with its lush vegetation and easy access to the Columbia Gorge. Tucker Park is a designated viewing area on the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail and is sure to offer an all-inclusive fall foliage experience. Fish for trout in the river, explore the natural paths, and wind your way through this wonderful forest.

Central Oregon
The fall colors in Bend and around Central Oregon are somewhere between past peak and done for the season. A few trees have fully shed their leaves, but most are still showing their fall glory. A drive down Highway 20, near Suttle Lake, reveals orange vine maples, a white to yellow carpet of ferns, and golden tamaracks. Snow is coming, and soon, the Old McKenzie Highway (Hwy 242) will close for the season. This might be the last weekend to visit the Dee Wright Observatory and its 65-square mile lava flow, so seize this route before it becomes unavailable.

Eastern Oregon
Fall color in Baker County is at its peak. Depending on winds from seasonal storms, color is expected to remain vibrant for at least another week. The best colors right now are in the valleys, particularly in the towns Baker City, Haines, and Halfway. Higher in the mountains, the once glorious aspens are starting to bare their branches. Tamaracks, however, are still looking great.

Southern Oregon
A chill has spread across the land of Southern Oregon, rain and winds are here to stay. In areas where snow has not yet set in, leaf hunters may still be able to catch a glimpse of fall color. Head to the town of Gold Hill via 1-5 South, and visit the Oregon Vortex. Located beyond the bend of the Rogue River, and situated on the scenic left fork of Sardine Creek Road, this strange house was voted one of Oregon’s 11 Scariest Haunted Places. The light mist that Mother Nature is sure to provide this weekend will add to the structure’s unsettling ambiance, so grab a camera and plan your course. Happy hunting!