Autumn is truly showing off at our favorite places to find fall colors in Portland
Summer is waning, school has started, and its Pumpkin Spice Latte season again. While summer hikes make fond memories, fall means piles and piles of colorful leaves to gather, collect, throw, jump in, and admire. Soon the colors will be popping, and we’re ready to celebrate nature’s fireworks. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best places to view fall foliage in Portland. It’s time to get outside, enjoy the show, and play with the kids. Don’t forget your camera for the best shots.
Pittock Mansion & Forest Park
Originally built in 1909, the Pittock mansion is perched on top of a Forest Park hill, just waiting to burst into fall color. If you’re a history buff you’ll enjoy the indoor mansion tour, but strolling through the grounds to find a prime picnic spot makes a fine day, too. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mt. Hood. For a more active day under the trees, hike down through Forest Park to the Stone House, or combine a driving tour with a visit to the Audubon Society.
3229 N.W. Pittock Dr.
Portland’s biggest arboretum is a clear choice to watch the fiesta of fall colors explode across the trees. Over 12 miles of hiking trails span 190 acres, and 6,000 trees like the color-changing birches, maples, oaks and magnolias. A stop at the visitor center will help direct you to which trail offers the most colors, whether you want red hawthorn berries or fiery yellow maples. They offer miles of stroller-friendly paths, a scavenger hunt for the kids, and plenty of great views.
4000 S.W. Fairview Blvd.
Portland Japanese Gardens
Hidden away in Washington Park, this garden is perfectly coiffed and bursts into color every year. Japanese maples and other fall show-offs were planted to expertly frame certain areas, like a pond, waterfall, or statue. Leave the stroller at home, as many areas use steps. Strap the little ones into a carrier and let older kids pick the path—it’s not too big to get lost in, but big enough that they’ll have fun exploring. Afterward, stop in the teahouse for a meal or a mochi ice cream treat. Get your tickets online for timed entry before you head out.
611 S.W. Kingston Ave.
Fun is a main attraction every fall on this farming island! Besides pumpkins, apple cider, and corn mazes, you’ll also be able to soak in some beautiful fall color from all the oaks blanketing the land. For a perfect picnic spot, head to Howell Territorial Park and spread your feast under the oaks. In the apple orchard behind the house you’ll find trees that were planted from cuttings carried by wagon over the Oregon Trail.
13901 N.W. Howell Park Rd.
Leach Botanical Garden
Tucked near the forested hills of Johnson Creek, Leach Botanical Garden is a hidden gem of Southeast Portland. A collection of over 1,000 native and non-native plants is spread over 16 acres. In 2021, the Upper Garden expansion was completed, with a new canopy tree walk, a pollinator meadow, new pathways and many more plantings. It’s a beautiful place to wander, letting kids lead the way—see if they can find the maple trees for some fall glory. Reserve tickets in advance online before heading over.
6704 S.E. 122nd Ave.
The views from this park anytime of year are nothing short of stunning. Add a blaze of red and yellow and roll in some fog over the river and you’ve got yourself a fairyland to play in for hours. Bring a picnic blanket and a thermos of hot cider and let the kids go wild! A frisbee, a pile of leaves to jump in, or even some games of tag are perfect against such a beautiful backdrop.
N Edison St. & Pittsburg Ave.
Silver Falls State Park
For bonus colors an hour outside of Portland, hop in the car and head to Silver Falls State Park near Salem and Silverton. This enchanted forest offers a myriad of waterfalls along with fiery colorful trees set amidst green pines. The Trail of Ten Falls is an 8.6 mile trek that has, you guessed it, 10 waterfalls, and is easily cut up into smaller sections for little hikers. After hiking, enjoy a picnic by the river or check out the nature playground at the North Falls Group Camp parking lot.
20024 Silver Falls Hwy. S.E.