The natural splendour of Oregon cannot be denied. One of the most beautiful times to visit the state is in the fall. Deciduous trees start losing their leaves as summer transitions to fall, turning the landscape from green to hues of yellow, orange, and crimson.
I’ve compiled a list of Oregon’s top picturesque routes for fall colour if you’re eager to venture out and explore this season.
According to the Farmers Almanac’s leaf colour forecast, Oregon’s peak fall foliage is likely to occur between October 12 and 28 in 2022. Remember that some trees begin to change colour early while others continue to be vivid well into the season.
The best-looking trees in Oregon for fall foliage are maple, oak, alder, aspen, larch, ash, cottonwood, and birch. The bigleaf maple, which produces enormous leaves that turn from yellow to scarlet during the fall, is my personal favourite.
All of these picturesque routes offer fantastic outdoor activities. At the numerous leisure places along these roads, you can stretch your legs while hiking, biking, boating, or engaging in other activities. Below are a few suggestions I have. Some of these locations require a permit or day-use fee to enter.
The top sites to observe fall colour in Portland are listed below if you wish to find them within the city.
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Columbia River Gorge
There are numerous ways to take in the splendour of the Columbia River Gorge’s autumnal scenery. I-84 or Highway 14 in Washington are both options for travel. The Historic Columbia River Highway, which passes through the waterfall corridor and offers various vistas, including Multnomah Falls and Vista House, is the greatest place to take in the scenery. In the fall, no permits are needed to see Multnomah Falls or the waterfall corridor.
This route covers around 80 miles from Troutdale to Hood River.
Mt. Hood Scenic Byway
Visit Mt. Hood up close and enjoy the abundance of fall foliage along this gorgeous byway. From Sandy to Hood River, the road passes within Mt. Hood National Forest. The Mt. Hood Scenic Loop is a wonderful addition to any trip to the Columbia River Gorge or may be done on its own for a full day of excitement.
Along the route, you can take part in a tonne of fantastic activities, like a drive up to Timberline Lodge or Trillium Lake. Consider Mirror Lake or Tamanawas Falls if you enjoy hiking. Visit a farm and take in the abundance of the fall harvest as you travel along the Fruit Loop outside of Hood River. It is roughly a 70-mile journey.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
Take this 66-mile picturesque trip from Bend to Central Oregon to see various lakes that reflect the soaring Cascade Mountains. You can be in awe of the works that ancient volcanoes and glaciers produced as you travel along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.
Explore the Deschutes National Forest while the leaves are changing, and think about taking a stroll around one of the lakes. Along this journey, you’ll get some breathtaking views of South Sister, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor.
Silver Falls Tour Route
This is a fantastic route to take if you’re driving along I-5 to get off the boring interstate and enjoy the beauty of tiny villages and one important state park. The 55-mile Silver Falls Tour Route travels from Woodburn to Turner, Oregon.
You’ll pass via Mt. Angel, a hamlet with a Bavarian motif, continue past the Oregon Garden in Silverton, and then turn south to reach Silver Falls State Park, the route’s crowning achievement. The park contains beautiful waterfalls, varied-length routes, and a long loop trail known as the Trail of Ten Falls. Additionally, this is a terrific spot to pause, enjoy a picnic, and take in the vibrant fall foliage.
Covered Bridges of Lane County
Did you know that west of the Mississippi, Lane County has the most covered bridges? You can choose your own trip to visit as many of the 20 covered bridges as you choose along this picturesque path. As you travel through the county’s rural sections.
The Covered Bridges of Lane County allow you to relive a simpler time. Every bridge across the water has a unique design that creates a beautiful panorama with changing foliage. Learn more about each bridge as you travel along it with this map. the Back Country Byway of Steens Mountain
View gold in Southeast Oregon while travelling this beautiful byway. Yellow tones from aspens and cottonwoods can be found along the Steens Mountain Back Country Byway. There are several opportunities along the way to take pictures of these colourful trees. Stop at Fish Lake’s arbour glyph aspens if you wish to get up and walk around. Spanish sheepherders created these tree carvings in the 20th century. Jackson Park and Honeymoon Lake are two more fantastic viewing locations.
A lot of wildlife can be seen on this drive. You might even see one of the renowned Kiger mustangs that live on Steens Mountain. There are 52 miles on this route.
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Steens Mountain Back Country Byway
Off I-5, take the winding, forested roads in Southern Oregon and follow the raging North Umpqua and Rogue rivers. You may visit fifteen waterfalls while admiring the fall foliage if you travel the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway. Just a short distance from the highway, Toketee Falls is a famous waterfall in Oregon. Watson Falls, Oregon’s third-highest waterfall, is only a short distance up the road.
From Roseburg to Gold Hill, this path is 172 miles long. Add a drive around Crater Lake to the itinerary if you wish to add a few extra miles to the journey.
Fall Color Train Ride Along the Coast
This is a delightful road trip that brings you to the stunning northern Oregon coast even though it isn’t a drive through the fall foliage. Special excursions for fall magnificence are offered by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad in Wheeler. Ride a vintage diesel locomotive for an hour and a half roundtrip to view the fall foliage.
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