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 Trips: Hood River

Hood River, Oregon

Ruthton Point, Hood River, Oregon. Photo courtesy Jeff Jones

Just an hour east of Portland, Hood River lies amidst abundant orchards, wineries and gorgeous autumn views. In the fall, glimmering yellow and vibrant burnt-orange trees create a stunning contrast against deep green evergreens and the snowy peak of Mt Hood.

When I was a little girl, I’d ride along with my mom and grandma on their September trip to Hood River. We would buy apples, corn, pears and peaches to take home and preserve for the rest of the year. I still remember my grandma’s delightful apple butter, made with brown sugar and maple syrup.

If you want to sample some of these Oregon offerings, you must tour the Hood River County Fruit Loop. This 35-mile scenic loop takes you through the valley’s farms, orchards, forests and friendly towns.

Bounty in Hood River

Fruit Bounty in Hood River, Oregon. Photo courtesy Peter Marbach

If you’re planning a getaway during peak fall foliage season in October, consider adding the Honeycrisp Harvest at Kiyokawa Family Orchards, the Hood River Valley 29th Annual Harvest Fest, the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair at the Hood River County Fairgrounds or the Hood River County Fruit Loop Heirloom Apple Celebration to your itinerary.

Hood River also boasts more than 20 local wineries. Visit the Gorge White House, a working farm listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, to sample vintages from more than 30 regional wineries.

While you’re so close to Multnomah Falls, you should definitely take this opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with this awe-inspiring, breathtakingly powerful cascade of rushing water. A five-minute walk from the parking lot takes you to the base of the falls. Don’t forget to check out the historic lodge while you’re there.

Whether your attraction is the fruit, foliage, wine or waterfalls, this area is a must-see in the fall. Learn more about the Mt Hood/Columbia River Gorge region.

 -Megan Harris, guest contributor

Weekly Update 9/16/2010

Diamond Woods Golf CourseImage courtesy Diamond Woods Golf Course

From one corner of Oregon to the other, cool mornings, warm afternoons and early fall colors make September a perfect month to explore Oregon on the water, on the trail, on the tee, or on your plate at one of Oregon Bounty’s culinary destinations.

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
The colors are just starting to change in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Golden brown grasses line Pre’s Trail in Eugene, the first leaves are falling on Cottage Grove’s Row River trail, and poison oak gives tree trunks and hillsides spots of beautiful purple-red. Leaf watchers spotted the first hints of yellow and orange along the Suislaw River while salmon fishing. In the Cascades, the huckleberries are ripe and the leaves are starting to turn red. The combination of September’s mild temperatures and scenic golf courses throughout the region make the Eugene, Cascades & Coast a great fall golf destination. Check out Diamond Woods, nestled in Oregon Wine Country but still close to Eugene, for fabulous valley views.

The color change is just starting along the coast. About 10 miles inland, trees are starting to yellow. September is the perfect time to visit the Oregon coast. With less wind, cool mornings and warmer afternoons, this is the month to watch for the occasional gray whale from Cape Perpetua’s Visitor Center deck before heading to Depoe Bay’s Salmon Bake.

Willamette Valley
The colors are just starting to change in the Willamette Valley. The trees are showing a slight yellow, orange and red in the cities and towns. The best fall colors are predicted to occur in mid-October. Produce is the highlight of the week, and The Albany Visitor’s Association recommends stopping at the local farmers markets where berries, beets and carrots beckon hungry shoppers. Pack a picnic before heading to Clear Lake Resort, where you can rent a row boat and enjoy 360 degree views of early color change and crystal clear water. Save room for a piece of pie at the resort!

Greater Portland
The color change is starting to change more rapidly in the Portland area. Reds started to appear this week with more golds and yellows appearing every day. Portland is a great starting point for exploring Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge
The colors are just starting to change along the Columbia River Gorge and in the upper elevations on Mt. Hood. At Multnomah Falls, most of the leaves are green with a few hints of yellow throughout. There is more yellow east of Hood River as you head toward The Dalles. Cooler temperatures in late September and early October will speed the color change. The Mosier Tunnels trail is showing color and would be a great place to do a bike ride this weekend. The Hood River Fruit Loop is a lovely stop with fall crops coming in and the Pear Celebration this weekend.

Southern Oregon
The color change is barely starting in Southern Oregon. The low shrubs and groundcover at Crater Lake are just beginning to show signs of fall. Take off this weekend at Henry Estate Wings & Wine, featuring fine Oregon wine, live music, experimental aircraft and family-fun activities.

Central Oregon
The colors are just starting to change in Central Oregon. Most of the color change is in the higher elevations of the Cascades. The air is crisp and the leaves are just beginning to turn. The Bank of the Cascades Bend Fall Festival, a cozy harvest celebration, is the perfect place to celebrate the change in season.

Eastern Oregon
The colors are slowly starting to change throughout Eastern Oregon. The southeast corner is slowly turning yellow. The Steens Mountains will see a lot of color in October. This area is known for great birding, stunning scenery, and beautiful color. Yellowing shrubs line Summer Lake and other waterways along Highway 31, Oregon’s Outback Scenic Byway.