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Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah – these are just some of the states in the Northwest that have incredible fall experiences. The Northwest as a whole is an absolute haven to spend this time of the year. Orchards overflowing with seasonal fruits, a variety of intense scenery, delicious treats made from local ingredients – are you swooning yet? A lot of activities folks flock to the area during the summer for, can still be experienced in the fall, except with fewer crowds and more color! But that’s not all, keep reading to find out reasons to visit the Northwest in the fall.
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Expect lots of celebrations when the fall rolls around because for one thing, it’s time for Octoberfest, aka Oktoberfest! Many cities put on their biggest, brew infused celebration of the season, but Leavenworth, Washington might be one of the most beloved hosts of the iconic festival. Conveniently, the riverside village already has a Bavarian theme. Real German entertainment, authentic food and constant flowing of kegs bring in folks from all over the globe during the month of October. Boise has a pretty sweet celebration as well, along with other cities.
Pumpkin Nights light up Salt Lake City, with countless jack-o-lanterns, both real and artificial. Different displays are created by various artists, and it’s fantastic. Get chills along the “Tour to Die For” in Lincoln City along the Oregon Coast. Come watch competitors steer massive hollowed pumpkins through the lake at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. Many towns are festively adorned with scarecrows and spooky decor to round it all out.
From the Sawtooths, Tetons to the Cascades, mountains spill their way over the Northwest for days. More sparse rock peaks blend with lushly coated hills that put on quite the show come autumn. Come experience the magic of Jackson Hole amongst Grand Teton National Park, as colors change and wildlife prepares for the upcoming winter. Or head to Idaho to see starkly different perspectives as one heads out of Boise into greener forests.
Apple Creek Orchard, The Farm at Swans Trail, Ray French Orchard, Smith’s Hilltop Orchard—Washington overflows with places to pick a variation of apples. Traditional favorites from red delicious, to newer varieties can be tasted fresh off the branch. If you’ve only had apples from the grocery store, this will certainly be a memorable treat.
With all of the apple orchards that are sprinkled through Idaho, Oregon, and especially Washington State, a sensible byproduct is hard cider. Cider was actually the staple drink of Americans before beer was introduced, and crafters have come up with far more interesting variations than just plain, which is still amazing. While cider can be accessed all year, what more festive time to sip one than in the fall? Schilling Cider in Seattle has a crisp variation with a spicy hint of ginger.
Weather in the Northwest varies greatly in the fall, but generally, it’s perfect for outdoor adventures. This is the time when temperatures are changing rapidly causing the leaves to change into fiery hues, but surprisingly warm moments can emerge when the sun is hitting just right. Boise afternoons can be kissed with sunshine just enough to knock the chill out of the air. A nippy Bend morning can turn into a comfortable early afternoon.
The northwest is known for a slew of gorgeous waterfalls, lakes, rivers and streams. While those add to the stunning backdrop of colors and golden sunlight, folks take advantage of recreational opportunities the season brings among the water. Idaho has an overlooked fishing season, as the crowds are greatly reduced, and the chilly water is stimulating the fish. Water levels are also lower making rivers more accessible. Trout that may have migrated away return thanks to colder conditions. Steelhead and Chinook are brimming from the Clearwater River to the Snake River.
Beartooth Scenic Byway is the mother of all scenic drives in the Northwest. Winding through Wyoming, travelers pass through forests, mountains and alpine meadows. It’s even more surreal either amongst spring wildflowers or colorful leaves. Oregon alone has 16 scenic byways that drop jaws year-round, but the Cascade Lakes route out of Bend is loaded with side hikes and crystal clear waters that are painting perfect. Bring a picnic lunch from the smokehouse in Sisters, Oregon and just soak it all in.
Cozy Coffee Time
Coffee shops become even cozier come autumn. This is true just about anywhere. But the Northwest has really good coffee and picturesque towns with the most adorable cafes. Snuggle up at the Looney Bean in Bend, a cabin-like shop that sits behind the main buildings of downtown, amongst a foliage laden recreation area. The Killer Bee latte pairs a touch of honey and a bite of cayenne with creamy espresso and milk. Through the region, you’ll notice adorable tiny drive through shacks that all serve up incredible warm beverages as well.
Local bakeries such as Angeline’s in Sisters, Oregon, and The Bunnery in Jackson Hole, keep up with seasonal flavors. A pumpkin muffin with a caramel latte can be found with ease, along with other traditionally fall flavors. Of course the marionberry scones at Angeline’s are a “must”. Voodoo Doughnut in Portland whips up a fluffy yeast donut topped with a maple glaze and crispy bacon. And that’s quite the sweet finish.