From a single branch of yellow leaves on an otherwise green tree, grass seeds stuck in a dog’s fur, drift boats lining coastal rivers, cheering football fans and morning school buses, leaf peepers saw signs of fall around the state this week. The color change is just barely starting, with yellow ash leaves in the riparian forests of the Willamette Valley and red vine maples in the lava fields of the Cascades. If the colors don’t entice you to explore a new corner of the state, the festivals will.
Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The colors are just starting to change. Ash and maple trees are starting to yellow in the Eugene area and trees touched with orange line the streets downtown. The huckleberries in the Cascades near Waldo Lake offer the best show. Just north of Eugene, the town of Coburg will be hopping this weekend as the city park fills with antique dealers and treasure seekers for the Coburg Antique Fair.
The color change has not started along the coast, but there are still plenty of colors to explore. The southern Oregon Coast will be cranberry red September 10-12 for the Bandon Cranberry Festival, and every color of the rainbow will be polished to a shine at the Rods ‘n’ Rhodies Car Show in Florence September 10-12.
The colors are just starting to change in the Willamette Valley. Purple is the color of the weekend at the Oregon Grape Stomp Competition and Harvest Celebration at Willamette Valley Vineyards – purple feet, that is! Join in the fun to see if your team has what it takes to make it to the World Competition.
The color change is just starting in the Portland area. Street trees and other small trees are showing some orange. See the green side of Portland and sample local organic wine, beer, and food at the Muddy Boot Organic Festival: A Soulful Celebration of Sustainable Living in Portland.
Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
The colors have not started to change along the Columbia River Gorge. The colors are just starting to change in the upper elevations on Mt. Hood. Experience Mt. Hood’s very early colors and local culture at the Mt. Hood Festival of the Forest at Wildwood Recreation Area in Welches. Let your competitive side show at the Crawdad Races in Clackamas, and mark your calendars for the Pear Celebration along Hood River’s Fruit Loop September 18-19.
The color change is barely starting. East of the Cascades the colors are slowly turning yellow. West of the Cascades a few branches and smaller trees are showing hints of fall. Taste the bounty of harvest season throughout Southern Oregon at Whitewater, Wine, Cheese and Chocolate in Merlin or the Farm to Fork Dinner at Blackberry Lane. Check out TravelOregon.com/bounty for food celebrations in Southern Oregon and around the state.
The colors are just starting to change in Central Oregon. Most of the color change is in the higher elevations of the Cascades. Drive the Old McKenzie Highway (Highway 242) to see early reds and oranges of vine maples in the lava fields. Start or end your trip at the Sisters Folk Festival.
The colors are slowly starting to change in Eastern Oregon. The southeast corner is starting to turn yellow. The Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce recommends coming to northeastern Oregon in late October or early November to see the Tamaracks turn yellow. This weekend, see a patchwork of colors at the quilt show, taste gourmet cowboy fare at the Dutch Oven Cook-off, and cheer on your favorite mule at the mule races during Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise.