©Jack Grahaam Trout Creek, near Trout River, Klickitat County, Washington
One of the things I always brag to folks from out of town is how truly access able this area is. Within a radius of about 70 miles from Portland Airport (PDX) there are so many completly different sights to see. From here, you are about a little more than 1 hour from the Oregon Coast, about the same to Mt. St Helens to the north and Mt Hood to the East. Just a little further is the Mt. Adams area in southern Washington. In just about 40 short minutes to the south and west you are either in the wine country of the Willamette Valley and in about the same time you are in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.
What else can a photographer ask for?
Though we all think of fall in terms of the red maples of New England, or the beautiful aspens of the Rocky Mountain states, this area of Oregon has so much to offer.
Fall comes a bit later here in Oregon. Usually peak color in the east of the Missisippi is sometime in October and sooner in the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains. Peak color here in Oregon starts in Mid October in the high elevations of the cascades and lasts into mid to mid November in the Willamette Valley.
The “rainy” season usually kicks in sometime around November 1st as does the snow on the mountain peaks. However most areas are comfortable cool and offer the glorious color of autumn here in this part of Oregon.
Willamette Valley Wine Country
©Jack Graham A winery in the Dundee Hills
The rolling hills of Dundee ( right off Hwy 99 about 25 miles south of Portland) and adjacent valleys of the northwestern corner of the Wilammette Valley, offer numerous1st class wineries along with orchards of cherry, apple & plum trees.
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE:
Just east of Portland, is the majestic Columbia River Gorge. Though the forests are of mainly conifers, may other more colorful trees are plentiful. As the rainy season kicks in so does the amount of water coming over the many waterfalls that are easily accessed.
©Jack Graham near Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge
The fall color makes this time of year special in the gorge.
HOOD RIVER VALLEY, between Hood River and Mt. Hood
©Jack Graham Hood River Valley
At the eastern end of the gorge is the Town of Hood River. Hotels, motels, B&B’s and resturants are plentiful. As you head south on HWY 35 toward Mt Hood ( about 12,000′ ele.) the rich valley comes into sight. Here pears, apples, cherry and more kinds of fruit trees are everywhere.
©Jack Graham Pear Trees, autumn
In the spring the valley is in bloom and is something to see. However in the fall, the color and patterns of the trees and hillsides provide an equally pleasurable viewing experience. Adding Mt. Hood to the sights make it even more spectacular.
©Jack Graham Barns are everywhere and offer picturesque views on foggy autumn mornings
JUST A LITTLE FURTHER——–WEST CASCADES NATIONAL SECNIC BYWAY
About 2 hours SE of Portland is a little town called Detroit on Hwy 22. Heading south towards Hwy 20 towards the McKenzie Bridge is the McKenzie Santiam part of the West Cascades Scenic Byway. Just south of Detroit Hwy 22 goes through a corridor of dense forest mainly Douglass and White Fir. ( Be careful if you go, Detroit has the last gas station for 55 miles!). Detroit Lake State Rec. area has a great view of Mt. Jefferson. Along Hwy 22, fields of lava contain vine maples and oaks that provide contrasting color to the dark lava rock.
© Jack Graham Vine Maples in lava, south of Detroit Or.
If you get more adventuresome, continue south over the Santiam Pass and south to the town of Sisters, not far from Bend.
………………………..All of this so close to Portland!