Planning for an Oregon Fall Trip

Fall is just around the corner! We wanted to highlight a few of the hotspots that popped last Fall to help get an edge on your trip planning.

As you plot your adventures and make your checklists, remember to check back every week during the season (starting in September) to stay current on where to spot autumn shades. When colors start to show, don’t forget to share your photos with #ORFallFoliage for a chance to get featured on this blog!

Willamette Valley

  • Follow one of the country’s most beautiful whitewater trout streams along the enchanting McKenzie River Highway (Highway 126) east from Eugene-Springfield through bright fall foliage to the McKenzie River’s source at Clear Lake, a great spot for fishing, picnicking and hiking. A side trip along Highway 242 winds over McKenzie Pass in the high Cascades until winter snows close the route.
  • In Eugene, you never have to go far to spot shades of yellow, orange, and red! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a stroll through downtown to see the trees turn along Pearl and Willamette Streets.

Fall scenes showing nicely on Frissell Creek – a tributary to the South Fork of the McKenzie River from Deigh Bates

Greater Portland

  • Enjoy some of Portland’s most spectacular fall colors while strolling through Hoyt Arboretum.  Pick up a free self-guided tour of fall foliage at the Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center.
  • Widely praised, Portland’s Japanese Garden is beautiful in every season but autumn is perhaps the most dramatic and colorful. See Japanese maples and many other Asian trees and shrubs in fiery autumn color

A nice view of the colors fading from Council Crest Park in Portland from Instagrammer MikeWarner

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge

  • Follow the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway around the base of Oregon’s highest peak (11,235 ft / 3,424 m), and traverse timbered slopes, temperate rain forests, semi-arid uplands, and mountain meadows. The route descends through the farm land and orchards of the Hood River Valley to the magnificent, Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, where visitors can see 11 waterfalls in an 11-mile (18-km) section. Completing the loop back to Portland is an easy day’s drive.
  • Mid October is the perfect time to check out local favorite hikes like Bridal Veil Falls or Angels Rest and surround yourself in fall colors

Color  near the Colombia River Gorge from Instagrammer Sumrvalentine

Southern Oregon

  • Travel to the Klamath Basin (Highways 97, 66) to see endless aspen groves and the state’s largest body of water, Klamath Lake, which is a resting spot for some 7 million migratory waterfowl from the peculiar pelican to the snow goose.
  • Fall colors come a bit later to Southern Oregon, plan on checking out Klamath Falls or Running Y Ranch towards the end of October!

Full range of color popping at the Running Y Ranch near Klamath Falls

Central Oregon

  • Hike or bike the Deschute River Trail near Dillion Falls trailhead to see Central Oregon’s full range of colors.
  • In the heart of Central Oregon, take a stroll through Bend’s beautiful Drake Park. Also, see the amazing shade of crimson of the Burning Bush, just changing colors in Bend’s Old Mill District.

Yellow colors burst downtown Bend from Visit Bend

Eastern Oregon

  • The Wallowa Mountains (Highway 82) reach through two river valleys leading north and east from La Grande in high ranch country, remote northeastern Oregon. Wallowa Lake is at the foot of these mountains, whose lofty splendor is often compared to the Swiss Alps.
  • Early into the season, plan a road trip to Eastern Oregon to chase the changing colors around the Elkhorn Mountains and Powder River Recreation Area!

Yellows showing brightly in Eastern Oregon from Timothy Bishop – Baker County Tourism

Oregon Coast

  • See a rainbow of color when the yellow alder leaves, the orange of the maples and the reds of the dogwoods decorate Highway 126, connecting Eugene to Florence on the Pacific Coast.
  • Heading to Pacific City in early November? Take Highway 22 from Salem and enjoy the drive through stunning Fall colors.



6 thoughts on “Planning for an Oregon Fall Trip

  1. Hi there! We’ve typically seen fall colors peak in the mid to late October range. But it tends to be beautiful throughout the season!

  2. Hi,

    We are planning to see Oregon’s foliage on Oct 20-24, 2017. We just have difficulty to decide which regions should we visit if you could help us also if you could advise where to stay.

    Thank you,

  3. We are starting to see some change in Eugene. For Oakridge, I’d guess Fall color will be in full effect in about a week. Watch out, they do have reports of snow at the pass!

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