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While many people flock to the Northeast in the fall season, the Northwest has lots to offer as well. This is especially true if you want to spend some time getting to know the state of Oregon and all of the amazing things it has to offer. To help you plan your autumn adventure, here are some of the best things to do in Oregon in the fall.
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Do a Brewery Tour
What Is It? Oregon is packed with breweries and has many more than most places anywhere in the world.
Why Do It? As the temperatures cool down but still remain pleasant, Oregon’s breweries are a great way to get to know the local scene. Many breweries have outdoor seating for nice fall days, offer tours to help you learn more about the beer-making process, and have a family-friendly vibe that welcomes children and dogs.
Good to Know: Some popular breweries in the state include Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, and Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene. However, chances are that you’ll find a great brewery nearby pretty much anywhere you visit while in Oregon!
Go Glamping for the Weekend
What Is It? The fall season in Oregon is also an ideal time to plan a glamping trip that combines getting out in nature with many of the comforts of home.
Why Do It? If roughing it in a basic tent isn’t for you but you want something more unique than a standard hotel, you’re in luck because there are some excellent yurts, cabins, and other glamping options here to choose from.
Good to Know: For example, there’s the Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton, Out ‘n’ About Treehouses in Cave Junction, the Elk Lake Resort near Bend, and Vernonia Springs not too far from Portland. You’ll also find some awesome glamping experiences offered on private properties in Oregon through Airbnb.
Join an Oktoberfest Celebration
What Is It? Typically celebrated in September as a celebration of German beer, food, music, and heritage, Oktoberfest celebrations are plentiful in Oregon.
Why Do It? Cities and small towns here embrace the Oktoberfest culture and really help you live like a local and have a fun time in the fall season. One of the largest celebrations is the Mount Angel Oktoberfest, which features food chalets, live music, and running races.
Good to Know: Depending on where you are in the state, it’s also fun to check out the Newberg Oktoberfest, Bend Oktoberfest, Brookings Annual Oktoberfest, and others.
Experience the Columbia River Gorge
What Is It? One of the most epic places to visit in the state of Oregon is the Columbia River Gorge.
Why Do It? Known for its iconic waterfalls, abundant hiking trails, and plentiful foliage, this natural area is stunningly beautiful to see in the fall. The gorge here is about 80 miles long and 4,000 feet deep.
Good to Know: Top attractions are Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Latourell Falls. To see colorful leaves at the gorge, try hiking at Hamilton Mountain, Dry Creek Falls, or the Klickitat Trail. Beyond just hiking, it’s also fun to go mountain biking and fishing in this area.
Plan a Spa Vacation
What Is It? Oregon offers much more than just camping and glamping as far as local accommodations go.
Why Do It? There are some excellent spa resorts in Oregon that offer a wide range of treatments and overnight accommodations to treat yourself or someone you care about on a weekend trip.
Good to Know: Relaxation is easy and effortless when you make a booking at the Columbia River Gorge Hotel & Spa, Hallmark Resort in Cannon Beach, Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach, or Five Pine Lodge and Spa in Sisters.
Visit a Local Pumpkin Patch
What Is It? Fall also means pumpkin season in Oregon because pumpkins grow well in this Northwest climate. There are some really fun pumpkin patches to visit in the state to get you in the mood for fall and enjoy some family fun with your loved ones.
Why Do It? Some pumpkin patches let you pick your own pumpkin from the field, and many include hayrides, spooky events, and delicious fall-themed foods.
Good to Know: If you’re in Portland, check out the Original Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. Other pumpkin-themed destinations to add to your fall itinerary include Smith Rock Ranch in Terrebonne, Liepold Farms Fall Festival in Boring, Lee Farms in Tualatin, and Mahaffy Ranch in Coos Bay.
Visit the National Historic Oregon Trail
What Is It? To learn a bit about history, you can also plan to visit the National Historic Oregon Trail in the fall with your family.
