Oregon Fall Foliage Update 11/21/2014

This week marks the last Oregon Fall Foliage Update of the season. While the warm September tested our patience by delaying the color change, it was well worth the wait. The explosion of autumnal splendor lasted almost until Thanksgiving. And we couldn’t have told the fall story without you. Your pictures helped us show readers that some of Oregon’s finest and most breathtaking moments come with the change of the seasons. As we bid adieu to fall, let’s welcome in winter with these last-minute leaf peeping ideas and holiday-themed festivities.

Mount Pisgah by Greg Vaughn

Mount Pisgah by Greg Vaughn

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
In Eugene, and spanning to the Cascades and coastal regions, beautiful fall colors continue to glow. Leaves are on trees, but now the color coat has doubled as they also speckle the ground.

There’s no better way to transition into winter than by holiday shopping at the Eugene Saturday Market’s Holiday Market, which runs through Christmas eve. Find locally-made, one-of-a-kind gifts from more than 300 booths staffed by the artists or their family members.

Spot late foliage on the vineyards while you celebrate Thanksgiving on the Territorial Thanksgiving Wine Trail. Enjoy the South Willamette Valley’s beautiful views from the tasting rooms as you listen to live music, taste wonderful foods, and sample award-winning wines.

If the meal is on your mind, there’s still plenty of time to secure your Thanksgiving dinner plans. Visit our Thanksgiving Dinner page to find a restaurant open on the holiday or one that offers a pre-made meal for you to enjoy at home.

The holidays aren’t the holidays without the lights. There’s no better place to experience glowing displays than at the Village Green Resort and Gardens, in the All-America City of Cottage Grove. Join them next weekend for Thanksgiving Dinner, and stay for their spectacular display of Christmas lights! Every Friday, starting November 28 and ending the day after Christmas, the resort will have weekly showings of festive movies. Toast s’mores over an open fire, sip a hot beverage, and remind yourself what this time of year is all about.

Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is ringing in the holiday season with all things festive and fun! Local artists will display their wares at the Waldport Holiday Market, happening now through December 20. Experience the Yachats Winter Celebration, kicking off Thanksgiving Day with various feasts and activities. In Seaside, the Chamber of Commerce hosts their 30th Annual Holiday Gift Fair in conjunction with the Parade of Lights. Santa will be there and so will Frosty the Snowman, as well as a parade of elves! After the parade, unwind from the glitz of a million LEDs with Gingerbread Tea at the Butterfield Cottage every Saturday from now until December 20, no reservations needed.

Christopher Bridge Cellars in Oregon City, Image credit: Christopher Bridge

Christopher Bridge Cellars in Oregon City, Image credit: Christopher Bridge

Willamette Valley
One of the best things about cold weather is finding comfort in well-made clothing. Melting into a hug from your favorite sweater, wrapping yourself in the embrace of a soft blanket, the feeling of warmth that insulated gloves provided to chilly hands, these are things that make us smile. Now through the end of January, Willamette Heritage Center in Salem presents From the Sheep’s Back to Yours: Pendleton Blankets, an Oregon Tradition. Find a brilliant array of fall colored textiles at this exhibit, featuring more than 20 rarely displayed pieces of Pendleton product from the museum’s collection. While in Salem, treat yourself to an award-winning Sunday Brunch at Orchard Heights Winery.

Greater Portland
Rain is in the forecast, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting one last glimpse at fall color. Visit Portland’s Laurelhurst Park. The paved path that winds through the park and borders the pond is littered with yellow leaves, so take a stroll, and break bread with the ducks that live there. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and you can celebrate its passing with a self-guided tour of Washington County’s Wine Country. Over seventeen wineries will participate in the 30th Annual Thanksgiving Wine Weekend in Cornelius.

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
Fall foliage is out, but the mountains are gearing up for their prime. Get a jump on holiday shopping for the snow junkies in your life and visit the retail shops at Mt. Hood Meadows. Keep a beat on the weather forecast, and check the website for road closures as the season progresses.

Bend by kellywear via Instagram

Bend by kellywear via Instagram

Central Oregon
Snow has arrived, ushering out the fall color with a cold coat of white. For a hybrid of seasonal experience, go back to Bend’s Drake Park. Though completely affected by last weekend’s mini blizzard, the orange of birch trees continue to shine on in vivid contrast. Wear layers, and prepare yourself for the elements at hand.

Eastern Oregon
Eastern Oregon has entered into winter weather. It is cold and snowy in Baker City, so do something active to stay warm! Get your blood pumping and sign up for the 11th Annual Turkey Trot, a 5K run/walk to feed the hungry. After the run, visit the fabulous Geiser Grand Hotel. Treat your family to the best, and join the hotel for their eye-popping Thanksgiving feast.

