Farewell to Fall, for Now!


A nice late-fall day by the Willamette River from Instagrammer technomonk 47

Jack Frost is nipping at Eugene, Cascades & Coast and it’s beginning to look a lot like winter! Willamette Pass is already cold and white, an excitingly different scene than we had here this time last year, inspiring locals and visitors to acquire their Sno-Park Permits not just for one day but for the season.

Toward the Cascade Mountains, one can see a christening snow has gently nestled atop their rocky peaks.

Drivers are encouraged to carry chains or traction tires and use their headlights if traveling out this way. Safety first in this icy new wonderland!

In town, there’s still some nice color on our trees! Folks are swigging eggnog and carving turkeys, lighting trees and getting a jump on finding those perfect holiday gifts.

SBS Facebook Header - Blue (2).jpgNovember 28 is Small Business Saturday, so this weekend, get out and Shop Small in support of independent store owners.

If you find yourself near Oakway Center, stick around for the annual Tree Lighting which offers spectators free hot chocolate and cookies, visits from Winter Willy the Snowman and a chance to see real reindeer! And don’t miss what the 5th Street Market has in store for the holiday. From the weekly snow sessions at Let it Snow to their lit-up display at Night of a Thousand stars, there’s a lot to see here!

For those still seeking the last turning leaves of our elegantly exiting autumn season, take yourself outdoors and stroll through a local park.


Another excellent fall scene in Eugene from Instagrammer technomonk 47

Views of the Willamette River’s banks from the Peter DeFazio Footbridge still glow warm with yellow and chocolate color, a select handful of bordering maples still ablaze in orange and red.

Leaves that have fallen offer a hearty ground coat to the grass and pathways of Alton Baker Park. Spend some time, bring a loaf of bread and feed the ducks that swim and make their home in the reflecting pond.

In Springfield, have a wander around Armitage Park. Explore the land and venture upon the short and sweet Crilly Nature Trail. See licorice ferns in vibrant, youthful glory, nursed by fresh rains and sprouting out from the carcasses of old growth trees.

Breathe deeply the crispness of the air, returning home with rosy cheeks and hands that need warming. The Clearwater Trail extending from Dorris Ranch is another space in which to find tranquility and a pretty picture. Bring a journal and get situated on a river facing bench as you log your encounter with nature or just gather your thoughts.

Thank you for sharing the season with us. We’ve had a lovely time documenting areas of attraction across the state and look forward to next year. Winter is coming, and we’re ready for our next set of seasonal adventures in Oregon.  See you next year!

A Recount of a Fall Day in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Follow along with Fall Foliage expert Gabrielle Lent explores a Fall day in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast.

Colors in nature are looking great. Something about the rain and bleakness of knowing that winter is coming really makes their lingering visual truly potent. The multifaceted gradients of maples in this town are defying the rain and bleakness and in a dying effort, demand your eyes! They got me and they got mine. I found myself with a surprise day off and a friend with a car, looking for adventure. We decided to seize the day by embarking on a hunt for fall color.

Driving out of Eugene, we took River Road past the suburbs and into farm land. It is now late morning, nearly 10:30 a.m. after coffee at Noisette, and the clouds are still rising off the earth. As they elevate, they float past sheep and cows grazing peacefully together at home in their field. The beautiful green and golden fields are neatly bordered by trees. Most have lost their leaves for the season though a spectacular few still peek through red, dulled slightly by the fog. We take a right on Love Lake Road, and continue on to Noraton.

The sun begins to rise behind the trees. Sure enough, a rainbow is beginning to form in the mist. Vibrant barns appear poetic in the fields they live. It is hard to believe its mid November though that’s exactly how it feels. To the right in a field with a purple sky geese flock by the seemingly hundreds. I’m reminded of the movie Take Shelter with Michael Shannon, when it starts to rain. We pass under low-clearance graffiti-crowned bridges that mark where roads occasionally flood in the winter. In the mist, the rainbow is still there and everything is so pretty from the passenger seat.

We follow country switchbacks to Old River Road, where every sheep in the field looks to have its own bird on its back. It’s cute. Soon we reach

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William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. We are welcomed by gravel
road, light rain and a nice stand of yellow, beyond which horizons remain a dangerous shade of periwinkle.  Twisted, dark wood tree trunks lay as elegantly in swamp land as a chaise lounge. We pass signs for Turtle Flats and Homer Campbell Trail, each offering a unique viewpoint.

We continue along this stunning road to Woodpecker Loop Trail where there’s a porta-potty the same electric blue as my raincoat. Its backdrop is dew dripped and alive for the season.

This is an oak savanna, and though many leaves now cover the path, many left on trees pop in enthusiastic fits amidst the lush and thriving greenery of a forest in late fall. We reach a lookout point and even through the last waning haze of a frosty morning, everything about the landscape seems in color. Not in a flashy way, but in the unassuming, muted sense of a beauty wisely aged. Birds chirp and we try to match them by color to the trail’s interpretive signs.

