Where to See Fall Foliage in Oregon

If the majestic fall colors aren't enough to tempt you to the Willamette Valley, perhaps the award-winning vineyards will be
If the majestic fall colors aren't enough to tempt you to the Willamette Valley, perhaps the award-winning vineyards will be | © Vanessa McCauley / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mike Title
12 October 2020

When fall arrives in Oregon the mood changes completely. After the optimism of spring and joys of summer come the reflective, cozy months of fall, with the trees changing from vibrant greens to fiery oranges and reds. For those keen to enjoy the fall foliage in Oregon, we at Culture Trip have chosen some of our favorite places.

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Winery
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Oregon is known for its mountain ranges, dormant volcanoes, desert and much more – making it the perfect destination for those who like to explore nature. Willamette Valley Vineyards is just a 45-minute drive southwest of Portland, set within grounds that, while spectacular at any time of the year, are particularly amazing during the fall – especially after a glass or two of award-winning wine.

Silver Falls State Park

Park, Natural Feature
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Silver Falls, Golden and Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
© George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo
Come fall, Silver Falls State Park – just 30 minutes east of Salem by car – is likely to drop the jaw of even the most seasoned leaf peeper. The most popular hike in the park is the Trail of Ten Falls, where you’ll see waterfall after waterfall – so many that you may even lose count. There are bridges and viewpoints that make it easy to capture this beauty without feeling that nature has been infringed upon in any way.

Bagby Hot Springs

Natural Feature
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On the Clackamas River, about two and a half hours’ drive south from Portland, lies Bagby Springs. After paying a forest ranger $5 per car for your day pass, an easy 1.5-mile (2.4-km) hike through the forest of large Douglas firs, western red cedar and western hemlocks will take you to the hot springs. Soak in a respectful and friendly atmosphere, and enjoy the glory of nature which surrounds you.

Washington Park

Park, Zoo
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If you find yourself in Portland and wish to revel in nature without leaving the city, Washington Park is a fantastic option. It’s home to the Hoyt Arboretum, an ideal spot at which to spend time enjoying the many protected trees as they change color during the fall. See the coral-bark Japanese maple, the common snowberry and the magnificent maples, and don’t forget to make a stop at the gardens of Pittock Mansion.

Drake Park

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Fall Colors at Drake Park in Bend, Oregon
© Kathy Weissgerber / Alamy Stock Photo
Three hours south of Portland, on the edge of the Deschutes National Forest, Drake Park and Mirror Pond make for a particularly picturesque area at any time of year. Nevertheless, with its abundance of maple trees, the area becomes a swathe of vibrant red come fall; and when the willows turn yellow and hang over the lake they create a scene that you won’t forget in a hurry. If you are lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, you might catch one of the romantic sunsets these parts are famous for.

Ashland, Lithia Park

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Lower Duck Pond in early morning, a canvas of fall color, Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon.
© Carol Barrington / Alamy Stock Photo
South of the Umpqua National Forest is the city of Ashland, home to Lithia Park. The fall colors here are rich (ideal for budding photographers), while ducks frolic on the pond and the temperature drops to a comfortable level after what can be long, hot summers of over 100F (38C). Check out the little Japanese garden – it’s a great place to find some peace.
These recommendations were updated on October 12, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.