The Best Spots in PDX to Watch the Fall Colors Change

The Best Spots in PDX to Watch the Fall Colors Change

  • Emily Corning
  • 09/12/23

As summer fades into the background, the vibrant hues of autumn come to life, transforming the Portland area into a breathtaking canvas of reds, yellows, and oranges. This year, experts predict that colors will reach their peak fall colors between October 16th & October 23rd. If you're a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a serene escape, there's no better time than fall to explore the region's natural beauty. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the five (plus one bonus!) best places to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of fall foliage in the Portland metro area.

Hoyt Arboretum

Nestled within the heart of Portland's Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum boasts one of the most diverse collections of trees in the Pacific Northwest. With over 2,300 species and varieties, you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves transition from green to gold, red, and burgundy. Wander along the many trails, such as the Redwood Trail or the Wildwood Trail, to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant autumnal atmosphere.

Columbia River Gorge

A short drive east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is a renowned destination for fall foliage enthusiasts. The juxtaposition of the river's shimmering waters and the golden, fiery hues of the surrounding forests is simply awe-inspiring. Be sure to visit Multnomah Falls and Horsetail Falls for stunning waterfall views set against a backdrop of fall colors. Take the Historic Columbia River Highway for a picturesque drive with countless opportunities for leaf-peeping along the way.

Mount Hood

Venture a bit further from the city to Mount Hood, where you'll discover an alpine paradise blanketed in autumn splendor. Explore the Timberline Lodge area and the nearby hiking trails like the Timberline Trail or the Mirror Lake Loop, which offer striking vistas of Mount Hood framed by vibrant foliage. For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a scenic chairlift ride at Timberline Lodge to witness the landscape from above.

Powell Butte Nature Park

Located on the eastern edge of Portland, Powell Butte Nature Park offers a unique opportunity to enjoy fall colors without straying too far from the city. The park's 600 acres feature a network of trails that wind through meadows, orchards, and woodlands, providing excellent views of the changing leaves. Hike to the summit of Powell Butte for panoramic views of the city framed by colorful trees, making it an ideal spot for fall picnics.

Forest Park

Within the city limits, Forest Park is a haven for urban dwellers seeking an autumn retreat. With more than 5,000 acres of lush forest, it's one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The Wildwood Trail, a 30.2-mile long hiking route, takes you through a variety of landscapes, including beautiful hardwood forests. As you explore the park, you'll encounter maple, oak, and fir trees, all of which contribute to the vibrant fall foliage display.

Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden, nestled in the west hills of Portland, transforms into a mesmerizing autumn wonderland during fall. As you wander through the meticulously landscaped gardens, you'll be enchanted by the fiery hues of Japanese maple trees, serene koi ponds surrounded by golden foliage, and the peaceful ambiance that makes this garden a tranquil retreat for fall contemplation and photography. The serene beauty of the Japanese Garden provides a unique and serene backdrop for savoring the essence of autumn in the Portland area.


The Portland, Oregon metro area offers an abundance of natural beauty year-round, but there's something truly magical about witnessing the fall colors change. Whether you prefer an urban escape or a remote wilderness adventure, these destinations will satisfy your craving for autumn's vibrant spectacle. So, grab your camera, don your coziest sweater, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of fall in the Pacific Northwest. Don't wait too long, though – the colors of fall are fleeting, and this spectacular show won't last forever!

To see a 2023 Fall Foliage Prediction Map, click here: 2023 Fall Foliage Map

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