Officially Fall – Where to go, What to do!

It’s really begun! Colors are undeniably morphing into their fall splendor and leaf hunters are taking note. Here are some hot spots for checking out the new hues. One of the best ways to admire change in Eugene is with a hike to the top of Skinner’sButte where you can have a seat on the edge of the giant yellow Oregon O and look out over the whole city. Mt. Pisgah is another classic vantage point, situating you high above savannahs of mighty oak and fields of golden, waving grasses.

Vine Maples Starting to pop from the McKenzie River Ranger District

Vine Maples Starting to pop from the McKenzie River Ranger District

In the Cascades, temperatures are staying summery.

This weekend, welcome October with a camping trip! Take some time to yourself in the relaxing, riverside atmosphere of Paradise Campground located off of Highway 126, or pass Belknap Hotsprings and set your tent at Trailbridge. Hikes in this area, like the four mile trek to Blue Pool, are sure to please. For higher elevation and brilliant vine maples, spend the night at Cold Water Cove, a campground close to the stunning waters of Clear Lake.

Oregon Coast
Near Coos Bay, leaf hunters are starting to see some wonderful reds and amazing blends of orange-yellows coming from native vine maples. It’s not yet peak, but leaves are definitely painted. Look for changes and have an overnight’s stay in Sunset Bay State Park, just a stone’s throw from the wind-swept cliffs of Cape Arago. Temperatures are expected to be quite comfortable and campfires are permitted at this time.

Colors start to pop in the Nestucca Forest by SkyVista Photography/Steve Luther

Colors start to pop in the Nestucca Forest by SkyVista Photography/Steve Luther

Wind down from a lovely day hiking along the beach by toasting marshmallows over an open flame. Perhaps you could also sneak in some mushroom hunting as they are abundant this time of year.

Go off the beaten path to find chanterelles, lobsters, and the more elusive morels! Cooking foraged fungi is extremely rewarding, and very fall.

The Fall view from the Willamette Valley Vineyards by Willamette Valley Visitor's Association

The Fall view from the Willamette Valley Vineyards by Willamette Valley Visitor’s Association

Willamette Valley
Tree-lined streets in Downtown Salem are all shades of red, lime, yellow and orange and many downtown eateries have outdoor dining with a view. Find a seat and grab lunch at the newly opened Gayle’s Italian Market where you can indulge in artisan wines, fresh pastas and hearty harvest soups. Once you’ve had your fill, head into the wild for a weekend at Fisherman’s Bend Campground located off the Santiam Highway. Here, you can take a leisurely stroll along a one-mile nature trail and enjoy views of the North Santiam River and its surrounding wetland habitats.

Greater Portland
Portland is popping with manicured color on city streets and private lawns. Spend an afternoon traipsing the neighborhoods of the Nob Hill district with hot beverage in hand and immerse yourself in the beauty of historic homes. Venture further into the natural world and challenge your body with a 10.9 mile loop hike from Angel’s Rest to Devil’s Rest. This hike will lead you to amazing viewpoints, past waterfalls and offer an aerial view of a forest regenerating itself from a 1991 fire. A favorite among local this trail has an elevation gain of 2770 feet and is open all season.

Mt. Hood/Gorge
This weekend visit the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint for an absolutely breathtaking view of the Columbia River Gorge. Hope for a double rainbow and clear skies as you gaze across one of Oregon’s natural wonders. Afterwards, visit the yards at the Columbia Gorge Hotel. Stand above and then trace the origin of the hotel’s towering waterfall. Upon walking along this surprisingly shallow waterway, you may discover a plaque on the ground revealing a time capsule buried in 1991; a gift from the Portland Women’s Forum! What a way to come full circle with your fall adventure.

Bond Street (Bend, OR) Lined with Gold from Visit Bend

Bond Street (Bend, OR) Lined with Gold from Visit Bend

Central Oregon
Leaf hunters assure that Central Oregon experienced a beautiful first weekend of fall. A few trees have reached peak while some are only starting to change. The aspens of Shevlin Park are holding onto their green, but Bond Street, between Arizona Avenue and the Old Mill District, is lined with gold. For a great adventure and possible brisk fall swim, hike the Green Lakes Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Drive the Cascade Lake Scenic Byway to the trailhead and embark on this 12 mile loop hike that spans the southern edge of Green Lakes to the Broken Top Trail, to Soda Creek Trail and ending back at the Green Lakes trailhead. Terrain will change along with wonderful walkway, and the colors of foliage and the lake’s water will dazzle!


Eastern Oregon
In Eastern Oregon, throw your binoculars around your neck and spend a day in Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge in Umatilla. This riparian woodland habitat is home to songbirds and water birds, like red-eyed Vireo and white-faced Ibis. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and seasonal changes.

On October 3, the town of Elgin invites visitors to experience an Autumn Train Robbery when they hop on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train and ride it through the Wallowas. For a fee, enjoy a plated meal as you chug through this enchanted countryside. Meanwhile, the notorious Gold Rush Bandits will be hiding and waiting for the train to roll into their territory then they’ll flag it down and climb on board! Yeehaw, partner! Welcome to fall in the Wild West.

Southern Oregon
The Cow Creek Tour Route, just south of Roseburg, is a 45 mile scenic byway passing drivers by picturesque farms and ranches and into deep forest in Cow Creek Canyon. Massive rock outcroppings and small waterfalls can be seen bordering this quaint stretch of road.

Colors popping at Crater Lake Lodge from Xanterra Parks and Resorts

Colors popping at Crater Lake Lodge from Xanterra Parks and Resorts

Once through Tunnel No. 1 of the historic Oregon and California Railroad, you’ll have an opportunity to pull over and pan for gold! Look for salmon in the water, and notice how hardwood leaves are turning to bright red and yellow. While so close to Roseburg, consider stopping off at the Umpqua Brew Fest where “it’s all about the water” the weekend of October 10.

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2 thoughts on “Officially Fall – Where to go, What to do!

  1. We are planning visiting Oregon the week end of Oct 23 to 27. Please let us know where is the best place to see Japanese Maple foliage?
    Thank you.

  2. Ashland’s Lithia Park is known to have incredible fall colors, and they have a few Japanese Maples as well. Portland’s Japanese Garden is a great spot for those of course as well, but unfortunately they are closed this year.

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