Best Bets For Colorful Fall Hikes
Autumn is a glorious time of year across Oregon, and it can be stunning in and around Eugene - Springfield. Looking for colorful leaves that crunch underfoot and brighten up the brisk days with vibrant reds, oranges and yellows? We've compiled a list of some of the best leafy spots for fall frolics, fall photos and fall hikes.
Now is the time to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail to experience the beauty of fall across the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Here are a few of the local favorite spots to visit this fall season.
Located just south of Eugene, Spencer Butte is well-recognized as one of Eugene’s most iconic “urban escapes.” Plan a clear day for this hike and be rewarded with panoramic views from the Willamette Valley to the Cascade Mountains, featuring a landscape of colorful foliage in the fall. The short trail is steep but well maintained.
Elijah Bristow State Park
For a quieter ramble, explore Elijah Bristow State Park where you are more likely to encounter horses along the trails than hikers. Thickly forested paths hug the Willamette River Bank where golden colors mix with green. Clearings open to yellow meadows or the deep green expanse of river. Bring your fishing rod and take a break by the mossy banks.
Meander the many trails crisscrossing Mount Pisgah from the riverside arboretum to the grassy slopes of the mountain. Discover woodsy trails strewn with fallen leaves — ankle deep in some sections! Yellow leaf hues blend with the dappled sunlight for the perfect fall effect. Smell the damp forest, sharp pine, wet oak and warm earth. Mount Pisgah offers numerous trails through diverse landscapes.
Ruth Bascom Riverbank Park System
Eugene - Springfield
Fall just might be the best time of year to walk, run or bike this Eugene staple. Follow along this twelve-mile loop as it wraps around the Willamette River and winds near Eugene's city center. Top hot spots for leaf color include Alton Baker Park and Skinner Butte Park with their lovely landscaping. Take a detour from the main paths and cross the Peter Defazio footbridge and walk toward Autzen Stadium. During October's peak time, the stretch of woods between the bridge and the stadium are alight with huge yellow leaves.
Embrace the total fall experience with a staycation at the historic Campbell House Inn, on the edge of Skinner Butte Park. This special bed and breakfast has its own gardens with beautiful trees.
Middle Fork Path at Dorris Ranch
Connecting Clearwater Park and Dorris Ranch the Middle Fork Path is a four-mile (6.4 km) long paved path weaving along the Willamette River. Plastered with fallen leaves, this path is a great option for walking, running and cycling through a canopy of fall trees. Afterwards stroll Main Street in Springfield and enjoy a cup of warm soup or a tasty craft beer.
University of Oregon Campus
Oregon's green, lush campus features dozens of heritage trees. In fact, they even have a self guided tree trail (PDF) and a comprehensive tree atlas! You'll spot many of the trees around Straub Hall, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and University Hall (formerly Deady Hall). Hike across campus from the Pioneer Cemetery toward the Erb Memorial Union, zigzagging to meander by the library and art museum, and then back toward the Knight Campus science center.
Enjoy a Fall River Trip
For a different perspective, enjoy the changing leaves along the Willamette River by jet boat! Tours will take you out to the middle of the water so you can admire both banks and watch for wildlife too. Floating the river in autumn is an exciting, fresh way to look at nature's beauty. Wrap up in a blanket, bring a bottle of wine and cruise the water way as the sun casts its last golden rays over the fiery fall trees.
Plan Your Hike
Before departing for your hike, be ready with backup trail idea in case the trail looks busy. Find more tips with our Adventure Checklist and visit TripCheck.com for the latest updates on road and weather conditions. The drive to the trailhead may be just as colorful as the hike itself, so slow down and enjoy the journey!