Weekly Update 10/28/2010

Hills Creek Reservoir, Oakridge, OregonHills Creek Reservoir in Oakridge, Oregon

With many regions reporting peak color changes, this is a wonderful week for exploring Oregon’s gorgeous fall foliage.  Lower elevations are reporting vibrant peak colors, while much of the higher elevations around the state saw the first snowfall of the season. This a wonderful week to see the beautiful contrast of bright fall color and fresh white snow; just be sure to check road conditions before you drive to the higher elevations. With Halloween weekend quickly approaching, there’s also plenty of harvest celebrations to enjoy while you marvel at the peaking street trees in many of the Oregon regions.

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Fall color is at or near peak in Eugene and at the central Oregon coast and just starting to fade in the Cascades. The red osier dogwoods of Eugene and Springfield are near peak, while the big leaf maples are peaking and the ash trees are just starting to fade. Hike along “Theodore’s Trail” at Mount Pisgah; you’ll get a stunning view of the farmland along Seavey Loop and the brilliant colors of the trees along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. For Halloween fun, visit the largest collection of jack-o-lanterns in the Northwest at the Fifth Street Public Market. In the Florence area, leaf watchers expect to see the brown crunchy leaves falling to the ground very soon. The first snow has fallen along the McKenzie River, offering a striking contrast of white snow mixed with bright red leaves. Bundle up and visit Sahalie and Koosah Falls this weekend for beautiful views.

Coast
The leaves are at peak along most of the coast. This past week brought plenty of wind and buckets of rain to the northern Oregon coast, so maple leaves with the bright yellow and red tinge of fall colors are barely hanging onto the stems. The leaves are brought down during rain showers, leaving a trail of color scattered on the streets. Travel west along Highway 26 from Portland to the Oregon coast for a nice scenic drive. Coos Bay is at peak this week, with rich red and gold maples throughout town. Drive the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway from Reedsport to Coos Bay for the best views.

Willamette Valley Fruit Farm
Have some family fun this weekend at the Willamette Valley Fruit Company in Salem, offering hayrides, a barrel train, a corn cannon, and of course, plenty of pumpkins.

Willamette Valley
The leaves are at or just past peak in the Willamette Valley. Colors in Salem are at peak or just starting to fade, and the Cascades and Coastal Range are past peak and fading. The urban walks in the towns of Oregon Wine Country are the best bet for viewing fall color this week. Wander along the Willamette River at Salem Riverfront Park or the Eugene and Springfield Riverbank Trail. Visit the Mushroom Festival at Mount Pisgah Arboretum to see the big leaf maples popping with a glorious yellow-orange all over the mountain.

Greater Portland
The leaves are at peak color change in the greater Portland area. Right now, it is impossible to miss the fall color, no matter where you are. Stroll the Park Blocks downtown, NW 23rd Avenue in Nob Hill or the streets in the Hawthorne area to see some of Portland’s charming neighborhoods brilliant with seasonal color. This weekend, visit the Portland Farmers Market on the Park Blocks downtown, or head out to the pumpkin patches in Sandy, Oregon.

Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
Lower elevations on Mt Hood are at peak and displaying a lot of brilliant reds, yellows and golds. With snow in the higher elevations of Mt Hood, now’s the time to snap a photo of the beautiful contrast of fall color and winter white. Multnomah Falls is peaking, and leaf watchers expect 1-2 more weeks of brilliant colors. Hike the Horsetail Falls Loop in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to get breathtaking views of the Oneonta Gorge and Canyon.

Southern Oregon
The leaves are at or approaching peak in most of Southern Oregon. Fall color is fading at Crater Lake and being replaced with a fresh batch of snow. Ashland reports reds and yellows with a backdrop of green. Take in the rich fall color while hiking a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, or take the kids to the Halloween Costume Parade. Grants Pass and Klamath Falls are just reaching peak and displaying a nice range of red, orange and yellow. Drive down towards Indian Mary Park, or take your family to visit the corn maze at Fort Vannoy Farms for Halloween.

Central Oregon
The leaves are at peak and just beginning to fade in Central Oregon. Our leaf-peeping friends in Bend recommend warming up with a bowl of chili at the McMenamins Old St. Francis Pub, where you can see the full range of red, orange and yellow against some remaining green. Continue along the Bend Ale Trail, where your journey of delicious brews will lead you to a commemorative Bend pint glass.

Eastern Oregon
Most of Eastern Oregon is approaching peak color change. The Steens Mountains are past peak, and most of the leaves have faded and fallen. Hike near Big Indian Gorge to get the last views of fall colors. The Wallowa Whitman National Forest is seeing a wide range of reds and yellows, and Hells Canyon is packed with a rainbow of fall foliage.

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