10 Parks to See Foliage in the Fall
The best part of autumn is seeing green leaves change into brilliant shades of scarlet and gold. Oregon is one of the best places in the U.S. to see this annual transformation, and nothing beats a foliage excursion capped with a picnic featuring fine Oregon wine. Ten parks to make the most of beautiful fall colors:
- Mt. Hood Scenic Loop: At 146 miles, this scenic drive provides plenty of autumnal viewing options. The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood may be the focal points of the trip, but the abundant trees with their stunning fall colors are the real stars of the show.
- Forest Park - Just west of downtown Portland, Forest Park is home to an extraordinary amount of flaming maple trees. The Maple Trail Loop Hike is the best way to enjoy the splendor, so strap on some comfy hiking shoes.
- McKenzie River - Here, you can enjoy the fall foliage on foot or by car. Hiking trails along the riverfront are the perfect place to take in the warm fall colors. For those who prefer to enjoy the scenery from their vehicle, the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway winds around colorful aspen stands that will give you a brand new appreciation for the season.
- Washington Park - Right in the heart of downtown Portland, Washington Park may not be your first guess for amazing fall foliage, but you’d be making a mistake to skip this one. Between the trees at the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden, you’ve got a feast of autumn color to enjoy.
- Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway - The 172-mile route hugs the Upper Rogue and North Umpqua Rivers, both of which are lined with beautiful trees dressed in their autumn best.
- Drake Park - This Bend, OR park is a fall must. Mirror Pond holds true to its name, reflecting the brilliant colors of the maples and willows that fill the park and giving you double the beauty.
- Lithia Park - Lithia Park covers 93 acres in Ashland. In addition to the “usual suspects,” like maples and aspen, you’ll see some different species, like the Japanese snowbell and European beech.
- Upper Klamath Basin - The oaks are the real stars here. Other autumn performers include maple, aspen, and red alder.
- Silver Falls State Park - The Trail of Ten Falls is the spot to be, and hiking along this path will introduce you to color like you’ve never seen before.
- Willamette Valley, aka Wine Country - People don’t normally associate fall foliage with wine country, but Oregon’s Willamette Valley is still host to some of the season’s most phenomenal color shows. While the stands of white oak have given way to vineyards, the warm browns and yellows of the season can still be found throughout the Valley - along with delectable Rainstorm wines.
Autumn’s dry, crisp, dynamic flavor pairs perfectly with complex, diverse, and “colorful” taste of a great Oregon wine. Enjoy.