Following Foliage in the Cascades

Old growth, deep-green Douglas fir populate much of the Cascades, so as I made my way to  Opal Creek Wilderness this weekend, I did a lot of peering into the understory. The Clackamas  follows the northern portion of the West Cascade Scenic Byway and the drive along the river’s shore is restorative…splashy sounds, hyper oxygenated riffles, white rapids that give me goosebumps, even from a distance.  The most striking foliage is still gathering force, although cherry-red vine maples and gold-colored oak have begun to peek out here and there. 

My resource at  Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals tells me that  nights up around Rhododendron have just started getting cool – down around the 40’s.  That and sunny days are the recipe for the most spectacular leaves.   She estimates that in the next week or so, colors will really start to change as you head towards Mt. Hood.

Opal Creek is a gem of a destination.  But, I had a lot of great choices.  I might have gone around the mountain for a day on the Infinity Loop and  returned home on the Historic Columbia River Highway.  I might have chosen to continue south with a drive into Oakridge that would have included a mandatory stop at the Brewers Union Local 180.  Taking the  byways in autumn means there are no wrong turns…just a lot of beautiful road in every direction.

Jae Heidenreich, guest contributor
Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory


2 thoughts on “Following Foliage in the Cascades

  1. Jim-
    Willamette and Santiam passes both reported seeing the first reds, yellows, and oranges. They predict 10 days until colors are at their peak. I’d hike or bike at Waldo Lake for some good early colors along Willamette pass this week or explore the Old McKenzie Highway, Hwy 242, from the McKenzie River to Sisters. Highway 242 reported the most color change.
    Let us know what you see this weekend!
    Samara, TravelLaneCounty

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