Fall is almost here! And while we love our gorgeous scenery all year long, from the snow-capped mountains in the winter to grassy hillsides packed with wildflowers in the spring, there is nothing quite like autumn in the Pacific Northwest.
To help you maximize the season, we’re sharing several outdoor fall adventures worth embarking on in the Pacific Northwest, from apple picking to wine sipping and glamping in the woods to bonfires on the beach.
Add these fall adventures to your bucket list, whether you live in Washington State or Central Oregon — or elsewhere throughout the region!
NOTE: Due to the wildfires throughout the region, double check the air quality and status of the area here before heading out on your outdoor fall adventure.
Pick Pumpkins on Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island, Oregon
Is there anything more quintessential than pumpkin picking during the fall? Situated just north of Portland, Sauvie Island is home to three fantastic farms and pumpkin patches, including Bella Organic, Topaz Farm and The Pumpkin Patch. Take your pick between the three, which include attractions like corn mazes, hayrides, petting zoos, pony rides, and of course, all the fall treats your heart can handle. Learn more about these pumpkin patches (and discover more in the area!) with our guide to pumpkin patches in the Portland area. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out these pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the Vancouver, Washington area.
Pick Fruit + Taste Wine Along the Hood River Fruit Loop
Hood River, Oregon
There is so much to do in Hood River during the fall, but our favorite activity just might be a drive along the Hood River Fruit Loop. The Hood River Fruit Loop is a scenic 35-mile drive through the Hood River Valley featuring 29 member stands offering a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, food and more. The farm-fresh goodness continues well into the fall at a number of stands, including Pearl’s Place, Smiley’s Red Barn, Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery, Packer Orchards & Farm Place, Packer Orchards and Bakery, Draper Girls Cider Company, Kiyokawa Family Orchards & Fruit Stand, Mt View Orchards Cidery & Fruit Stand, and many more. Learn more about the many stands along the Hood River Fruit Loop using our complete guide.
Sip Wine at Willamette Valley Wineries
Newberg, Oregon Area
In Oregon, winery visits are not just reserved for the spring and summer. With the renowned Willamette Valley in our backyard, there are endless possibilities for wine tasting. Take a look at some of the best wineries in the Willamette Valley, featuring plenty of cozy interiors perfect for sipping on pinot noir and snacking on a cheese plate as you watch the rain fall on surrounding vineyards. Not to mention, on pleasant fall days, there’s nothing like sipping a glass of wine on an outdoor patio!
If you’re looking for more winery options throughout the region, check out some of the best wineries in Oregon and Southwest Washington, extending from Central Oregon all the way to Ridgefield, Washington.
Sip Beer Among Hops at Crosby Hop Farm
If wine isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of places to enjoy an expertly crafted beer in this beer-loving region. And we can’t think of a more authentic beer-drinking experience than amidst the hops used to brew said beer. Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn recently opened their TopWire Hop Project, a beer garden nestled among lush green hop cones with hop wires running overhead (hence the name TopWire!). Learn more about this unique project in this feature by The New School.
If you’re looking for more outdoor beer-drinking opportunities in the region, head to one of the outdoor patios at a brewery in Portland, in Bend or in the Hood River area. Many, if not all, are likely to have a seasonal fall beer on tap!
Although the region is known for its abundance of evergreen trees, we certainly have plenty of fall colors in our midst — you just have to know where to look! In fact, we happen to think that the contrast of dark green with brilliant pops of yellow, orange and red creates a more colorful and interesting display during the fall. Embark on one of these hikes to encounter the best fall foliage throughout the region, including hikes in and around the Portland Metro, Central Oregon and Southwest Washington. Each of these hikes provides beautiful scenery, including mountaintop views, waterfalls, rivers, evergreen trees — and of course, plenty of yellow, orange, red, and sometimes even purple leaves.
Pick Your Own Washington Apples at Johnson Orchards
Washington is known for its impressive apple production, as the state produces about 58 percent of all apples grown in the country. East of the Cascades in the central areas of the state, you’ll find an endless number of apple orchards growing Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Pink Lady and more varieties. Make your way to Johnson Orchards in Yakima, a family-owned and -operated orchard that has been in business since 1904. They grow several varieties of cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, nectarines, pears, plums, and of course — apples. Starting in August, you can pick your own apples at Johnson Orchards and Honeycrisp apples should be ready by September. Check their website or call before you go for updated hours and information as the season progresses.
Go Salmon Fishing
Port Orford, Oregon
Fall is the prime time for salmon fishing in the region — and Port Orford is the best place to do it. Both the Elks and Sixes Rivers run through this tiny coastal town in southern Oregon and down to the Redwood Forest. During the fall, salmon are at their biggest (reaching up to 60 pounds!) and are returning to their home streams to spawn. Learn more about salmon fishing at Elks and Sixes Rivers here.
Once you reel in your catch, follow this recipe for lemon baked salmon with garlic dill sauce from Portland-based Minimalist Baker.
Go Glamping at Getaway Near Mount Adams
Photo courtesy of Getaway
Get away from it all with a stay at Getaway, a collection of tiny-home-style cabins in the woods near Mount Adams. Open all year long, Getaway House cabins are especially magical during the fall and winter, as they’re equipped with heat for the cozy months (and AC for the warm months!). Beyond just a vacation in the woods, Getaway House aims to help guests unplug from their phones and laptops, and purposefully doesn’t have WiFi available. Plus, each cabin has a cell phone lockbox so you can store your devices away during your stay!
Both the two-person and four-person cabins have comfortable beds adjacent to expansive windows overlooking the wooded forest. And kitchens are stocked with all the essentials you’ll need to cook during your stay, either on the stove or over the campfire just outside. Plus, each cabin has its own bathroom with a shower. Getaway House offers all the comforts of home — with an outdoorsy twist!
If you’re looking for more glamping ideas in the area, check out these unique glamping destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Visit Tumalo Falls
If you live in the Central Oregon region, it’s likely you’re familiar with the gorgeous Tumalo Falls, considered the tallest waterfall in and around Bend. But you may not realize that there are several (nine, to be exact!) waterfalls dotting the creek beyond the infamous Tumalo Falls. And during the fall, Tumalo Falls is certainly worth a visit, especially as leaves are turning brilliant hues and the trails are less packed with visitors.
Take the Tumalo Creek Trail to Tumalo Falls, then continue for about 3 miles to encounter several other sparkling waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. Once you reach the intersection with Swampy Lake Trail, you can turn left and head towards the trailhead via Bridge Creek to make a loop! This waterfall adventure in the heart of Central Oregon should not be missed — especially during the fall.
What quintessential fall activities are on your to-do list this year? Let us know in the comments below!