Happy October, Oregon!

We are starting to see the first leaves changing around Oregon, hinting at all the fall color that is headed our way. Fall brings a magical beauty to forests, valleys and towns as leaves slowly start to change across the state. Below is a look at what our regions look like in the fall! If you’re a fall fanatic, check out this in-depth look at fall in Oregon for even more information.

Fall Foliage in Each Region

Portland Metro Area: Despite being an urban city, Portland is a great place to see fall foliage. Explore oak and maple lined streets in unique neighborhoods or one of the city’s many parks. Washington Park is a local favorite, featuring the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, and miles of trails.


Columbia River Gorge: Columbia River Gorge is a favorite of locals and travelers alike, all year long. In the fall, changing leaves stand out against their evergreen neighbors, creating beautiful contrasts. Due to the popularity of this area, try to go during the week and always have a back up plan in case the place you arrive is crowded. There is plenty to see!


Oregon Coast: While the coast may seem like an unlikely place to find fall leaves, in many places in Oregon the forest overlooks the tide. Take in some ocean air along with fall color in places like Drift Creek Falls. The Siuslaw National Forest stretches from just south of Tillamook to Reedsport, and Cape Perpetua features panoramic views of the coastline and forest.


Willamette Valley: If your fall foliage adventure includes breweries, wineries, and eclectic college towns, the Willamette Valley is your spot. Covered bridges and waterfalls are even more enchanting on a crisp fall day and there are so many to see. The Willamette Valley is centrally located and makes a great basecamp for those looking to explore various regions.


Central Oregon: Due to its higher elevation, Central Oregon is likely to see fall colors a little sooner than those in the valley. Known for groves of aspen, vine maple and sunny days, this area is perfect for those seeking outdoor adventure thrills. Central Oregon is another popular destination year round, so if you go, remember to keep your distance, wear your mask, and help keep the community safe for those who live there.


Southern Oregon: Some of the best color in Southern Oregon is in it’s prettiest parks. Lithia Park in Ashland is well loved for its display of brilliant fall color, as is Hawthorne Park in Medford. Southern Oregon is also a perfect basecamp for enjoying the beauty of Crater Lake in the fall.
Eastern Oregon: Full of rugged charm and wide open spaces, Eastern Oregon also hosts some amazing forest wildernesses. For those interested in leaf peeping, check out Umatilla National Forest, Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Wallowas, or the Steens Mountain Wilderness in the south east.

For more information about color forecasts, visit this interactive map – https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/
Happy leaf peeping!

Know before you go: Please keep in mind Oregon is currently experiencing unprecedented fires across the state, including many areas that are well known for their fall color. Before you visit, plan your route with TripCheck to avoid closures, and stay up to date on statewide travel alerts from Travel Oregon. Many areas of the state are unaffected by the fires and staying informed is the best way to have a great experience! And as always, we are here to help if you have any more questions. Find more information on things to do in the fall here.

Bonus spots!

Eugene and Cottage Grove are incredible places to explore fall foliage. In Cottage Grove, discover historic covered bridges nestled among the changing leaves. In Eugene, hike your way up Spencer Butte for shady paths and 360 views from the top. Or, stroll down the Ruth Bascom path or visit Clearwater Park for great views on leisurely trails.

In Corvallis, the Chip Ross Natural Area offers hikes through mixed forests and views of the valley: https://www.visitcorvallis.com/articles/chip-ross-park-natural-area
Additionally the Fitton Green Natural Area also has some excellent hiking, oak forests, and amazing views: https://www.visitcorvallis.com/articles/fitton-green-natural-area For Travel alerts and travel updatesfor Corvallis & Benton County visit: https://www.visitcorvallis.com/corvallis-benton-county-covid-19

In the North Willamette Valley, explore over 130 acres in Miller Woods. Find opportunities for all ages to experience and enjoy the dynamic wonders of nature, and learn about forestry, wildlife, soils, watershed health, native plants, and the role of people in the landscape. Located three miles west of McMinnville and available for public hiking (easy, medium, and challenging trails available). Reservations required; visit https://yamhillswcd.org/miller-woods/ for more information!

