Oregon is second only to New England when it comes to fall colors.
Top Fall Tip: Take a trip to the McKenzie river area in Oregon’s Cascade mountains. This Stunning Wild and Scenic river will reward amazing colors from the gem-like colors sparkling from the waters of “America’s cleanest river” or the fiery colors from the leaves and shrubs.
Destress yourself on a day hike here or better yet take a couple days to relax and explore the beauty.
Fall Colors, McKenzie River’s Willamette National Forest, Oregon. The leaves in Oregon have changed, and started to fall. Get out there while you can. Watch in 4k. Music by …
Scroll to the bottom of this page for a link to even better video of fall colors of the McKenzie River.
Top Area Hikes for Fall Color
Here’s a short list of my favorite top hikes in the area. These are true National Park quality hikes and worth the trip is you haven’t been here yet.
Fall is a great time to do the Blue Pool hike, as it is not as busy during the fall as it can be during the summer months. The colors add something extra to this already stunning hike.
Best Bet – Stay for a Couple Days
Its hard to get all the good stuff in on a day trip. Stay a couple nights and use the time to unwind and relax.
Itinerary Ideas :
Day 1 – Find a lodge and get checked in. Make and enjoy s’mores on the campfire overlooking the river.
Day 2 – Pack a picnic lunch and after breakfast, drive up to Clear Lake and check out this beauty – you can hike around the lake (4.6 miles), or rent a kayak or row boat for an hour to float over an ancient underwater forest.
Just down river is the Waterfall Loop Trail featuring Sahalie and Koosah Falls. You have a couple options here – you can do the entire Waterfall Loop Trail (3 miles), hike from the Sahalie Falls viewpoint down to the Koosah Falls viewpoint and back or just drive to each viewpoint. At the minimum hike from Sahalie to Koosah – the views of the river between the 2 falls is not something you’ll want to miss.
The hikes have stairs and are not wheelchair or stroller friendly. I used a baby backpack when coming here with my kids.
Next up, hike Tamolitch Blue Pool – this 4 mile out and back hike takes you to the stunning Blue Pool. Tamolitch Blue Pool is mesmerizing and is a great spot for a picnic.
Afterwards, treat yourself to a relaxing soak at Terwilliger Hot Springs
Terwilliger Hot Springs offers a great soaking experience, with natural lithium in the water, it is a great mood lifter. ($7 per person for a day pass.)
Day 3 – Hike Proxy Falls. Proxy Falls is a collection of 2 waterfalls on a 1.2 mile loop hike. There is a $5 parking fee (the other places on this list are free to park.) One of the 2 falls at Proxy has more photos published than any other waterfall in the state of Oregon.
Afterwards grab some lunch at an area restaurant and head home.
Variations of this Itinerary
Limit your hiking by doing one of these options:
- Hit the main viewpoints and only hike the Waterfall Loop Trail
- Hit the main viewpoints and only hike Tamolitch Blue Pool
- Take a shuttle from McKenzie River Mountain Resort – 541-822-6272 and Hike form the Waterfalls down past Blue Pool (hike approx. 6 miles) – the shuttle driver will likely stop at Clear Lake viewpoint first if you ask.
McKenzie River Mountain Resort sponsors this website and they are a great choice for lodging. They often have killer fall color hiking specials. Visit their website for rates or call 541-822-6271