Fall Colors in the Tualatin Valley

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

Oregon relishes nature’s colorful transitions, with autumn in the Tualatin Valley serving as a prime example. The Tualatin Valley is just minutes from downtown Portland and is home to some of the area’s best farms, wineries and nature parks. Unsurprisingly, this rich landscape is abundant with the earthy golds, oranges, reds and browns of the changing season. If your heart tugs for a weekend escape—something that feels totally different than the city life—then head to Oregon’s Washington County in the Tualatin Valley for a burst of color and fall fun.

For a joy ride through spectacular fall foliage, take a drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving route through Washington County’s bucolic rural areas. While on the route, you’ll see the bright fruits of summer being outgrown by the jewel-toned crops of fall, with hues of barn red apples to earthy orange pumpkins to deep amethyst eggplants. The trees along the route boldly display colors of green, yellow, orange and bright red, which softly rustle against the wind that blows from the Oregon coast range air (making for optimal scarf-wearing weather).

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

For fall foliage viewing on two wheels, cyclists can hit the 50-mile Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. The car-less Banks-Vernonia State Trail is dense with growth and vegetation that is exploding with color, with pops of green making the golden hues more intense.

Of course, the Tualatin Valley’s fall colors also include the changing shades of its vineyards. The vineyard estate wineries in the northern Willamette Valley have vines with a beautiful ombré of colors, ranging from a vibrant green to a happy yellow.

Fall welcomes apple season, which is filled with vibrant colors of its own at farms like Oregon Heritage Farms or Smith Berry Barn. The red and gold streaks of a Jonagold and Honeycrisp apples are mirrored in the changing, crisp leaves of Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

The tranquil waters of the Tualatin River show how fall colors can provide an inspiring, yet simultaneously pensive moment. Striking foliage line the river and gracefully reflect its colors in the slow moving waters.

Everywhere seems to be alive and flourishing with the season’s magic. Photo buffs can capture fall’s most wondrous moments in the Tualatin Valley and enter their favorite pictures into the Focus on Fall Nature Photo Contest.

Jackie Luskey is a Digital Content Creator & Analyst for the Washington County Visitors Association

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