Eastern Oregon offers plenty of gorgeous colors for fall hikers, and we’ve outlined a few of our favorites below. For more information on any of these hikes, contact the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association.
Steens Mountain – Fish Lake
One of my favorite memories is a fall trip camping at Fish Lake with my mom and dad. The quaking aspen were alive with both bright rusting orange and the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves. The hike along the Rim Road allowed for a peek down Kieger Canyon with rust, yellow and fading green against the dynamic backdrop of rock and sagebrush.
La Grande Historic Homes
One of my favorite fall walks is a leisurely stroll past the historic homes of La Grande. The beautifully landscaped lawns and the smell of the earth, all under the canopy of brightly-covered maple, chestnut and birch trees makes for a great afternoon or morning. The campus of Eastern Oregon University is particularly stunning during the fall months.
Hells Canyon – River’s Edge Trail
The entire Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is a fall treat, and many hikes are accessible from the Byway. A favorite is the hike along the river’s edge, below Hells Canyon Dam. The sumac turns bright red against the roughed rock formations, and holds a treasure of ash, greasewood and quaking aspen, turning yellow and red with some nearly purple hues.
Umatilla Dam – Nature Trail
The trail following the Columbia River near the Umatilla Dam is an amazing fall hike. Not only will it be a treat for the color-crazed visitor, it will also bring surprises to the bird and wildlife watcher. You’ll find upland game birds such as duck, geese, pheasants and quail. Smaller song birds are also plentiful, many gathering for their migration and singing special fall songs.
-Alice Trindle, Eastern Oregon Visitors Association