As the temperature drops, so do the leaves in Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory. But before they do, many trees put on a brilliant display of color as beautiful as you could ever imagine. And one of the best ways to go out and see this autumnal spread? Head out on one of our many stunning hiking trails - with or without a guide.
Mt. Hood Outfitters has a number of guided hikes through the Mt. Hood National Forest that offer the opportunity to see the trees show off their fall colors. Huckleberry and vine maple will put on a tremendous display on the 2-hour Mirror Lake hike, which is sometimes known as a "Fall Color Extravaganza" during the fall foliage season.
Higher-elevation hikes in the alpine zone offer up some beautiful colors later in the season, and the chance to still see a few flowers earlier in the fall. Mt. Hood Outfitters offers a 5-mile, 4-hour trip from Barlow Pass Road to Timberline Lodge along the Pacific Crest Trail which offers a truly memorable experience and stunning views. Join one of the guided Salmon River hikes to take advantage of the fall salmon runs and spot fish along your journey.
Mt. Hood Oregon Resort has a variety of guided hikes and nature walks that take advantage of the autumn season as well. In addition to finding fall color, you can also partake in some foraging. Knowledgeable guides will take you along a walk on their expansive property to find all sorts of mushrooms, and educate you on the edible varieties as well as the ones you only want to look at. You can find chanterelles, yellowfoot, porcini and matsutaki among several other varieties.
Thanks to their salmon restoration project, the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort is seeing more salmon spawning on site every year. Guided tours will let you see the salmon up close and personal on the spawning beds within The Resort's grounds.
Start out in the Mt. Hood National Forest. With over 1,000 miles and trail for hiking, the Mt. Hood National Forest is a fall hiking experience dream. Deciding which trail to follow can be daunting, so we recommend your first stop be one of the nearby Forest Service Ranger Stations. Here you can find helpful rangers who can tell you which trails are open, where to find the best golden leaves, and it's a perfect pre-hike bathroom break. Anticipate a day and/or afternoon filled with douglas firs, western hemlocks, colorful vine maples, babbling brooks, and amazing bird watching.
Of course there are options to see some excellent fall foliage in the cities in Mt. Hood Territory as well. Tryon Creek State Park is one of a handful of state parks in a metropolitan area, and has great walking trails and natural surroundings despite its proximity to the city. Mt. Talbert Nature Park in Clackamas is another great option. A four-mile network of trails of varying difficulty wind through the towering trees that are home to a diverse array of wildlife. The hiking trails feel like you're in a secluded bit of wilderness, making you forget you're only moments away from shopping, lodging and dining options.
Hurry up and hit those trails before all the leaves fall; you're in for a beautiful trip! Be sure to bring your camera, and use that #omht hashtag so we can follow your journey, and admire the awesome photos you're sure to get.
Lizzie Keenan has the lucky job of promoting Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon everyday. When not at work, she enjoys doing yoga with alpacas, taking selfies with llamas, and eating avocados.