The peak of fall color is hitting the lower elevation areas of western Oregon this last week of October, which is pretty typical for this area. I paid a quick visit to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area on Saturday, 10/19/13, and found the the bigleaf maple trees throughout the the waterfall section of the Gorge have some good color. On some trees, the leaves had already turned brown or fallen, but on many others, the golden yellow foliage was just starting to happen. As seen in the photo above, the color at Multnomah Falls is fairly good; it should be even better in the next week or so. For nature and landscape photography in Oregon, the Gorge is the place to be from now through the first week of November.
On my way to the Gorge, I drove Highway 35 from the eastern slopes of Mount Hood down through the Hood River Valley. There is very little color at the high elevation areas like Mount Hood Meadows, but further down towards the valley the western larch or tamarack trees were starting to turn. They were more green than gold on Friday (10/18), but should also be looking very good in the coming days. Most of the vine maple along the highway was well past prime, but there were still a fair number of trees with brilliant reds and oranges.
On Tuesday, 10/22/13, I visited Silver Falls State Park, and found, much to my chagrin, that there is very little fall color left around the waterfalls. The leaves were gone from almost all of the bigleaf maple trees, and those that still clung to the branches were mostly brown. The good folks at the Friends of Silver Falls State Park Nature Store in the park told me that strong winds a couple of weeks ago had knocked down a good portion of the leaves, so it hasn’t been a great year for autumn color there. Even if the photo conditions weren’t great, it was great to walk the trails and enjoy the waterfalls on a cool, crisp autumn day.
In the Willamette Valley, ornamental maples and other landscape trees are looking great and there is spectacular color throughout parks and gardens. Grape vines in Wine Country are starting to turn, so the vineyards will soon be good photo subjects as well.
Where will you go for fall color photography – or where have you been?