We all know how beautiful the fall foliage can be! This brief moment when the green summer foliage turns into a vivid autumn palette of reds, yellows, and oranges, can be truly amazing. There are only a handful of places in the United States where you can enjoy a beautiful fall foliage, and Southern Oregon is one of them.
So, if you aren’t lucky enough to live in a place where Nature puts up one last performance before falling into a winter sleep, you’ll have to travel far and wide to catch a glimpse of this beautiful moment. But it’s wort it!
When Is the Best Time for Fall Foliage in Southern Oregon?
We’ve been traveling to Southern Oregon in fall for many years and we believe this is one of the best fall destinations in the U.S. This year however we very lucky to enjoy some of the most incredible fall foliage in Southern Oregon.
Technically, the leaves start turning yellow beginning mid September, but the peak season is mid to the end of October. Unfortunately, no two autumns are alike. Also, fall colors are not very predictable either, especially in the long term. That makes planning a successful leaf peeping trip quite difficult most of the time.
How Do Fall Colors Happen?
Fall colors appear every year, but a spectacular season is not always guaranteed. So what’s Mother Nature’s recipe for a breathtaking color performance?
Apparently there are quite a few factors involved. Weather for instance determines the color intensity, while the length of night regulates the timing of the color change. A dry year can cause leaves to brighten early, while a wet year can cause them to just turn brown, without going through the entire color palette.
When I lived in Romania, I very seldom saw the brilliant colors that are so common to the fall foliages in New England or Oregon, for instance. That’s because in Romania autumns are short and wet most of the times.
Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Southern Oregon
Seeing amazing fall foliage in Southern Oregon is not unusual, but this area is not particularly famous for leaf peeping. As it seems, the best places for fall colors start a little further north, in Eugene.
Nonetheless, there are many beautiful areas around the Rogue River, Jacksonville and Ashland, where you can enjoy the fall colors in Southern Oregon. The best of all these places is most likely Lithia Park in Ashland. The park extends on 93 acres of land and encompasses a varied and spectacular landscape.
Although the colors here on the west coast can be pretty, I don’t think they compare to what I saw when I traveled to Connecticut a few years ago – the range of colors was simply astonishing.
The Loop Trail Road in Roxy Ann is another beautiful place to enjoy fall foliage in Southern Oregon. The trail also offers views of Medford and Mt. McLoughlin in the distance. If you decide to hike to the top, you’ll get a gorgeous view of Ashland to Gold Hill with amazing golds, reds and oranges that bring this little mountain to life.
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Barbara Beebe Long
We have been enjoying the spectacular southern Oregon fall colors along parts of the Rogue River from Lost Creek Lake on the way toward Crater Lake. We think of that area as primarily conifers but you’d be amazed at how many deciduous trees there are. Big leaf maples, river birch, willows, etc. Gorgeous fall colors.
I am loving all these colors Anda. New Jersey has some amazing foliage during fall – right now – but I agree with the New England note. When driving through the region a few times over the years I have not seen a more dazzling array of yellow, red and orange. Mind-blowing stuff in Connecticut, Massachusetts and in upstate New York too.
Elaine J Masters
Beautiful. Love how you’ve created this story from your family trip. Great colors. I’m still hoping to join the peepers on the East Coast one day.
You should, Elaine. It’s absolutely spectacular.
Paul and Carole
We always moan about the British weather, but having the distinctive seasons is really a joy. Oregon looks a great place too, fab photos!
Sally's Tips 4 Trips
I love the colours of Autumn (Fall), though as Lyn Lindfield says we don’t get that huge range here in Aus.
Birgit | Groove Is In The Heart
Wow! The colours are incredible (and you captured them beautifully in your pics). Never knew that Oregon could have such spectacular autumns. (Only knew about New England.) PS: I’ve never thought about the ‘how do fall colours happen’ … thanks for your explanation 🙂
You are welcome, Brigit.
Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
We don’t get spectacular Fall colours in most parts of Australia, but David and I have been in New England a couple of times in Fall and been lucky enough to get our timing almost perfect.
I love the fall colors in New England, but this year Oregon raised up to the challenge.
Rob+Ann at TravelLatte(.net)
What great photos, Anda! Folks tend to forget the Pacific Northwest in the fall, but it’s a treasure trove of natural beauty! We’ve been itching to get back to New England, but maybe we should follow your footsteps to Oregon instead. 🙂
Oregon is not a sure bet for the fall colors, Rob. This year it so happened that the weather conditions were perfect too these colors, but New England has much wider areas where you can admire the fall foliage.
I live in Singapore so we don’t get fall here, but I’ve been seeing photos of fall foliage all over the internet (especially Instagram) and it’s making me super envious of those who get to enjoy it (like you)! What incredible colours – it really makes you appreciate the genius of Mother Nature. So interesting to learn about how the climate affects the colours too. It explains why a lot of the photos I’ve been seeing are from the PNW and New England!
Thank you, Michelle. Maybe you can come to the East Coast USA in fall sometimes and see the fall colors.
Those fall colours are so vibrant. I don’t see that kind of foliage in New Zealand (and not at this time of year).
I’m sure you saw them when you lived in the USA though, didn’t you?
These colours are so spectacular. We also get proper foliage in fall. Makes it my favourite season!
Thank you, Esther.
Wow! Simply stunning photos! And you’re right, I wouldn’t think of southern Oregon as a leaf peeping place but it definitely is…
Thanks, Jill. I didn’t think that either, we were quite surprised.
Beautiful photos Anda! You know I just love the fall colors and the ones you captured in Southern Oregon look amazing. You were lucky that you caught them at peak.
Oh wooow! I’m a huuuge fan of all colors and your pictures are so stunning! Definitely need to visit Oregon in fall one day! #TheWeeklyPostcard
Such breathtaking fall foliage in Oregon! You got very lucky with the timing!! Never realized Oregon had such a beautiful fall as I remember it being full of pine trees! New Fall Foliage destination! #TheWeeklyPostcard
Lydia C. Lee
Such stunning photos. I love the one with the leaves reflected in the water. We go up to the Blue Mountains (or Canberra) to see the changing leaves. Very striking. A wonderufl time of year
Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats
Hi Anda, Those colors are lovely – I especially love the first photo. Here where I am in Scotland we haven’t had that much in terms of autumn colors yet, but may see some in London next week 😉
Hopefully you will, Jessica.
Ruth | Tanama Tales
This is fantastic! Had no idea Oregon had so beautiful fall colors. Two weeks ago, I visited Tahoe for the first time and we were able to see the fall colors along the Eastern Sierra. Last year, we visited past peak (missed it for a couple of days) but this year we saw the trees in all of its glory. I felt great being surrounded by that much beauty.