5 Amazing places for fall color in the Pacific Northwest

November 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This is one of my favorite times of the year when the leaves of all types of deciduous trees and bushes start turning from green to various shades of yellow, orange and red. Landscapes complete change. The weather also starts to change. Not only do the temperatures drop but there are more days with unique weather that add to this special time of year with rain, fog or even snow. Here is a selection of beautiful fall photos



Tumwater Canyon BridgeTumwater Canyon BridgeThe Great Norther Railroad Built a tunnel through Stevens Pass in Washington State. The Railroad discovered the exhaust from the steams engines caused problems in the tunnels. Because of this they used electric engines to pull the cars through. A dam was created in Tumwater Canyon on the Wenachee River. The water was sent through a pipeline down to a plant that generated electricity for the engines. In 1954 the railroad started using diesel engines and abandon the pipeline and power plant. This bridge was used for the pipeline to cross the river. It is now been converted into a footbridge that follows a trail of the old pipeline.

Tumwater Canyon just outside of Leavenworth Washington

1. The Leavenworth area in Washington State has many different spots for beautiful fall color. Tumwater Canyon  all the way up Steven's Pass has all sorts of potential for good color. Icicle creek is another place and if that wasn't enough, the waterfront park in downtown Leavenworth offers even more with trails all along the river. Not done yet? The local orchards and fruit stands are a great place to get a local taste of fall with creative autumn displays, and maybe even pick up a yummy treat. There is so much to offer to those who just love this season. Oh, I didn't even mention Oktoberfest in Leavenworth. Usually celebrated on the first 3 weekends of October.


Path to Multnomah FallsPath to Multnomah FallsThe main pathway that visitors use to view Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

2. When I think of fall, the Columbia Gorge is first to pop in my head. The Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway is a must! In Late October is the best time to go. The drive itself is amazing. Then there are all the waterfalls surrounded by all types of trees and plants in different shades of orange and gold. Some of the falls are just off the road while others involve taking a nice fall hike. Other attractions in the area are a fish hatchery, Cascade Locks and Hood River. There also various other State Parks and National Forest trails that offer fall colors and might not have as much traffic as some of the others.


Middle Fork BrillanceMiddle Fork Brillance

Middlefork of the Flathead River

3. A place that many don't always think of when it comes to fall color but is amazing is Glacier National Park. My favorite areas are on the East side but there is color to be found everywhere. The bonus here is all the wildlife you will encounter too. The elk and moose are in rut. The bears are packing on the calories with all the berries. Best time to visit is mid to late September when most of the crowds are gone. If will feel like you have the park all to yourself.


The Buckner Orchard located in Stehekin Washington

4. North Cascades National Park has its share of great fall color as well. One of the best places to see this is a little out of the way but well worth it. The small town of Stehekin is located at the northwest end of Lake Chelan and is only accessible by boat, plane or hiking. The Historic Buckner Homestead including an orchard is a great place to start. Rainbow Falls is another must see. The Stehekin Valley road offers many sights of big leaf maples in all their glory and many creeks and streams surrounded by all kinds of autumn color.

Silver Falls Historic DistrictSilver Falls Historic DistrictNestled in the Willamette valley, Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is unique and special place. Where the South Falls Lodge and outbuildings stand today is where a once small community called Silver Falls City use to reside. Around 1883, about a dozen families called this town home for about 40 years. The Great Depression had a huge effect on Silver Falls City it soon was no more. But the Civilian Conservation Corps was brought in construct buildings, bridges trails and other infrastructure. This was the beginning of Silver Falls State Park. Today, it is one of Oregon's most visited parks with many of the structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

South Falls Historic District in Silver Falls State Park

5. Located in the Northwest  area of Oregon, Silver Falls State Park  is one of the most popular parks in the state. Everyone loves waterfalls and nothing goes better with fall color than waterfalls. This place is like the chocolate and peanut butter of Autumn. The waterfalls are not the only place to find color. Along the pathways, creeks, roads and the South Falls Historic District. Coupled with the changing leaves, the weather can also add some interesting elements too with fog or an overcast rainy day. If you have never been, this is a must for your Pacific Northwest autumn bucket list!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to comment and as always, these images are available for sale on my site.



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