Why Do It? The Oregon Trail game is something that many of us grew up with as kids, and here you can learn about the real lives and struggles of people who made the journey. The park has an interpretive center about five miles east of Baker City, Oregon.
Good to Know: You can read about the stories of pioneers, Native Americans, and miners who have made their way through the area. Check the park’s events page to see what’s going on during your fall trip to the area.
See Crater Lake National Park
What Is It? Crater Lake National Park boasts stunning vistas that change dramatically in the fall season.
Why Do It? The weather is still usually pleasant and the bright blue water of the lake is framed with red, orange, and gold colors of the surrounding trees to give you perfect photography opportunities.
Good to Know: While fall is particularly beautiful, this park is a year-round destination for outdoor lovers.
Check Out a Local Museum
What Is It? There are lots of museums that you can visit in Oregon to learn something new while keeping the whole family entertained.
Why Do It? Not all fall days in Oregon are pleasant ones to be outside. This is the perfect indoor activity the entire family can enjoy.
Good to Know: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland has many exhibits, submarine tours, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. Some other great museums to visit are the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Museum of Mental Health in Salem, Portland Art Museum, and the High Desert Museum in Bend.
Soak in Hot Springs
What Is It? When the temperatures start to dip, warm up in some soothing, natural hot springs in Oregon.
Why Do It? Many of these hot springs are year-around destinations but perfect for a fall excursion after a hike in the wilderness.
Good to Know: The Alvord Hot Springs and Crystal Crane Hot Springs are located in Eastern Oregon, while the Paulina Lake Hot Springs is in Central Oregon. In the Willamette Valley area, you’ll find the Breitenbush Hot Springs and Terwilliger Hot Springs. Travel a bit further south and you’ll find Umpqua Hot Springs and the Lithia Springs Resort.
Hike in a State Park
What Is It? Oregon is also home to many beautiful state parks that are wonderful for fall hiking adventures.
Why Do It? The state park system here has a lot to offer in terms of trails of different skill levels, overnight camping, picnic areas, and outdoor recreation offerings.
Good to Know: Smith Rock State Park is an impressive park with rock formations to hike along and epic rock climbing opportunities. Other state parks we love for hiking in Oregon include Silver Falls State Park, Guy W. Talbot State Park, Cape Blanco State Park, and Samuel Boardman State Park.
Enjoy Some Local Wine
What Is It? The Willamette Valley is a famous winemaking region in Oregon that is known for its pinot noirs.
Why Do It? This is a wonderful type of wine to enjoy in the fall, and there are many local wineries that you can visit to try it at an onsite tasting or on a tour.
Good to Know: Some popular Willamette Valley wineries include Archery Summit Winery in Dayton, Argyle Winery in Dundee, Chehalem Winery in Newberg, and Elk Cove Vineyards in Gaston. It’s also fun to join a guided winery tour in this region so that someone else can do the driving and you can enjoy more delicious local wines.
Go Mountain Biking
What Is It? Mountain biking is one of the most popular outdoor recreation activities in Oregon, especially around the outdoorsy town of Bend.
Why Do It? Bend has at least 277 miles of mountain biking trails and lots of businesses that cater to bikers.
Good to Know: Oakridge in the Willamette Valley is another popular place for biking among old-growth forests. Head to Mt. Hood to bike with volcano views, to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon for summit views, and to the Baker City area in Eastern Oregon for high alpine adventures with bike lifts. Some of the best mountain biking trails in Oregon are the McKenzie River Trail, Blackrock Freeride Trails, and Sandy Ridge.
Soak Up the Fall Colors
What Is It? While many of these fall suggestions involve being active and attending events, sometimes the best fall days in Oregon are spent doing nothing at all besides observing the colorful foliage on the trees.
Why Do It? Many forested areas here become vibrant with reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall to entice your senses and inspire you.
Good to Know: Consider heading to Silver Falls State Park, Forest Park in Portland, the McKenzie River National Recreation Area near Eugene, or the Deschutes River Trail in Central Oregon to get your fall foliage fix.