Portland to SF fall foliage information

Jan 16th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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Portland to SF fall foliage information

My husband and I are planning a road trip from Portland, OR to San Fransico, CA. , length of trip- approx 7 days, in Sept. or Oct. Our interests are photography, nature, some hiking and fishing. We're not familiar with the fall season in this area of the US and would like some information regarding the timing of the trip. We would like to visit the Columbia Gorge but beyond that would like some recommendation for a scenic coastal drive. Any information would be greatly appreciated!
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Jan 17th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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In our meanderings up and down the coast in leaf season we have found the most color going between the interstate and the coast, not on the coast itself. I like Oregon 6, 38, or 42.
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Jan 17th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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For your big view of the Columbia Gorge, hike up the trail all the way to the top of Multnomah Falls. The parking area is actually in the median of I-84 less than an hour out of Portland. The fall foliage is mostly Aspens and Bigleaf Maple.
A great deal of Oregon is a conifer forest-green all year.
Start your coastal tour in Astoria and take short side trips off US 101 where you see the color you like.
After Labor Day you should be able to set your own pace down the coast without hotel reservations. If you run short on time, you can come back over to I-5. Either Redwood NP or Muir Woods is worth a visit before San Francisco.
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Jan 17th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Agree with bobmrg that most of the fall color is inland - I remember much spectacular color at the coast

Come to Clear Lake - about an hour from Eugene - usually have a lot of beautiful color there .
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Jan 17th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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But also remember -- we don't really get the magnificent color displays like in New England. There will be pockets of yellow foliage but whole mountainsides of blazing color.
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Jan 17th, 2011, 01:25 PM
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oops - that should read >> . . . but not whole mountainsides of blazing color.<<
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Jan 18th, 2011, 04:17 PM
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Thanks for all your information, it has been helpful. Approximately when would be a good time to see some color change in the leaves?
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Jan 19th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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The Columbia River Gorge and Oregon coastline are spectacular regardless of the time of year. So, I wouldn't plan the trip around the hope of seeing fall colors because the rains may have set in by then. Mid-September should be safe.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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Fall foliage color varies depending on the region, but generally beginning to mid-October is peak color change for most of the state.

There is a statewide fall foliage blog for Oregon that will help you with travel planning, timing, and tips: http://www.oregonfallfoliage.com.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Yeah, not much color happening in California in September - the nights aren't cool enough at that time. This year we had some spectacular fall foliage (at least in the Bay Area) in October and November.
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Feb 19th, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Thanks so much for all your help!
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Feb 24th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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I suggest traveling to the Klamath Basin (Highways 97, 66) to see endless aspen groves and the state’s largest body of water, Klamath Lake, which is a resting spot for some 7 million migratory waterfowl from the peculiar pelican to the snow goose. You can get much information from www.discoverklamath.com or www.traveloregon.com
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Feb 24th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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Another place that is just breathtaking is I-5 near Canyonville-so many colors.
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Feb 24th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Remember too that autumn starts and ends much sooner at higher elevations, so anywhere in the mountains is likely to be more advanced then in the lowlands.
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Apr 16th, 2011, 07:32 AM
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Thank you for all your suggestions. Our trip plan is begining to take shape.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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kid2u - You may have other reasons for wanting to do this trip besides fall color, but IF fall color is very important to you, this trip isn't where you'll find it. If you are hoping for Colorado aspen-type color or Vermont/Maine to Carolina-type color you won't find anything close to it on this trip. There are aspen in the Klamath Basin and it is spectacular for many reasons, but the leaf color isn't the biggest draw. Street trees in towns and cities along the way will probably have more color and more variety than you will see along the coastal, I-5 or Hwy 97 route. Fir trees dominate most of all 3 routes with some oak groves here and there...more as you go south of Roseburg. It's a beautiful trip, just don't want to see you disappointed in the lack of fall color.
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