Weekly Update 10/21/2010

Fall Color in Chiloquin, Oregon

Vibrant fall colors in Chiloquin, Oregon, near Sprague River Road.
Image courtesy Vikas Sharma

Oregon is filled with fall color against a background of green. The high Cascades are at peak color change. After weeks of incredible dry weather, rain is forecasted for most of the state this weekend and next week. Don’t waste any time – grab a jacket and head outside to see vibrant colors throughout the state!

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The colors are at peak in the high Cascades and nearing peak in Eugene and the coast area. The colors are at peak and really popping with orange and yellows along Highway 242 and near Hills Creek Reservoir near Oakridge. The Aufderheide Scenic Byway, FS Rd 19, is approaching peak color change with lots of yellow and some light reds. Brilliant red and orange highlight the drive to Bohemia Mountain Trail and the gate at Fairview Peak Lookout Tower. Yellow is the color of the week along the waterways near Eugene and the Coast Range. The big leaf maples are particularly brilliant at Mount Pisgah Arboretum when framed against the sober dark greens of Douglas firs and other evergreens.

Coast
Colors in the Coast Range are approaching peak. The colors along the south coast are just beginning.  Deep reds highlight downtown Coos Bay. The drive to Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area outside of Coos Bay is a good choice for scenery and foliage. Cape Perpetua on the central coast is at peak color change. For scenic views of both the ocean and foliage, hike along Captain Cook’s Loop Trail or Devil’s Turn and breathe in the sea air.

Willamette Valley
The leaves are approaching peak in the lower Willamette Valley and at peak in the high Cascades.  Corvallis reports a lot of red and gold in town. This is a great week for an urban hike along the Willamette River in Salem’s Riverfront Park, downtown Corvallis, Eugene’s river path system or other cities in the Willamette Valley. The Cascades are at their peak, making Highway 22 heading east a great road trip. For an ambitious fall drive, travel the length of the West Cascades Scenic Byway for color change at or approaching peak.

Greater Portland
The leaves are at or approaching peak color change in the greater Portland area. The Pearl District and the park blocks are a fun place to explore on an urban walk this week. Or drive the country roads, get lost in the corn maze and search for the great pumpkin on Sauvie Island.

Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
Lower elevations on Mt Hood are approaching peak and displaying a lot of color. Peak is expected soon. The Columbia River Gorge is approaching peak, although leaf watchers project peak color will be more than a week away. On Mt Hood, snap fall foliage photos along the creek on Paradise Park Trail off of Road 39, or drive Lolo Pass Road. A diversity of vegetation makes Lolo Pass Road a great fall drive, with a variety of colors already on display. In the Columbia River Gorge, drive to Rowena Plateau for great views. The history buff and cyclist will enjoy a ride through the Mosier Twin Tunnels.

Southern Oregon
Most of Southern Oregon is just starting to change color. Crater Lake is at peak color change. For a great weekend getaway, explore historic downtown Klamath Falls, or take photos at Watson Falls along the Umpqua Scenic Byway. Sample wines along the Applegate Wine Trail between Jacksonville and Grants Pass, and take Exit 61 off of I-5 for great fall scenery along Merlin-Galice Road.

Central Oregon
The leaves are at peak color change in Central Oregon. Displays of golden yellows, crimson and fire reds, purple plums and burnt oranges can be seen in Bend, Sisters, and in the Cascades.  Visitors should come quickly to catch this rainbow of color under sunny high desert skies. Visit the Mill district and walk the Farewell Bend Trail.  Hike Pilot Butte or up to Tumalo falls after driving over the Santiam Pass, then celebrate the fall harvest at the La Pine Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival.

Eastern Oregon
Most of Eastern Oregon is approaching peak color change. The Steens Mountains are past peak, and the tamaracks won’t peak until the second week in November. The Wallowa Whitman National Forest is seeing the biggest change in the aspen trees. Drive Highway 82 along the Wallowa River into the Canyon. In the Steens, drive to Kiger Gorge and along the Steens Loop Road, stopping at any of the many overlooks. The Malhuer Wildlife Refuge is still approaching peak, a good stop for weeks to come.

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