It’s time to welcome fall and the return of weekly updates to the Oregon Fall Foliage Blog! Looking at temperatures in the 90s throughout most of the state, it’s hard to believe fall is really just around the corner – but the spots of yellow on the big leaf maples along the Willamette River tell a different story. With the hint of fall around, Oregonians look forward to the first fall festivals this weekend.
Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The first colors to change in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast will be in the Cascades. Check out the 26-mile McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, where you’ll discover the bright blue Tamolitch Pool and the impressive Koosah and Sahalie Falls. Drive the Highway 242 portion of the McKenzie/Santiam Pass Scenic Byway to experience ancient lava flows and red vine maples. Try the short hike at Proxy Falls to see early fall colors. Some areas are closed this weekend due to heavy smoke from wildfires; check TripCheck.com for updated information.
Coastal streams are the true gems of fall on the Oregon Coast. The alder along the stream channels cut yellow swatches through the evergreen forests, red crawdads hide in clear pools, and fisherman cast into local rivers for silver fall Chinook. To make the most of your fall trip to the coast plan on driving, paddling, or fishing one of the many coastal rivers.
Kicking off September and the changing colors of trees along Highways 30, 26 and 101 is the annual Wheels ‘N’ Waves Car Show in Seaside this weekend. Automobiles from 1962 and older line the streets with a bevy of hues scattered amongst some remarkable and classic machines. Don’t miss The Broadway Cruise on Saturday, when visitors line the streets and the cars come alive as they cruise down Broadway.
Fall in the Willamette Valley is about cycling along the Willamette River, trips into the Cascades and finishing it all of with a dinner fresh from the farmers market and glass of Pinot noir. The bucolic fall scenes are marked by vineyards, yellow maples and orange oaks. The cities and neighborhoods offer the greatest variety of long-lasting color, so plan on parking the car and taking some urban walks. Find some thrills on Oregon Wine Country’s new Adventure Trails, where skydiving, hot air ballooning, mountain biking and rafting are all expertly paired with fine wines and craft brews.
For great fall colors in the city check out parks, the Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum. To see the city like a local, jump on a bike to explore the city’s eclectic neighborhoods and follow it up with one of Portland’s famous craft brews.
Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
Photographers look to the Columbia River Gorge for some of the best reds in the state, which turn late in the leaf-watching season. The column of white water framed by red maples at Multnomah Falls is a photographer’s dream. Other don’t-miss fall destinations: the Infinity Loop drive around Mt Hood, the golden pears along the Hood River Fruit Loop and the chance for the kids to catch a trout at Rainbow Trout Farm in Sandy.
Stretching from the southern coast to the high country, colors change at different times throughout this region. Look for early color change along the Umpqua River while hiking along the North Umpqua Trail. Weary walkers and wine connoisseurs will love relaxing with one of Southern Oregon’s wines. And whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, the deep blue of Crater Lake is always one of our favorite colors.
Central Oregon is still experiencing warm, sunny September days with only the cool nights and brisk mornings showing any sign of fall. Visit Central Oregon this fall for a beautiful drive along the Cascades Lake Scenic Byway or Bend’s Riverside Boulevard, which skirts Drake Park along the Deschutes River. This weekend, stop by the Sisters Folk Festival to see top folk artists and musicians and a singer-songwriter contest.
Fall in Eastern Oregon is all about beautiful light on a colorful landscape with spots of fall color. Bring your camera and drive scenic byways, ride scenic bikeways, walk miles of trail and breathe deeply. Look for yellow Aspen in the Steens, late season yellows from the tamaracks in the northeast corner of the state and splashes of color throughout the Wallowas. Start the season early with Hells Canyon Mule Days this weekend and discover the heart of Eastern Oregon’s Rugged Country at the Pendleton Round-Up September 14-17.