If you’re looking for a good place to photograph Fall Color, Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon is looking good right now.
Overall, I’d say this is not a great year for fall color in the Pacific Northwest, due to the lack of rain and unusually warm temperatures we’ve had going back to early spring, but on a visit to the Steens earlier this week I found plenty of colorful trees to work with.
Driving the Steens Mountain Loop starting at Page Springs Campground just east of Frenchglen I found multiple groves of aspen, and those from Fish Lake up to Jackman Park are at the peak of color.
This being a somewhat odd year for the leaves, some trees are still green, while others are bright yellow. In a few places, especially near Jackman Park, you’ll see groves where the leaves have turned orange.
My guess is that the color will be good for at least another week, and there are currently no storms in the weather forecast that will blow the leaves away. In fact, the weather is predicted to continue to be unseasonably warm, so a roadtrip to southeastern Oregon will be a delight.
Somewhat surprisingly, the cottonwood trees around Frenchglen have not started to turn color yet, and the aspens over in Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge are just beginning to turn.
Keep in mind that this is hunting season, so be sure to wear bright colors when you’re out in the woods or the sage. On another note, the Steens Mountain Loop Road is in very good condition now; yes there are many places with minor washboarding, but there are no deep ruts and a regular passenger car can make the whole loop.
Roadtrip anyone? If you go, let me know what you find.