It’s October 1st! Which means Autumn is here and fall color is on its way. One of the best places to capture fall color on the West coast is in Oregon. While most of the year it is colored in shades of evergreen, in Autumn the deciduous trees, including oaks, red alders, maples, larches, and aspens begin to change color and add pops of oranges and yellows to contrast the ever-present green. Late-September to mid-October is the ideal time to see these colors, but depending on the weather earlier in the year, these explosions of color tend to go quickly, so get out there!
While Oregon is blanketed in evergreen forests, the cities contain more of the deciduous trees that will give you the best color. The most popular display of colors are the maples in the Portland Japanese Garden. For a free option, Forest Park is a great place to see color surrounding Portland’s famous bridges. But you can also chase fall color in the Columbia River Gorge if you are up for a hike, and up on the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop if you are up for a drive.
One of the top places to see gorgeous displays of color are at Silver Falls State Park near Salem, and the surrounding areas. However, this park is good pretty much any time of the year, so if you miss fall colors here, come back in winter for the potential for snow, or come back in spring to see peak green tones.
Corvallis & Eugene Area
The Willamette Valley has a milder climate than the north, so fall tends to linger a little longer here. The university campuses at Corvallis and Eugene are fantastic places to catch some color, in addition to welcoming in the new football season (are you a Duck or a Beaver?!). The Oregon coast is also a must-visit place for Autumn. The patches of color can be harder to find, but it is very rewarding when you do see them.
Other Areas in Oregon
The rest of Oregon is equally wondrous in fall. The McKenzie River area near Bend has beautiful color displays, and the Deschutes River Trail is a popular area for both hikers and bikers. In Southern Oregon, the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway has beautiful little scenes with swirling water around Autumn color, and Lithia Park is a must-see, where local trees intermix with European beech, Japanese snowbell and eastern flowering dogwood. Heading east, there are little splashes of color to be found at Steens, Malheur National Forest, and east of the Dalles – just waiting to be explored!
Comment below with what you thought of this guide to Autumn in Oregon – did I miss one of your favorite spots? Stay tuned for a guide on photographing these colors next! And definitely don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list to be notified of future blog posts, upcoming workshops, shop sales, and more!