8 Oregon Outdoor Excursions Perfect For This Mild Start Of Fall – This Is Oregon

Let’s call it a summer booster.

While some Portlanders may be feeling a little peeved about this unusually warm and dry start to fall, we might as well take advantage of the weather by extending our favorite summer activities into the dark season.

As any seasoned Pacific Northwest can tell you, the time between the dwindling summer crowds and the onset of the fall rains is pure magic. With the snow still free from the mountain tops and the back roads still dry, virtually the entire area is accessible. With weather forecasts calling for more sunshine and warm temperatures, our window for outdoor adventure is wide open.

Add in the typical fall day trips and excursions, and we suddenly find ourselves with a wealth of opportunities. Right now, you can hike a mountain trail, go to a pumpkin patch, kayak a wild river, and watch migrating birds. Oregon is your oyster! Act fast – the gray and cold days will certainly return soon enough.

For those looking to enjoy the day, here are eight ways to spend this balmy start to fall around Oregon.

HIKE MOUNT HOOD

Early fall is one of the best times to climb Oregon’s tallest mountain, with summer crowds thinning out and snow that has yet to fall. Pack layers with your 10 essentials, then head to places like McNeil Point, Ramona Falls, and Cooper Spur for some truly incredible views.

TAKE BIRD WATCHING

Join the birding boom by grabbing a pair of binoculars and heading out to your local woods or wetlands on a cool fall morning. Birdwatching is a great solo activity, but it’s also fun hanging out with a local birdwatching club. Those who want a little more adventure in their birding tours can check out some of the great birding destinations around Oregon.

FRUIT THE FRUIT LOOP

It’s apple, pear and pumpkin season in the Hood River Valley, where visitors can discover more than two dozen orchards, farms and fruit stands along the famous Fruit Loop. After apple picking, stop for a pear pizza or a glass of chilled cider.

APPOINTMENT TO JOSEPH

It’s a long drive to get there, but you won’t be disappointed with a road trip to Joseph, a mountain town in northeastern Oregon with plenty of activities to keep you busy. Hikers can tackle Eagle Cap Wilderness, back road warriors can experience Hells Canyon, and those who like to stay closer to town can experience all the shops and restaurants in downtown Joseph.

EXPLORE THE SUBURBS OF PORTLAND

You don’t have to drive far to find a good hike in Oregon – you can find plenty of places to hang out in the suburbs just around Portland. From Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton to Lake Steigerwald in Washougal, there’s plenty to do and see.

GOING OUT AT SAUVIE ISLAND

Sauvie Island is a perfect getaway for a warm fall day, between pumpkin patch and corn mazes at local farms, hiking trails around the island and late season beach days . It’s also a perfect recipe for large crowds, so consider going on a weekday if you can.

vineyards near dundee oregon

TOUR OF THE WINE COUNTRY

Oregon’s many wine regions are great destinations just about any time of the year, but fall is an especially pleasant time, with cooler temperatures and beautiful scenery to complement a wine tasting.

DISCOVER THE MCKENZIE RIVER TRAIL

Fall foliage is phenomenal along the lakes and banks of the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon’s central Cascade Mountains, a perfect getaway with many entry points. If the whole 26 miles seems too daunting, try stopping at the most scenic spots: Clear Lake, Blue Pool, and the Waterfalls Loop.

—Jamie Hale

503-294-4077; [email protected]; @HaleJamesB

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