Ashland by rhodebot via Instagram

Ashland by rhodebot via Instagram

Southern Oregon
The weather is dreary in Southern Oregon. Liven up your gray day with a visit to DANCIN Vineyards in Medford, where dots of bright fall color can still be discovered. Imbibe with an exquisite pinot noir as you walk the yards, or join in on the Salinity Salt Tasting, offered this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. In Ashland, the Rotary Centennial Ice Rink is now open for the season. Lace up your skates and hit the slick! This fun family activity is an excellent prelude to the 22nd Annual Festival of Lights, which will commence with a parade the day after Thanksgiving.

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

Oregon Fall Foliage Update 10/3/2014

Along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness by wildernessadventureimages via Instagram

Along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness by wildernessadventureimages via Instagram

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
This is the weekend to explore the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. While the leaves are still two to three weeks from peak, the weather could not be any better for getting in one last hike, bike ride or sun-kissed wine tasting weekend in the South Willamette Valley. Stroll through historic University of Oregon campus, where environment and architecture complement one another and engulf you in the feeling of fall. If you’re looking for festive family fun, visit Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm for their annual celebration of October, known as Colonial Harvest Days. Pick a pumpkin, assemble a beautiful dahlia bouquet, or hop aboard a giant hay bale in the shape of a ship called “The Hayflower”. Make memories, and start a new tradition! Dig out your lederhosen for authentic German food, bier, wiener dog races, and music at the first ever Florence Oktoberfest. For more fall ideas, check out the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Blog post: Five Ways to Have a Fabulous Fall.

Oregon Coast
Days have been clear, bright, and blustery on the Oregon Coast, the perfect forecast for the annual Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival. Grab your family and your best flyer, and meet where the waves hit the beach. Venture even further into the outdoors, and take a trek on the Drift Creek Falls Trail. Flanked by ferns, alder trees and vine maples, this amazing trail is great for fall foliage and boasts a 240-foot-long cable suspension bridge. Don’t miss this beautiful place.

Willamette Valley
A brief rain returned to the Willamette Valley earlier this week, and the earth is looking healthily refreshed. Dew covered blades of grass support the fallen leaves of trees that dried out, browned, and died early in the season, while other survivors hold tightly to branches. Foliage found in parks, near riverbanks, and in neighborhoods gleam with yellow speckles and red blush.

Steens Mountain by petealport via Instagram

Steens Mountain by petealport via Instagram

Greater Portland
The air in Portland is growing crisp. As people are wrapping up in raincoats and sweaters, fall colors are gently wrapping themselves around the landscape. Trees and shrubbery along highways and city blocks are showing gradients of color, ranging from deep purple to a bright orange tang. Ride the Portland Aerial Tram and gaze over all of downtown, taking in views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and neighborhoods to the south.

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
Elevation is the key to unlocking fall foliage, so get as high as you can. While driving down the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, pull over at the Jonsrud Viewpoint for excellent sights that overlook the entire Sandy River Valley. Fall is upon us, and soon, farmers markets will move indoors. Stop and shop at the Gresham Farmer’s Market, Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., now through the end of October.

Central Oregon
Rain and wind have rocked Central Oregon this last week, bringing down temperatures, and also pine needles! Take a ride on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, a 66-mile historic highway accentuated by 14 alpine lakes. Try a hike near Todd Lake, where it is the end of the huckleberry season and the once green bushes are turning gold. Bid a pleasant farewell to the end of wildflower season as you notice the newly orange leaves of surrounding trees. Once back in town, celebrate all things fall with the 19th Annual Bend Fall Festival, featuring free concerts and a harvest market.

Eastern Oregon
The pinnacle of fall color is still a few weeks out, but Eastern Oregon has definitely undergone some seasonal changes. Put yourself in the middle of it all with a drive through Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, a favorite route for foliage. Between the towns of Halfway and Joseph, Forest Service Road 39 offers some spectacular leaf peeping opportunities and breathtaking backdrops of the Wallowas, one of Travel Oregon’s Seven Wonders of Oregon. This high elevation route usually peaks a little earlier, making the next two weeks ideal for visiting. Catch this section of the byway before October 15, as it will close for construction after this date. While in Baker City, mosey on over to the Taste of Baker and Artist Studio Tour, an annual showcase of the community’s diverse artists, featuring local crafts and food vendors.

Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass

Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass

Southern Oregon
Colors are beginning to pop all over Southern Oregon, and over the next two weeks, metamorphosis is expected. Though the region is receiving its first freeze advisories, the weather right now still feels perfect for outdoor activity. Take a drive down Hwy 140, the primary connection between Medford and Klamath Falls that is also known as the Lake of the Woods Hwy. Bring snacks, dress in layers, and challenge yourself with a ten mile, round-trip hike up Mount McLoughlin. Reaching an altitude of almost 9,500 feet, this mountain is the highest point between the Three Sisters and Mount Shasta. Views from the top can be breathtaking. This difficult hike is an excellent way to acclimate yourself to the season. Make a weekend of it, and after your day of incline, unwind at Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass. Walk in and explore the well-kept grounds, or call ahead for a reservation and join the Wine and Foodies Wine Release, an afternoon of sampling and indulgence.