Fall Colors in the Tualatin Valley

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

Cooper Mountain Nature Park taken 10/13/2014

Oregon relishes nature’s colorful transitions, with autumn in the Tualatin Valley serving as a prime example. The Tualatin Valley is just minutes from downtown Portland and is home to some of the area’s best farms, wineries and nature parks. Unsurprisingly, this rich landscape is abundant with the earthy golds, oranges, reds and browns of the changing season. If your heart tugs for a weekend escape—something that feels totally different than the city life—then head to Oregon’s Washington County in the Tualatin Valley for a burst of color and fall fun.

For a joy ride through spectacular fall foliage, take a drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving route through Washington County’s bucolic rural areas. While on the route, you’ll see the bright fruits of summer being outgrown by the jewel-toned crops of fall, with hues of barn red apples to earthy orange pumpkins to deep amethyst eggplants. The trees along the route boldly display colors of green, yellow, orange and bright red, which softly rustle against the wind that blows from the Oregon coast range air (making for optimal scarf-wearing weather). Continue reading

Autumn Colors in Oregon’s Washington County

The beginning of autumn in Washington County, Oregon

The beginning of autumn in Washington County, Oregon

On a cool, autumn day, the rural, agricultural and forested scenery of Oregon’s Washington County comes alive with bright red, orange and yellow leaves — a stark contrast to the deep, dark green of the fir trees that share these landscapes.

Located west of Portland, Washington County has miles and miles of open space, farms and vineyards that magically change colors as autumn takes hold.  The golden tones of recently harvested vineyards and apple, pear and peach orchards and deciduous trees and plants are accentuated by the smell of fall, a mix of cool rains and fallen leaves.

David Hill Vineyard and Winery

David Hill Vineyard and Winery

Whether traveling by car, bike, foot or canoe, there is no shortage of fantastic places to view the gorgeous foliage of fall in Oregon’s Washington County.

  • Cooper Mountain Nature Park offers unparalleled views of the Chehalem Mountains and the Tualatin Valley, which glows as leaves turn to brilliant yellow. Within the park, 3½ miles of trails takes walkers through distinct habitats, including woodlands featuring the native Oregon White Oak.
  • The Banks-Vernonia State Trail takes cyclists, hikers and equestrians along a 21-mile of paved trail through wooded areas and along trestles and bridges with spectacular views. Scope out the changing leaves of Oregon ash and maple trees, which Sunset magazine calls “some of the best fall colors this side of Vermont.”
  • The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Routeis a 50-mile driving tour through tree-lined rural and agricultural regions of Oregon’s Washington County, providing awe-inspiring views of the Coast Range the Tualatin Valley.

    A vineyard along the Vineyard and Valley Tour Route

    Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route

  • The Tualatin River, which flows through the heart of Washington County, provides spectacular views of Oregon ash and its bright yellow foliage. Paddle down this tranquil river for an up-close-and-personal experience.

No tour of fall colors in Washington County is complete without picking up a freshly picked apple. Several farms offer various varieties of apples grown right here.

The fall colors hit their peak in Washington County between late-October and early-November. Learn more at VisitWashingtonCountyOregon.com.

-Sylke Neal-Finnegan, guest contributor
Washington County Visitors Association