Oregon Fall Foliage Update 9/19/2014

McKenzie Hwy 242, image credit: Karen Roberts

McKenzie Hwy 242, image credit: Karen Roberts

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Fall colors are just starting to appear in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. The vine maples in the lava flow up on the high elevations of Highway 126 and Old McKenzie Highway 242 are the best bet for visitors this week. The striking contrast of the colors against the deep charcoal lava on Highway 242 and the glow of early fall yellows along the Covered Bridge Tour Route and Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove make this region a photographers dream this week. Don’t miss the Oregon Covered Bridge Festival in Cottage Grove on Friday and Saturday.

Note – Some trail closures are still in effect near Oakridge due to the Deception Creek Fire. Check the Willamette National Forest website for current conditions. The trails in the McKenzie Ranger District are open and in great condition.

Oregon Coast
Maples are aflame with red leaves and the weather has been extraordinary on the Oregon Coast. Drive on down Highway 101 and make this weekend a beach weekend. The Coos Bay area is hosting its 39th Annual Bay Area Fun Festival, and reservations are filling up quick! Challenge yourself to race in a 10K during the Prefontaine Memorial Run, enjoy the sights and sound of the south coast’s largest parade, and see classic cars proudly displayed via Cruz the Coos. Embrace the fall!

Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway between Albany and Jefferson, image credit: Oregon Wine Country

Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway between Albany and Jefferson, image credit: Oregon Wine Country

Willamette Valley
Afternoons still pack the heat, but mornings and evenings in the Willamette Valley are starting to provide a significant chill. Trees are keeping their green, and though the changing foliage is on the horizon, it’s not in the valley yet. Salem’s E.Z. Orchards is helping to escort in the autumnal feeling with Apples and Spice and Everything Nice, a local farmer’s market offering fresh-pressed apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. Nothing says fall like this mascot fruit. When you’ve had enough, walk it off with a hike through Silver Falls State Park. Make a day of it, or extend your stay and spend the night. Tent camping is available, along with heated cabins and yurts.

Greater Portland
Seasonal color is steadily coming on as green leaves lighten to golden yellow. Go for a walk in Portland’s Forest Park and take in an aerial view of the city’s new look from Pittock Mansion. Bushes and trees along the Columbia River Bike Path, as well as those bordering the roads to Sauvie Island, are also great places to look for color change. Allow yourself to taste the season as well. Celebrate the agricultural and educational roots of Forest Grove with its 50th Annual Corn Roast, or check out the flagship food and drink festival of the Pacific Northwest, Feast Portland.

Color changes in the Cascades

Color changes in the Cascades

Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge
While most of the fall colors still hiding behind the green, it’s all about fruit this weekend! The Pear Celebration, part of Hood River’s Fruit Loop, will be hopping Saturday and Sunday. Itching for a breathtaking drive? More than half of the Fruit Loop can be visited along Highway 35. Headed back to Portland? After all of that highway wandering, stretch your legs by taking a short 1.2 mile hike at Multnomah Falls. Take in a deep breath of autumn air at the top of the falls while taking in the view.

Downtown Bend with bright reds, image credit: Visit Bend

Downtown Bend with bright reds, image credit: Visit Bend

Central Oregon
The foliage is just beginning to transform in Bend and Central Oregon. You can see the beginnings of the beautiful red and yellow color change in the plantings around downtown Bend and in the Sunriver neighborhoods. The most vivid colors are the aspen in and around Black Butte Ranch just making the transition to gold. If you decide to visit Bend this coming weekend, don’t miss the Bend Oktoberfest and Heart playing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater on Monday evening. The drive to Paulina Lake is a rewarding scenic drive this week.

Ashland is seeing spots of yellow

Ashland is seeing spots of yellow

Southern Oregon
The weather is finally cooling down in Southern Oregon. Could this be the cold snap we leaf reporters have been waiting for? Colors are just slightly beginning to change, especially on trees along the banks of rivers. Explore a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and get a birds-eye view of the land as you gaze down from top of Mt. Ashland. Visit Roseburg and track the morphing of riparian foliage by foot or bike by taking advantage of the paths that border these banks. While you’re in the Land of Umpqua, celebrate Oregon’s bounty with this weekend’s Harvest Barrel Tour of Umpqua Valley Wineries. Enjoy the fall colors and the flavors they pair with so well.


6 thoughts on “Oregon Fall Foliage Update 9/19/2014

  1. Pingback: Oregon Fall Foliage Update 9/19/2014 — Orenco Photography Club

  2. Hi Darlene,

    Thank you for your Oregon Fall Foliage images. It looks like we did not receive them in time for last week’s weekly update. I’ll be sure to include them in our social media posts this week.

    Thanks, again, for sharing your fall adventures with us!

    Molly & the Oregon Fall Foliage team

  3. Hi Molly & the Oregon Fall Foliage Team,

    My wife and I want to come up from LA to catch peak foliage. Do you think the weekend of Oct. 17th would hit it pretty closely? We’d likely stay in Portland and head to the Columbia River Gorge or wherever the good stuff would be.



  4. Hi Steve,

    Typically, the last two weeks of October are peak for foliage in the Greater Portland and Columbia River Gorge area. The Gorge peaks a few days after the Willamette Valley, so I don’t think that you will miss anything. You can’t go wrong on the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway (http://bit.ly/1xD2ve1). From waterfalls to scenic overlooks, this 70 meter (113 km) route is a feast for fall eyes. In the Portland area, visit Hoyt Arboretum (http://bit.ly/1CBhwNl) and its 12 miles of hiking trails. Last but not least, another great place to see fall colors is at the Portland Japanese Garden (http://japanesegarden.com).

    Let us know if you have any more questions.

    Happy travels!

    Molly & the Oregon Fall Foliage Team

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