Find highlights on where to find fall color now around Oregon with weekly color reports from our regional Leaf Reporters, and some trip planning ideas from Adventure Specialist, Gabrielle Lent. Projections are for mid-October for peak across much of the state, but as you’ll see here we’re hearing that some color is really starting to show itself!
Read on as Gabrielle highlights more hotspots in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon this week!
FALL FOLIAGE SPOTTING UPDATES:
(note: information based on responses from our leaf reporters by 9/30/2016)
- Fall foliage in Bend and around Central Oregon has been reported as near peak as colors are starting to really pop among the Aspens at Shevlin Park. Many trees around town are golden with some that haven’t started showing yet.
- Events to look out for this weekend include Fall Festival in downtown Bend and the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival on Saturday. Find more on those events here.
- Eugene’s color is starting to show off well in town, with much foliage near the outskirts standing at just-before color change.
- With the weekend’s projected rain and colder weather coming in, we forecast more color coming in soon!
- Around Steens Mountain is looking spectacular. Color change is really popping and could be near peak in this area of Eastern Oregon.
- Baker City has a lot of splashes of color popping up in town among Sage and Button Brush, but many trees are awaiting the cooler weather to join the color chorus. Tamaracks in the Elkhorns and Wallowas (and other spots of higher elevations) are just starting to turn.
- Fall road trips to hit near Baker County include Elkhorn Scenic Byway through the Elkhorn Mountains, the towns of Sumpter and Haines, Anthony Lake, Powder River Rec area and a stroll through the Dredge Tailings at the Sumpter Dredge State Park.
- Vine maples along the coastal mountain roads are transitioning to crimson red, while big leaf maples and other broad leaf species are beginning to turn yellow and brown. There is a definite Autumn crispness in the air!
- What are good activities for this weekend? With the lack of stormy weather and wind, the autumn leaves are hanging on. A road trip to Drift Creek Falls Trail is always a great get away. This relatively easy hike leads you to a 240 ft. suspension bridge overlooking Drift Creek Falls.
Trip Spotlight: Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon
Here in Lane County, fall continues to color our towns in its warm, rustic hues and from this point forward, it’s all hay bales and pumpkin patches as we approach autumn’s prime peak!
This weekend in Oakridge, riders from across the country are gearing up for Trans-Cascadia 2016, a four day, 17-stage mountain bike race and campout that will explore some of the area’s famous single track trails. Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm in Pleasant Hill kicks off their month long Colonial Harvest Days celebration while the city of Florence welcomes visitors with their annual Oktoberfest. Springfield introduces the Fresh Hop Festival which features 24 Oregon craft breweries and cider-makers showcasing hops in all their bitter glory, and in Eugene, runners of all ages will have the pleasure of participating in a muddy Terrain Race which begins in the countryside acres of Camp Harlow.
For those in search of color in the Willamette Valley, take a trip down Marcola Road, Over the River and Through the Woods Scenic Byway and arrive at Lebanon’s McDowell Creek Falls. On the way, you’ll be hard pressed not to notice the Marvin and Marie Spores Conservation Area where stands of yellow aspen outline wild green hills. Travel further to see the sprawling open range of McDowell Creek Restoration Area before embarking on a one and a half mile waterfall hike where vine maple vividly pop next to rock staircases and the yellow sheaths of big leaf maple highlight an elaborate wooden boardwalk in this beautiful scenic area. Watch for deer, and if you’re thirsty, stop in for a glass of wine at Marks Ridge Winery on Berlin Road.
Last weekend, Pendleton hosted their 106th Annual Round-Up. Patrons of this event were privy to cowboy culture and fall splendor as Eastern Oregon has hit its peak of season color change. Areas that are particularly fire right now include the Grande Ronde Valley located at the base of the Blue Mountains, and the drive from the small town of Joseph with its tree-lined streets to Indian Crossing Campground, following along the Imnaha River. South of Pendleton and west of La Grande, the Ukiah-Dale State Scenic Corridor which borders the North Fork of the John Day River and Camas Creek showcases golden Larch and blazing shrubbery, lit for the fall season.
This weekend, visitors of Eastern Oregon are invited to experience fall in a unique way. The Eagle Cap Excursion Train leaves the station October 1 with a bevy of wine and cheese, exceptional views of captivating scenery and offers passengers a wonderful chance to relax while enjoying the season. We’re looking at you, Eastern Oregon. And you’re looking good.