Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Autumn’s initial brilliance is turning down and leaves are falling in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast regions. Temperatures are steadily dropping though by afternoon a still glorious sun washes over the land. Recent rainfall has fattened up the Willamette River, and leaf hunters continue to enjoy this fashionable transition from summer to full blown fall.
In Eugene’s Alton Baker Park, one exquisite row of fiery, red-orange trees welcomes visitors to the path and pond.
Venture further on Day Island Road to the community garden, disc golf course and public dog park to reveal a vast, golden field of northwest color, somehow enhanced by brisk mornings and their lingering slate gray fog; a new color on the fall foliage spectrum.
With blustery days ahead, perhaps now is the time to cruise the Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive, a scenic byway otherwise known as Forest Service Road 19 that’s roughly an hour and a half from downtown Eugene. If the weather’s dreary, relax after your drive with a soak at nearby Belknap Lodge and Hot Springs and immerse yourself in the McKenzie River’s scenic beauty.
Halloween is fast approaching and local farms are offering their own brand of tricks and treats for this spooky holiday.
Take old River Road out toward Junction City to get lost in the corn maze at Lone Pine Farms or head toward Pleasant Hill to Conquer the Corn at Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farms. Indulge in fresh apple cider, caramel apples and delicious slices of pie as you explore the grounds. For more of a scare, wait until dark. That’s when things get haunted…
This weekend, the hands at Mahaffy Ranch in Coos Bay invite you to channel your inner creative, come to the farm and decorate some pumpkins! Located off of Highway 241 on the outskirts of the East Fork Millicoma River this fun-for-the-family destination has tractor-pulled hay rides, a U-Pick pumpkin patch and an all new corn maze. See the mythical looking Three Horned Jacob Sheep grazing the field
s and get into the Halloween spirit.
While in the area, make the day trip to Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area. A landslide in April wiped out a section of the road leading to the park’s entrance but the falls are still accessible by foot. Cross a barricade and hike the 1.5 miles to the trailhead. Park rangers in this area say the trek is completely worth it.
Vivid reds and oranges are abundant in Benton County. The season has reached its peak and gorgeous splashes of color can be seen almost anywhere you go. The Art Tour and Sale at Philomath Open Studios kicks off this weekend, allowing patrons to see various art studios while traversing the back roads of the city. Discover the colors of fall and gaze upon the work of over 30 local artists.
As a prelude to the art show, take yourself for a walk around the Beazell Memorial Forest Park, the largest park in Benton County. The park boasts multiple scenic foot bridges, several trailheads and an on-site forest education center. Lush vegetation has turned for fall. Be on the lookout for ferns and the plucky yellow leaves of big leaf maples nestled into the green of old growth forest as you meander along Plunkett Creek.
The Canemah Bluff Natural Area in Oregon City is a wonderful place to explore. Obtain that fall feeling as you gaze at the Willamette River and marvel at the vast network of natural life undergoing seasonal metamorphosis. Birders can spot sparrows, red-breasted sapsuckers, even hawks and eagles among the diverse landscape of Pacific madrone trees, Douglas fir, maple, alder and oak. Bring binoculars and good shoes, but leave your dog at home for this outdoor adventure.
Once night falls, take an eerie walk on a Halloween trail set up in the woods of Wenzel Farms. This fantasy trail is lighted and decorated with ghastly sights and sounds, including a 40 foot castle and a crooked house! Pumpkins and refreshments are available for those who make it out alive.
The Columbia Gorge is always stunning, no matter where you choose to stop and explore. This week, try a day trip to Tamanawas Falls. The 100 foot waterfall is close to Hood River and follows along the pristine waters of Cold Springs Creek. Though the trek may feel slightly overpopulated in the summer heat, the cool of fall is setting in, lending adventurers a better chance for solitude on the trail.
The weather in Bend is finally feeling like fall, leaf hunters report. A weekend rain provided much needed nourishment for the foliage we love to see though the splendor of the season is just past peak.
You can still see spots of color throughout Bend, from the Old Mill District to the Sisters Wilderness.
Explore the Central Cascades with a hike around Tam McArthur Rim, a trail with an elevation gain of 1400 feet that offers delightfully dizzying views from the summit. Look for hints of fall in native shrubbery along this rocky trek.
Colors in Baker County have reached their peak for the season. Find a painter’s palette of fall hues as you drive the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and enjoy wide open eastern Oregon vistas with green-to-yellow mountainsides of larch and tamarack trees. Aside from the byway, leaf hunters report that their favorite place to find color this week is the historic Geiser Pollman Park.
Ever wonder what it would be like if zombies came to town?
In La Grande, grave robbers have been disturbing tombs and have unleashed a plague of undead on Union County! Hunt them down at Night Fright Haunted House: Grave Robbers of Deadfall
Cemetery! Bring your loved ones and hold them tight, for this may be the Halloween you meet your bitter end.
Leaf hunters report that trees in the valley shine brightly yellow while higher elevations and hillsides are home to vibrant red and orange foliage. In Roseburg, visit the 1940’s built Stewart Park Old Green Bridge which crosses t
he South Umpqua River for a stunning sight. In Ashland, challenge yourself with some trail running on the White Rabbit Trail, part of Siskiyou Mountain Park. Though the accessibility level of this uphill trek is moderate to difficult, the views of the valley and peace along the trail will make the effort worth your while.
In the town of Winston, visit Wildlife Safari for a family-friendly evening of animals and fun at this year’s Harvest ZOObilee. There will be games, light displays, candy treats and prizes for kids of all ages. Imbibe hot beverages like cocoa and cider at this wonderful fall event benefitting the local Salvation Army.