When it comes to fall colors, New England gets all the credit. However, there is beautiful fall foliage right here in the Northwest. Right now many of the leaves are at their peak, making this weekend an excellent opportunity to head out for a hike or drive to experience them yourself. Not sure where to start? Here are our favorite spots for seeing fall colors around the Northwest, from Victoria to Portland.


The Butchart Gardens

Japanese garden at The Butchart Gardens. Photo courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.
Japanese garden at The Butchart Gardens. Photo courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.

When it comes to fall foliage in Victoria, The Butchart Gardens cannot be beat. Not only are there eye-catching orange and red maples in the Japanese gardens, but there are also colorful shrubs like the purple beautyberry and magenta euonymus, yellow ginkgo and late blooming dahlias and chrysanthemums to provide fall hues throughout the gardens.

Beacon Hill Park

Enjoy Victoria’s mild autumn days by taking a stroll through Beacon Hill Park and passing through the crisp yellow, orange and bronze leaves carpeting the ground that are just begging to be crunched. Along the way you can take in views of red maples, yellow birches and Gary Oak as well as orange willows sweeping the surface of ponds. If you are lucky, you may even encounter one of the peacocks that wander the park grounds.

Hatley Castle

Surrounded by crimson hedges, orange maple trees, covered in ivy and topped with a notched battlement, Hatley Castle looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale. It is no wonder that the historic grounds are often used as a filming location for television shows and movies.


Highway 2 and Leavenworth

Tumwater Dam along Highway 2. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.
Tumwater Dam along Highway 2. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

If you are looking for a scenic fall road trip, head out on Highway 2 between Monroe and Leavenworth. Here, aspen trees, big leaf maple, dogwood, vine maple and other deciduous trees surround both sides of the highway, creating a canopy over the road that “snows” down yellow and orange leaves.

Washington Arboretum

While the entire Arboretum offers a number of opportunities to see changing leaves, tucked inside the expansive grounds are the Japanese Gardens, which are hands down the best place for fall colors in Seattle. Bring along a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon enjoying the vibrant Japanese maples, Asiatic maples, mountain ash as well as the koi pond and trickling streams.

Kubota Gardens

The bright orange to the deep plum leaves found on Japanese maples create some of the most spectacular displays of color. As a result, gardens with an Asian theme are often your best bet when looking for fall colors. This hidden gem, which blends Japanese design concepts with northwest plants, is located in the Rainier Beach area of Seattle and provides the perfect escape from the city.


McKenzie-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

Fall foliage. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.
Fall foliage. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

One of the most scenic drives in Oregon, this route through the Mt. Washington Wilderness area makes for the perfect day trip. Red vine maples next to old-growth forest, lava rock and winding rivers result in fabulous views.

Cathedral Park

This tranquil park, located under St. John’s Bridge, provides great views of the Willamette River and the changing leaves of deciduous trees. You can also catch sight of the Gothic, cathedralesque arches that support the bridge, which gave the park its name.

Multnomah Falls

Situated just east of Portland, the famous Multnomah Falls are magnificent any time of year. However, the 611-foot-tall roaring waterfall becomes even more awe-inspiring when surrounded by the yellows, oranges and reds of autumn leaves.


Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park. Creative Commons licensed by Shaund.
Queen Elizabeth Park. Creative Commons licensed by Shaund.

A popular spot for locals to enjoy autumn scenery, this free, 130 acre park is full of gorgeous trees and shrubbery. Each fall, the deciduous trees transform into fiery oranges and reds and create a breathtaking contrast against the park’s evergreens.

VanDusen Botanical Gardens

During this time of year these public gardens offer a very colorful experience. You can look forward to a collection of autumn blooming flowers such a heather, angelica tree, autumn crocus, asters and hydrangeas combined with bright yellow vegetation and tree leaves in every shade from ruby red to brilliant gold.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park in the fall.
Stanley Park in the fall.

Always a perennial favorite when it comes to exploring the outdoors in Vancouver, Stanley Park does not disappoint when it comes to fall foliage. Around Mid-October, plants and trees all over the park turn red, purple, bronze and gold.

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