New England leaf peeping is probably at its finest in Vermont, where wilderness covers 75 percent of the land. Surrounded by more maple trees than anywhere else in the region, you'll find the brightest of yellows, oranges, and reds on nearly every highway and country road.
It's hard to beat the warm days and cool nights of fall. Add the vibrant colors of the changing leaves and it's easy to understand why so many people love fall.
The team at EyKuver put together a 2 part series of some of our favorite places to view fall's splendor. We are starting with the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains, Part 2 will cover the Mid-West and New England so stay tuned!
Pinpointing the exact dates the leaves are expected to change in the Pacific Northwest can be tricky due to ever changing weather; however, you can generally expect to see Fall colors -- bright yellows, reds, and oranges -- from mid-September until mid-October.
Here are a few of our favorite places to experience the beauty this time of year:
Oregon: Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River, which begins in British Columbia, carves through eastern Washington and eventually forms a boundary between Washington and Oregon before reaching the Pacific. The entire 1200-mile trip is stunning, but if you're short on time and focused on foliage, hit Oregon Highway 84 from Troutdale to just west of Umatilla. Take in the ambers, reds, and yellows from one of the numerous pull outs along the drive or immerse yourself in Fall color via horseback or from the water.
Oregon: Washington Park
Grab a cup of coffee and take a relaxing stroll to soak in the colors of Portland’s 400-acre Washington Park. The Hoyt Arboretum alone is home to more than 2,000 plant and tree varieties—among them, a Japanese Larch that turns golden before dropping its needles, and Siberian Dogwoods that turn fire-engine red. The park’s Portland Japanese Garden is regarded as one of the nation's best, with 12 acres of blazing fall color, plus meandering streams, beautiful walkways and views of Mount Hood.
Washington: Bloedel Reserve
From Seattle, hop a ferry and head over to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island for a Fall experience like no other. The 150-acre forest garden boasts pops of color under a lush canopy of Japanese maples that steal the show every Fall. Mid-October is the best time to see a brilliant display with leaves turning multiple shades of yellows, red, and purples.
Washington: Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden is the ultimate urban oasis: a flora-filled retreat in South Seattle complete with Koi ponds, bridges, trails, and Japanese maples, the most dramatic contributors to Fall foliage. Admission is free and mid-to-late October is the ideal time to visit.
Idaho: Sawtooth Scenic Byway
The 116-mile Sawtooth Scenic Byway through the Rocky Mountains is the perfect road trip for foliage fans. The entire stretch is breathtaking, but some of the showstoppers include the changing aspens and cottonwoods near Sun Valley Resort and the alpine meadows at the heart of the Sawtooth National Forest. On the other side of the forest in Boise (nicknamed the “City of Trees” for a reason), the oaks, maples, and ash serve up more autumnal awesomeness.
Fall is one of the most magnificent times of year in the Centennial State when Colorado becomes transformed into a palette of yellows and oranges, with little pops of red. The state’s shining star, the golden aspens, take center stage and attract leaf-peepers from far and wide.
Fall in Colorado is truly magical and here are the best areas to experience her splendor:
Kebler Pass – A favorite amongst photographers, Kebler Pass near Crested Butte, is a popular mountain pass that boasts the largest aspen grove in the U.S. Feel as though you are covered in gold as you drive through the towering aspens along the 33-mile unpaved road.
Kenosha Pass – Northeast of Fairplay, Kenosha Pass intersects a section of the Colorado Trail and provides one of the best places to see fall colors in Colorado. The moderate trail guides hikers amongst shades of yellow aspens before delivering them to the overlook of South Park Valley.
San Juan Skyway – Drive the 236-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains for some spectacular fall colors. The crown jewel of this route is the 70-mile section known as the Million Dollar Highway. Even if road trips aren’t your thing, you won’t be sorry you made this one!
Telluride – Resting within a box canyon, Telluride is surrounded by colors that come every fall that can be seen from almost anywhere in town. But the best way to view the change of seasons is via the Gondola ride to the ski resort.
Boreas Pass – Connecting the towns of Breckenridge and Como, Boreas Pass is known for its historic landmarks and the aspen groves that hug the winding road, creating a beautiful tunnel of yellow, orange, and red.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Along the Front Range, near Denver, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is filled with golden aspens, mountain meadows, and panoramic views of snow-capped mountain peaks, which are all easily accessed via the park’s trail system.
We hope you enjoyed our bucket list of locations in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains to visit in the fall. Stay tuned for our Fall Color Guide Part 2 covering the Mid-West and New England.
Don't forget to carry EyKuver eyeglass film in your car, wallet, backpack, and purse so you always have the best view!