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Start of Woodpecker Loop

We step over newts that strut forward and hear rain hit leaves before splashing to the ground. We reach a crossroads drawn like a page from a whimsical story and pick up the trail for Mill Hill. Here, we are walking through the kind of forest that makes you feel you’re the first to discover it. Everything is so fresh, yet so mature; a perfect harmony of lifespan within the season.

We pass Gray Creek, a beaver pond but spot none. As the sun shines its afternoon light on the butterscotch of maples, we make our way back to the car. The rain has stopped. Over two hours have passed, and we’ve trekked a thoughtful six miles.

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A newt underfoot along the hike

We stop for lunch in Corvallis at an Asian Fusion and Italian Gelato restaurant called Koriander. It came recommended was quite good. Afterwards we head along the river path on 1st Street, a scenic footpath being utilized today by bicyclists, joggers and some who stop just to gaze upon the Willamette. I spy a statue of sea otters before we turn the corner. We drink hot chocolates with whipped cream and caramel at Allan Brothers and say goodbye to Corvallis.

For a change of scene, we take Peoria Road back to Eugene. We pass orchards and hundreds of blueberry bushes blazing in red chartreuse. I see five scarecrows in a field, staggered in their placement, each wearing a helmet and cape with arms outspread.

They look like superheroes taking on the wind. We roll through Harrisburg and down Coburg Road, gently easing back into the traffic of downtown’s rush hour.

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A Fork in the Path

The day has come full circle. I’m left feeling so happy to have had this time outdoors, this pleasant country drive and this wonderful company. I had a surprise day off and I spent I hunting for fall color. This has been a perfect autumn day in Eugene, Cascades & Coast.

Explore Lasting Impressions and Fall Events

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Fall on one of Eugene’s bike paths on the Willamette River, from Instagrammer Oregonnguyen

Being outside is a wonderful privilege. There is something about experiencing the metamorphosis of elements that lends a feeling of peace to the soul, with the crisp fall air helping to rejuvenate a weary spirit and elevate demeanor as the days become darker and the sun goes down. Feel the wind on your skin as you bike across the I5 footbridge.

Be taken away with visions of a season at the end of its ripest hour. Tree tops pop so brilliantly from this height that one is reminded of the mythical truffula groves in Dr. Suess’ The Lorax. With everything so painted, it’s hard to remember when these were green. Leaves have thinned out and skies have begun to storm, their tonal slate blue adding refreshing, wintry ambiance to the bounty of color that remains throughout the surrounding streets of our town.


This week might be the last chance to catch red colors like these in Bend as temperatures dip into the 20’s at night. Photo from Visit Bend

As far as events go, this is a pretty big weekend for Eugene, Cascades & Coast. Catch the last games of the Cascade Collegiate Conference soccer championships for men and women at Willamalane Recreation Center and take in the scenic views of hillsides and railcars as they roll slowly by. Stay for the McKenzie Cider and Craft Beer Festival featuring food selections and a vendor marketplace. Enjoy over 150 of the finest cider and craft brews from Oregon, Washington and California accompanied by live entertainment.

In Eugene this weekend, children are hoping with rain boots pulled high and umbrellas erect for the ultimate downpour! Mt. Pisgah will host their annual Play in the Rain Day where kids and families are invited to learn about the outdoors and get inspired to play year-round. Climb trees, make crafts and expect a visit from a forest favorite, Smokey the Bear!

For those trying to avoid this expected rain, visit EUCON, the Eugene Comic Con. Celebrate the best in comics and pop culture at the Lane Events Center with special guests, gaming, and more! Participate in cosplay and get as funky and realistic as you want with your costumes, because this event is entirely indoors.

Rainy days also provided an excellent excuse to curl up and watch a movie. The Eugene International Film Festival begins today and continues through Sunday. Sit back and enjoy screenings of international original films and state-side gems as filmmakers come together, host lectures and receive awards.

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Explore Sweet Creek Falls near Florence on the Oregon Coast, shot by Instagrammer Shopgirl703

Enough about events, let’s get out and explore! Snow has set in the small towns of Eastern Oregon and is lightly dusting higher elevations in Central Oregon, as well. Coastal storms have shaken leaves from trees that border the ocean, and people are starting to bundle up and stay indoors.

You still can’t go wrong with a visit to the Gorge, though paths are slicker with recent rainfall. Maybe it’s time to check in on Latourel Falls, or make a day trip to Portland via the Willamette Valley, as both regions continue to wow. This week, however, we’d like highlight some colors of Southern Oregon.


See more Fall colors in Medford this time of year! Photo from leaf hunter Erica Agesen

Leaf hunters report that autumn is in full swing, with trees from Medford all the way to the Lake of the Woods standing out i
n dark orange and elegant brown. Mornings are very cold and the air stays biting as winters embrace takes hold. Vivid colors are still nestled where adventurers seek to find them.

For an interesting portrait of life, visit the Jacksonville Cemetery. Aging marble gravesites live harmoniously among fresh plant life, rustically manicured lawns mowed by the grazing of deer that roam. Hints of fall reflect in the landscape of trees and shrubbery.

Another beautiful natural site is Table Rock. This 7.2 mile hike has an elevation gain of 1570 feet and though it truly shines in the spring when covered with wildflowers, its tallness privies access to sweeping views of the land below.