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.

Last Weekly Update of 2010: 11/18/2010

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This week’s update can be summed up in one word: snow! The leaves have fallen and the winter season is upon us. Just one week from Thanksgiving, Oregonians will spend the week watching powder pile up in the mountains and uncorking wine in preparation for Thanksgiving weekend winery open houses.

Thanks to all our leaf peeping friends around the state who helped report on color changes throughout the fall foliage season. See you in 2011!

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Tune up the gear because the forecast is for an early opening for Willamette Pass Resort and Hoodoo Recreation & Ski Area. Hit the Thanksgiving Wine Trail Celebration Thanksgiving weekend. Shop for locally crafted gifts starting November 20 at Eugene Saturday Market’s indoor Holiday Market. For more ideas and happenings in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region, check out our winter adventures.

Coast
Everyone “in the know” knows that winter is whale and storm watching season on the Oregon Coast. Gear up and grab a seat above the crashing surf, or grab an oceanfront room and watch nature’s fury at its best. December 26 through January 1 is Whale Watch Week, and you’ll find volunteers at viewpoints along Highway 101 with binoculars and information to share about the 18,000 gray whales migrating from Alaska to Mexico.

Willamette Valley
Hundreds of artisan wineries will open their doors for Thanksgiving weekend wine tastings, making it the perfect time to check out seasonal specials and events. Find more winter travel ideas throughout the valley at OregonWineCountry.org.

Greater Portland
The best part of winter in Portland is the holiday cheer downtown, when the tree is lit up in Pioneer Courthouse Square, surrounded by holiday shopping and a festive atmosphere.

Mt. Hood/ Columbia River Gorge
A hike on the Salmon River Trail near Zigzag is always a wonderful winter season walk. Don’t miss beautiful Wah Gwin Gwin Falls when visiting Multnomah Falls in the Gorge this winter.

Southern Oregon
Winter enthusiasts in Southern Oregon love skiing on Mt. Bailey and Mt. Ashland Ski Area. Paige Mountain near Grants Pass also offers snow sports. In the Klamath Falls area, visit Bill Collier Community Ice Arena at the Running Y.

Central Oregon

Visit Central Oregon in winter for blue skies and crisp mountain air. Strap on skis, lace up the the skates, pull out the sled and start a family tradition with a winter getaway in Central Oregon.

Eastern Oregon
Play in the snow this winter at Ferguson Ridge in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, offering downhill skiing, cross country skiing and dog sled races. Take a spin around the ice skating rink at Enterprise City Park, or snowmobile through the Steens (permit required).

2009 Predictions

When Laura Bly from USA Today called about the fall foliage round up article mentioned in our last post, she asked about 2009 specific predictions for the upcoming season. We wrote about general trends at the beginning of September, but now we bring you a prediction crafted specific to this year’s conditions.

Between the expertise of Norm Michaels, a silviculturist with the Willamette National Forest, and some data mining on the National Weather Service website, this is what we found.

Although a dry summer may make leaves shut down sooner than normal, it’s not really the best determinant. Based on precipitation data from the National Weather Service, we were a little under in the Willamette Valley this summer (Eugene, McMinnville, Portland), but some recent rainfall in September may put us back on track for an average mid-October peak.

It takes freezing weather for the color to really snap, so regardless of rain, we’ll have to wait for the weather to drop.

What is exciting this fall is that the National Weather Service is predicting below normal precipitation throughout much of Oregon. This should extend the fall foliage viewing season! Rain can actually wash out the leaves’ color and make them drop sooner.

We’re crossing our fingers for a cool, crisp fall and long-lasting foliage, so get out there and explore Oregon! Join our new Oregon Fall Foliage Flickr group, and share photos of your colorful adventures this season.