The Abbey, located outside of Amity, Oregon, is a monastery of Cisterian (Trappist) monks who are devoted to a life of contemplative prayer, manual labor, spiritual study, and hospitality. Their Forest Hospitality Mission welcomes all guests to a safe and spiritual environment of natural beauty to reflect, pray, heal, and grow. Miles of forested trails are available to guests, with several viewpoints for those seeking impressive fall foliage. More information is available here: https://trappistabbey.org/hiking-trails

Falling through Oregon

Autumn is in full effect and the fog and crisp air have come to Oregon. The comfort-seeking weather welcomes visitors to embark on cozy outings, prop up at coffee shops, and take a dip in our hot springs! All around Oregon there are many geothermal hot springs that welcome visitors with a warm presence. There is no better time to take a soak than during the Autumn, when all the fall foliage colors are at their peak.

Fall Foliage in Each Region

Portland Metro Area: Portland is beginning to be past peak for fall foliage while Southern and Eastern Oregon still have some fall foliage remaining. There are still some fall colors, but they are predicted to begin to change within the next week.

Columbia River Gorge: Columbia River Gorge is beginning to be past peak for fall foliage. There are still a lot of yellow maples as well as some oranges, but they will most likely begin to change colors within the next week.

Willamette Valley: The Willamette Valley is currently in peak fall foliage and some leaves have begun to fall off trees due to some rain. Halloween will bring the leaves in the Willamette Valley to past peak, while Southern Oregon will still be colorful.

Central Oregon: Central Oregon is at peak fall foliage and there are a lot of reds, oranges, and yellows. This next week will be the best time to visit Central Oregon for fall foliage.

Southern Oregon: Southern Oregon is coming into its peak for fall foliage with some yellows and oranges.

Eastern Oregon: Eastern Oregon is in its peak for fall foliage this season. There are a lot of yellows and the leaves are predicted to stay in color for the next week.

Bagby Hot Springs

Hidden among fir trees along the Clackamas River, southeast of Estacada, lies Bagby, a popular Oregon destination featuring cedar plumbing and handcrafted tubs. A 1 ½ mile hike through the forest leads you to the day-use facility, which is managed by the Forest Service. Bagby has a $5 cash only soaking fee and camping is available for an additional cost at nearby Bagby Campground.

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Terwilliger Hot Springs

Terwilliger Hot Springs (AKA: Cougar Hot Spring) is accessible via a windy scenic mountain drive on the Aufderheide Drive, and then a short hike to six natural pools in a gorgeous waterfall setting under shady trees, surrounded by new vegetation springing up from a recent wildfire. The spring is day use only, strictly enforced by the Forest Service. Clothing is optional in the pools, and soakers can utilize changing areas and nearby bathroom facilities. $7 cash per day (Children under 12 free). No camping. Recreation passes not required but it is important to note that camping is not allowed, however, camping is available nearby.

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Paulina Lake Hot Springs

Located near the Newbury Volcanic Monument in the Deschutes National Forest, you can hike 1.2 miles to soak along the sandy banks of Paulina Lake overlooking the serene Cascade range. We recommend calling the ranger station before heading out on your trip as sometimes lake levels affect access during the colder months. Paulina Lake and Little Crater Campgrounds are close by, have potable water and restrooms but it is worth nothing that they are only open May – October. Dispersed camping options are located nearby at North Cove Beach if you visit in the off season.

 

Umpqua Hot Springs

Located near the impressive Toketee Falls is the equally impressive Umpqua Hot Springs. The springs boast a birds’-eye view over the Umpqua River with loads of hiking trails nearby. The site features a tub with six small shallow pools carved into the hillside. Restrooms are available and parking access is available for $5 a day, which is managed by the Forest Service. The hot springs are day use only, but nearby camping is available at Toketee Lake Campground. Recreation passes accepted at this location!

 

Alvord Hot Springs

At the base of the majestic Steens Mountain range and edge of the Alvord Desert lies the idyllic Alvord Hot Springs. The rustic structure and wooden deck add to the charm of this isolated desert soaking spot. The crisp fall air is the perfect juxtopsotiion to the geothermal springs. Public access is $8 a day managed by the Alvord Ranch (Children under 12 free). Changing rooms and a gift shop are on-site as well as overnight camping for a small fee.