Our fabulous fall colors just landed us on the Huffington Post’s 5 Best Places to See the Leaves Change Color this Fall! The mention gets us even more excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks. The sweet summer sun continues to blanket Oregon in above-average temperatures, delaying the onset of the transformation. Weekend forecasts call for high winds, and a Red Flag Advisory is in effect through Sunday night from Portland south through the Willamette Valley and the Cascade Mountains. Check with TripCheck before you go to avoid travel delays.
Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Fall is just about to begin in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. The vine maples in the higher elevations along Highway 242 around Proxy Falls and Dee Wright Observatory are starting to turn raspberry reds. A fire is burning two miles west of Oakridge along Highway 58, which is included in the Red Flag Warning, so it may be a little smoky in that area. In Eugene, the warm September has made for splendid hikes along the Ridgeline Trail in the South Hills. Enjoy live music, a chili cook-off and a pie baking contest at the Veneta Harvest Festival.
Reds and even some oranges are starting to appear on foliage along the Oregon Coast, but color isn’t expected to amaze for another two or three weeks. If you’re heading to the coast from the valley, take Highway 38. This attractive stretch of road runs through Douglas County and provides beautiful views of ever-changing nature.
Though some leaves have fallen, color change has yet to begin in the Willamette Valley. Reds are beginning to show, but they still need the convincing of a cold snap to fully turn for the season. Until then, beat the heat with the 7th annual Septembeerfest, a craft beer festival held at the Benton County Fairgrounds. Boasting 60 different varieties of beer, mead, and cider, this event is sure to have something for everyone.
Temperatures remain high in the Rose City, and fall color plans to arrive fashionably late this year. Get a bird’s eye view of Portland with the Willamette BridgeWalk, a unique and interactive tour about architecture, history and industry. Proceeds from these tickets sales will support educational, artistic, and cultural programming that celebrates the city’s special collection of bridges.
Mt. Hood/The Gorge
Vine maples are shining stars for early signs of fall color around Mount Hood and The Gorge. See their evident reds along Highway 35. Take a drive to Lost Lake, located southwest of Hood River, where western red cedars line the shore. Rent a canoe with the family or enjoy a refreshing dip in the water as you gaze at the beautiful view of Mount Hood’s northwest face.
Fall foliage is just beginning in Central Oregon. Reds are popping up in the trees along the scenic walls bordering Highway 242 near Mount Washington and around Suttle Lake. Though impeding to color change, the warm, dry air has been great for summer hiking. Embrace this Indian summer and spend some time in Shevlin Park in Bend. With aspen groves and access to Tumalo Creek, Shevlin Park is the perfect afternoon getaway for hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, and people who like to fish.
The sun is still burning brightly in Eastern Oregon, making fall changes minimal at this time. For now, catch a magnificent sunset across the Painted Hills and visit the John Day Fossil Beds, an Oregon National Monument.
Trees are green in Southern Oregon, and the weather is hot. Grab your bicycle and feel the wind as you rip down the highly vegetated Dread and Terror section of the North Umpqua Trail. Many forms of flowing water make this 13-mile ridgeline trail unique, including Surprise and Columnar Falls, Lemolo Falls, and the Umpqua Hot Springs. Bring bug spray, and get set for an adventure!