Oregon Fall Foliage Weekly Update 9/21/2013

McKenzie River by MrMattBell via Instagram

McKenzie River by MrMattBell via Instagram

Eugene Cascades & Coast
Slowly but surely we are beginning to see fall colors in the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region. Due to a lack of any frosts, the process of peaking is slowing down. A prediction for the fall colors in their peak is early October. Catch some maples turning beautiful colors of yellow, orange and gold.

Cruise down the Aufderheide Scenic Drive to catch some of these emerging colors. Also don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive the Old McKenzie Highway 242 before it closes for the season.

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Fall Colors Abound in the High Desert

With the activities of summer at rest and the anticipation building for snow flying on the mountains, fall is finally at its peak in the High Desert.

Central Oregon offers Leaf Watchers a place to view splashes of golden yellows, burning reds and oranges and even beautiful shades of purples set among snow-capped mountains and crisp, sunny skies. 

Enjoy a leisurely day in Bend starting off with a stroll downtown. A personal favorite spot of mine is on Wall Street, between the Des Chutes Historical Museum and Amity Creek Elementary School, where the variety of vibrant maple trees tower over the street and engulf you in color. Next head to beautiful Drake Park, nestled along the Deschutes River with a peek-a-boo view of South Sister Mountain and autumn trees lining Mirror Pond. Hop on a bike or in your car for a short ride to Mt. Washington Drive to enjoy golden aspens and maples in a spectrum of colors. From there, head down to the Old Mill District and catch the vibrant fuchsia of the burning bush and other deciduous foliage throughout this historic part of Bend. For a more secluded experience awash in fall color, hike or mountain bike along the Upper Deschutes River Trail or Shevlin Park.

Take the opportunity to travel on Highway 242 before November 1st when it closes for the winter. The loop tour taking Hwy 20/Hwy 126/Hwy 242 offers views of powerful waterfalls and brilliant fall colors contrasting against a volcanic landscape and can be enjoyed along this Scenic Byway when traveling in or out of Central Oregon.

Please come to enjoy autumn in Central Oregon.  For more ideas visit Central Oregon Visitors Association or call at 800.800.8334.

Kristine McConnell, Guest Contributor
Central Oregon Visitors Association

Following Foliage in the Cascades

Old growth, deep-green Douglas fir populate much of the Cascades, so as I made my way to  Opal Creek Wilderness this weekend, I did a lot of peering into the understory. The Clackamas  follows the northern portion of the West Cascade Scenic Byway and the drive along the river’s shore is restorative…splashy sounds, hyper oxygenated riffles, white rapids that give me goosebumps, even from a distance.  The most striking foliage is still gathering force, although cherry-red vine maples and gold-colored oak have begun to peek out here and there. 

My resource at  Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals tells me that  nights up around Rhododendron have just started getting cool – down around the 40’s.  That and sunny days are the recipe for the most spectacular leaves.   She estimates that in the next week or so, colors will really start to change as you head towards Mt. Hood.

Opal Creek is a gem of a destination.  But, I had a lot of great choices.  I might have gone around the mountain for a day on the Infinity Loop and  returned home on the Historic Columbia River Highway.  I might have chosen to continue south with a drive into Oakridge that would have included a mandatory stop at the Brewers Union Local 180.  Taking the  byways in autumn means there are no wrong turns…just a lot of beautiful road in every direction.

Jae Heidenreich, guest contributor
Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory