Plan Your Fall Foliage Trip!

Happy summer from the Oregon Fall Foliage team! Believe it or not, now is the time to start planning fall foliage trips. There are so many ways and places to see beautiful colors across Oregon!

Cyclists on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove

Cyclists on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove

We don’t always know WHEN the leaves will be at their brightest. Mother Nature keeps that insider info to herself. However, we’ve been following leaf patterns for 10 years now, so we have a good idea of where they start and when they go.

Drake Park and Mirror Pond (courtesy: Manasi Seth)

Drake Park and Mirror Pond (courtesy: Manasi Seth)

But that’s not the only reason we’re here. We also have awesome ideas of the best ways to experience the entire fall season. We’ll tell you the best fall drives, the best fall hikes, where to find the best fall flavors at Oregon restaurants and new trip ideas that you’ve likely never heard of. Plus, we’ll post amazing deals on lodging, adventures and dining.

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Share your pictures with us by tagging them #ORFallFoliage. We’ll pick the best to use (with credit, of course) for our Fall Photos of the Day. Send us your favorite leaf pics from past years to get excited for Oregon Fall Foliage 2013.

Favorite Fall Hikes: McKenzie River National Recreation Trail

McKenzie River Trail
The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is a 26.5-mile long favorite of mountain bikers, hikers and families alike. With numerous spots to camp, relax, take in stunning scenery and enjoy the tranquility of cascading waterfalls, there’s something for everyone along this popular national recreation trail.  Multiple access points take you through lava beds, lakes, reservoirs, waterfalls, cold-water creeks and dense old-growth forests.

There are eleven different trailheads that offer easy access along Highway 126, but our favorite spot to begin a fall hike is at Clear Lake. Here the trail circumnavigates the lake through dense forest and lava fields.  Right now the fall colors are really starting to show on the east side of the lake near Coldwater Cove Campground.

Clear LakeA three thousand year-old lava flow is responsible for creating Clear Lake, one of the beautiful lakes of Oregon. Located off of Highway 126 between Eugene and Bend, this is where the majestic McKenzie River Trail begins.

After circling Clear Lake, the trail crosses Highway 126, where a 1-mile hike brings you to the first of two majestic waterfalls, Sahalie Falls.  From here, take the easy round-trip 1.5-mile hike to Koosah Falls, or set out on a longer, exhilarating hike to Tamolitch Pool, where the McKenzie River reemerges from underground into a crystal blue pool.

McKenzie River between Sahalie and Koosah FallsThe McKenzie River between Sahalie and Koosah Falls

The closest trailhead to the pool is at Trailbridge Reservoir off of USFS Road 655. From the parking area at the trailhead, head east on the McKenzie River Trail for approximately two miles.  This stretch of trail offers a spectacular tapestry of fall colors and plenty of opportunities for bird watching.

Tamolitch PoolTamolitch Pool

For more ideas and trip-planning tools to help you plan a fall hike along this trail, visit www.travellanecounty.org or stop by the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center.