It's still early in the season, but many trees are already starting to turn. Here are some general suggestions of where to see leaves turning here in the Northwest, but I'd love to hear your suggestions too.
Ornamental maples planted around Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Spokane, and other Northwest cities can be brilliant. For example, at the peak of color in later October, just drive down Holman Road from Greenwood Avenue to Crown Hill in Seattle when the trees lining the street are crimson red. Stunning!
|Ornamental maple leaves, Joseph, Oregon|
In Seattle's Carkeek Park in late October, these two trees pictured below near the salmon slide are at their peak. You'll no doubt find other colorful trees around our cities and towns.
|In Seattle's Carkeek Park|
Our formal Japanese gardens are splendid in the fall when the Japanese maples turn: Try the Seattle Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park above downtown, and the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.
There's a reason this tree is named big leaf. Some of the leaves can get huge, upwards 10 inches in diameter. When they fall, they really carpet a trail.
|Big-leaf maples along a trail in Carkeek Park|
On another trip along the Columbia River on State Route 4, part of the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway, the abundant big-leaf maples made an otherwise gray Northwest day bright with hues of yellow and gold. This route in southwest Washington just across the river from Oregon is lovely any time of year as it winds past charming and historic places like sea kayaking destination Skamokawa.
|Big-leaf maples, Joseph, Oregon|
|Along the Snow Lake Trail, Alpine Lakes Wilderness|
|Along the Naches Loop Trail|
|Golden larches along the road to Hell's Canyon overlook, Wallowa Mountains, OR|
Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a great place to see these deciduous conifers from the trail, but you can also enjoy them from the car on a drive over Chinook Pass and other parts of the region, such as in the Blue and Wallowa Mountains of southeast Washington and northeast Oregon.
|Golden larches starting to turn, east of Chinook Pass|
In the eastern crest of the Cascades and high and dry country of eastern Oregon and Washington, quaking aspen also turn shimmery gold in the fall. If you can take the time, try heading to the remote Steens Mountain area in southeast Oregon for a good aspen show. I've also enjoyed seeing them in the Pasayten Wilderness in northern Washington.
|Along the Naches River, late October|
Happy Trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons.
|Fall is here! September 26, 2013, in Seattle.|