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Best Places in PNW to Watch the Leaves Change

by Katie Nalle

The fall weather in the Pacific Northwest cultivates some of the most beautiful autumn foliage in the country. Although the perfect time to see these colors can be a little tricky to figure out, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous environment no matter when you visit. To spare yourself the research, here are some of the best places and times to see the colors of fall in the iconic PNW:

The Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia river forms the boundary between Washington and Oregon. You can drive over 1,200 miles beside the river and see the leaves change along the way. The ideal time to catch the leaves changing in this area is from mid-September to mid-October.

Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Located in Idaho, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway on Idaho’s Highway 75 runs through the Rocky Mountains. Along the Byway are the Sun Valley scenic resort and the Boise River Greenbelt— both great places to stop and see the fall foliage. The best time to visit this area is from late September to late October.

The Washington Arboretum

The Washington Arboretum is beautiful on its own, but it is also home to the lesser-known Seattle Japanese Garden. The Japanese Garden showcases plants not native to the Pacific Northwest including Ginko trees and Japanese Maple trees. The garden also features a stunning koi pond. The ideal time to visit the arboretum is from mid-September to mid-October.

Cathedral Park

Cathedral Park is located along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. You can sit in the park under giant deciduous trees while the awe-inspiring St. John’s Gothic-style bridge towers overhead. The best time to visit the park is from mid-September to mid-October.

Silver Falls State Park

Located in Willamette Valley, Oregon, the Silver Falls State Park features a whopping 10 waterfalls along an 8-mile trail aptly named the Trail of Ten Falls. The tallest waterfall on the trail sits at the height of almost 200 feet. The best time to hike the park is from mid to late October.


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