Weekly Update 10/20/2011

Peak colors are permeating the landscape at higher elevations in Oregon. From areas of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood Territory to the McKenzie-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, leaf peepers are certain to see some beautiful fall foliage this week. Pack your camera as you travel the state on scenic drives and at fall festivals.

Street trees in Eugene

Some street trees in Eugene and Springfield are at peak, but many are still at least a week away.

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The fall color change is at peak in higher elevations of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region, and near peak in lower areas. Big leaf and vine maple are in full color along Highway 126, Highway 242 and the Aufderheide Scenic Drive, while varieties of deciduous trees and shrubs are also displaying rich hues. Hike along the 26-mile McKenzie River Trail, or cruise through Clear Lake to take photos of of captivating colors. Navigate through Nearby Nature’s Haunted Hike or feast your eyes on a bit of culture at the Eugene International Film Festival.

Tillamook Forest Center

Tillamook Forest Center. Image courtesy Loren Nelson.

The fall color change is nearing peak along the Oregon Coast. Reds and oranges permeate the area around Coos Bay and the Tillamook Forest, while some yellows highlight Cape Perpetua. On the North Coast, check out the show at Seaside’s Got Talent or kick back at the Astoria International Film Festival. Linger in Lincoln City to sample craft beers and culinary delights at the Artober Brewfest, seek out some thrills at the Haunted Theatre in North Bend, and find some interesting fungi at the 12th Annual Yachats Village Mushroom Fest.

Fern Ridge Reservoir

Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Willamette Valley
The fall color change is happening in the Willamette Valley. Fallen yellow ash leaves line the roads, and spots of bright maples dot the skylines. Fly down the 40-foot hay slide or predict the winners of the Pigtucky Pig Races at the French Prairie Gardens & Family Farm 15th Annual Fall Harvest Festival. Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride at the Fresh to You Produce and Garden Center or sample some fun fall treats before stopping by the petting zoo at E.Z. Orchard’s Fall Harvest Festival. Hop aboard the Trolley of Terror for a tour of the haunted places in Albany’s historic district.

Greater Portland
The fall color change is still in the early stages in the Greater Portland area. The downtown is still pretty green though golds, oranges, yellows and reds are apparent in the surrounding area. Forge through the region’s vast beauty in Forest Park, or take in the scenery from the city’s highest point at Council Crest Park.  Enjoy a host of harvest-inspired activities at the Portland Pumpkin Farm & Twilight Maze on Sauvie Island.

Mt Hood

Thanks to late summer weather, leaves are still in the beginning stages of color change as you head up Mt Hood. Image courtesy Mt. Hood Territory.

Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge
The fall color change is at peak in parts of  the Columbia River Gorge, and just beginning in much of Mt. Hood Territory. Multnomah Falls is still in the beginning stages of color change; leaf watchers reported today that it was mostly still green. Traverse your way around Tamawanas Falls, Lost Lake or the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway to see the full spectrum of fall colors from the hardwood, vine maple and oak trees. Share your passion for autumn’s majestic beauty with artists and art enthusiasts alike at the Fall Foliage Studio Tour.

McMenamins in downtown Bend. Image courtesy Central Oregon Visitors Association.

McMenamins in downtown Bend. Image courtesy Central Oregon Visitors Association.

Central Oregon

The fall color change is at peak in Central Oregon.  Find the foliage at its finest along Mt. Washington Drive and Colorado Avenue as well as in downtown Bend. Watch for the tamaracks changing along the mountain passes before enjoying a performance from the University of Oregon’s award-winning men’s a cappella vocal group “On The Rocks” in Sisters. Tour the High Desert Museum for a history lesson that appeases the eyes or maneuver your way through The Maize, an eight-acre corn maze at the Central Oregon Pumpkin Company.

Eastern Oregon
The fall color change is near peak in parts of Eastern Oregon. The aspens are ablaze with color on the Steens Mountains between Fish Lake and Jackman Park. Spot a smorgasbord of scarecrows at Condon’s Scarecrow Contest or enjoy an afternoon drive along the Steens Mountain Loop Tour Route.

Mount Scott in Crater Lake National Park

Mount Scott in Crater Lake National Park. Image courtesy Andy Redick.

Southern Oregon
The fall color change is approaching peak in parts of Southern Oregon.  The landscape along the South Umpqua River has turned to shades of chartreuse to peach with prominent greens standing tall. Pack your lunch and camera to capture stunning views along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway.  Face your fears at the Field of Screams  or sample some of the season’s sights and sounds at the 3rd Annual Scarecrow Row Harvest Festival in Klamath Falls. Visit Ashland’s Lithia Park or the Rogue Community College Redwood campus in Grants Pass for a potpourri of colors including yellow, pink, gold and red.


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