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.

Oregon Fall Foliage Update 10/17/2014

Clear Lake by Ilhoward via Instagram

Clear Lake by Ilhoward via Instagram

Eugene, Cascades & Coast
While the leaves are a week out from peak in the lower elevations, the fall colors are still playing a bit of hide and seek in the mountains. Sounds like the perfect excuse to get in the car and explore doesn’t it? We suggest a journey that leads you to one of the 7 Waterfall Wonders. With a bit of moisture on the horizon, we want to play in the rain. What could be better than tiptoeing down a forested path, tear drops of water sneaking quietly through the canopy of trees, and one spectacular reward of a waterfall at your journey’s end?

There’s plenty to keep you and the whole family outdoors this weekend. Join Ducks and Huskies alike in downtown Eugene and Springfield Friday night for Duck Downtown. Start the evening with a run with five-time 800 meter U.S. Champion and two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds at the 3rd Annual Nick Symmonds Springfield 800. Runners and walkers of all levels are invited to run down 5tth Street in the Historic Washburne District.

Oregon Coast
Light rains and cooler temperatures on the Oregon Coast are breaking in the fall season. With weather like this, it may be a good weekend to share a cabin with family or close friends. Try Fort Stevens State Park on the North Coast. This uniquely diversified state park offers views of wildlife, hiking trails that wind through forests of spruce and pine, and its own brand of fall foliage; needle dropping. Located just 10 miles outside of Astoria, Fort Stevens is the sight of a historic shipwreck, and houses remnants of an old military base. In Coos Bay, the South Coast Striders will be leading a group hike through Silver and Golden Falls. Choose the short or long route, and bring a sack lunch, raingear, and sturdy waterproof boots. Make friends, catch the last of the wildflowers, and get outside!

Willamette Valley
The leaves are at their peak along the McKenzie River. With colors ablaze and the rain setting in, this is a great week to take the Aufderheide Scenic Drive. Though Bracken ferns are fading to brown, big leaf maples are orange, yellow and gold, and other broad leaf varieties are showing off their fall splendor. Colors tend to be better closer to Westfir.

Washington Park by mikephotog7 via Instagram

Washington Park by mikephotog7 via Instagram

Greater Portland
It has been a crazy summery autumn this year – while some trees seem to have forgotten to change, others are morphing and quickly dropping their bits of wonderful color. The season has peaked, but whether or not you have gotten your fill of reds, yellows, and golds, you can be sure to get a good dose of orange this weekend. A must-see is the annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in the Tualatin Commons. After the pumpkin parade and weigh-off, witness these 1,000-pound pumpkin boats bob and weave on the waters as racers try to get to the finish line first. Not ready to call it a night after the races? For all you brave souls out there make sure you take a stroll through the Haunted MAiZE  at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. 

Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast near Mt. Hood by opinnkeeper via Instagram

Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast near Mt. Hood by opinnkeeper via Instagram

Mt. Hood/ The Gorge
We’re seeing bits of gorgeous gold in the Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge areas. Conditions are a bit chilly (Mount Hood saw the first snow fall of the season!), but we think that we can come up with activities to keep you warm. Friends of the Columbia Gorge offer 35 Autumn Hikes throughout the Columbia Gorge while Rasmussen Farms continues the fun for the whole family at their Pumpkin Funland. For one weekend only, the Gorge Fruit and Craft Show is going on at the Hood River Co. Fairgrounds. Also, catch the 32nd Annual Hood River Valley Harvest Festival.

Deschutes River near Bend by Michael Burkhardt

Deschutes River near Bend by Michael Burkhardt

Central Oregon
Fall weather is here with its breezy days and light showers. Though season is at its peak, the beautiful fall foliage still pops against this newly muted backdrop. Aspens are in their full golden glory, and Bend’s Shevlin Park is positively aglow with these trees. Explore neighborhood streets, like Mt. Washington Drive or Colorado Avenue for brilliant displays of color. Venture further, and hoof it on a section of the Deschutes River Trail. The mile stretch between Aspen and Big Eddy is a brief holiday among willow flats and the sound of roaring rapids. Get there before the snow sets in.

Sumpter Valley Railroad by Base Camp Baker

Sumpter Valley Railroad by Base Camp Baker

Eastern Oregon
Color is looking great in Baker City. The urban forest has turned, and peak is expected within the next week. Geiser Pollman Park is an excellent destination for foliage seekers in the area. Located off of the Leo Alder Memorial Parkway, bordering the Powder River, this park has more than 100 trees of varying species and age. In Haines, sensational color can be found along Main Street, in Dick Camp Memorial Park. For those seeking adventure, tackle some gravel back roads and explore Burnt River Canyon, between Durkee and Unity. Exit the canyon, and continue to roll through the vast, open country between Unity and Herford. The drive provides great splashes of color set amidst rolling hills, and big, Eastern Oregon skies. This is also the weekend for the Sumpter Valley Railroad’s Fall Color Trains, a unique opportunity for those that want a steam-powered trip through beautiful fall foliage without making it an all-day event.

Lithia Park in Ashland by Graham Lewis

Lithia Park in Ashland by Graham Lewis

Southern Oregon
After weeks of waiting, seasonal colors have reached their peak in Southern Oregon. The valleys of the Rogue and Umpqua rivers are ruggedly scenic, and though the forecast calls for rain and snow over the next several days, it’s not too late to have a great fall experience. Visit the Fremont-Winema National Forest, and embark on the Billie Creek Nature Trail. Take Highway 140 from Klamath Falls toward Lake of the Woods. The trail is located off a dirt road that can be accessed just after the Lake of the Woods turn off, but before mile marker 36. This two mile loop trip is well forested, open through November, and begins on Rye Spur Trail. Dress appropriately, pack snacks, and keep an extra set of clothes handy for when the adventure is over.

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