The Perfect Fall Getaway in Cottage Grove
Take a two-day tour of covered-bridge country during the peak of autumn color.
Located at the south end of the Willamette Valley between the Coast and Cascade Mountain range, the town of Cottage Grove is small in size and big on beauty. Explore the covered bridges, waterfalls and bike rides along the scenic back roads. Stroll Main Street for one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants just minutes from wine country.Main Street, Cottage Grove by Joni Kabana
This charming town is best known as the Covered Bridge Capital of the Northwest. For that reason, many visitors start their journey with a tour of the bridges. A driving tour along the 20-mile/32-km Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Tour Route passes six of the regions remaining 20 covered bridges. Cyclists will love pedaling the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway for a total of 36 miles/58 km. The covered bridges are especially romantic in the fall season when the rivers are lined with brightly colored leaves.
After a morning full of historic sites, enjoy a lunch at Jack Sprats on Main Street for comfort food with vegan and gluten-free options or try Big Stuff Barbecue for a meat-lovers' meal. Charming downtown Main Street is the place to shop for antiques, games, flowers, furniture, books and more. Cottage Grove is also a draw for its 21 public murals which can be viewed along a self-guided walking tour.
The Bohemia Gold Mining Museum pays tribute to the area's mining past with exhibits of archival photos, antique tools and ore samples from local mines. East from downtown, the Oregon Aviation Historical Society & Museum exhibits several vintage aircraft in its mission to preserve local aeronautical history.
Stop at The Brew Station & Coast Fork Feed for 12 rotating taps of local beer and cider and a savory menu of potpies, toasted sandwiches and salads for a satisfying dinner. Take in an evening of musical theater at the Cottage Theatre, which stages a fun lineup of beloved favorites throughout the year.Spirit Falls by Sally McAleer
A second day in Cottage Grove offers the chance to explore outdoors. Nature lovers delight in a cluster of spectacular waterfalls about 29 miles/46.7km east of Cottage Grove in the Umpqua National Forest including Spirit Falls, Moon Falls and Pinard Falls. Each of the three falls can be accessed via a short hike from its respective trailhead. Fall is an excellent time to visit these falls as the verdant canyons surrounding the falls begin to pop with fall foliage. The trails tend to be less crowded during this season as well.
For another wonderful grouping of waterfalls, visit Brice Creek. The Brice Creek Trail passes many forested waterfalls and can be done in its entirety or in smaller sections. One of the falls on this trail is Trestle Creek Falls which offers a double-tiered waterfall which hikers can walk behind for a truly unique experience.
When hunger strikes, Buster's Main Street Cafe serves up hearty breakfast favorites like stuffed french toast and crab cakes benedict along with tasty lunch offerings like a locally sourced elk burger.Wine Country by Brittany Rossman
Dip into wine country to taste some of Oregon's finest wines. Don't miss the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris that the Willamette Valley is known for. Make Iris Vineyards your first stop to enjoy a glass under the wisteria-draped trellis. On some fall weekends, try some of their estate grown and roasted chestnuts. Make King Estate your final stop. Take a tour of the winery with knowledgeable staff. Complete this incredible trip with your favorite wine and dinner on the patio where you can enjoy the sunset and glorious views of golden fall vines in the South Willamette Valley.
Author: Melanie Ryan Griffin
Melanie is a University of Oregon graduate who studied Cultural Anthropology and Cinema. After finishing school, she worked as a touring concert photographer for many years before expanding into writing concert and album reviews for online publications. Melanie is now the Content Manager for Travel Lane County. She has lived in Eugene for more than a decade. She has also lived in California, New Mexico, Florida, Spain and Slovakia but loves Oregon the most.
Melanie enjoys exploring the vibrant arts and culture scene in Eugene. She also loves painting, cooking for friends, dancing, hiking and buying too many house plants. Follow her Instagram for Lane County's best kept secrets.