There are so many fun activities for people of all ages to do in the Portland area during the fall. I’ve put together a bucket list of things for you to do before winter sets in. Who says the fun ends with the summer?
1. Pick Apples
Is there anything as delightful as eating a freshly picked apple in the fall? Apple season is here, so get out on one of our clear, crisp days and go pick yourself some fruit. We have quite a few farm options nearby, and here are a few good ones.
Located just off 99W, you can find eighty types of apples at Sherwood Orchard. Their friendly staff is here to answer any questions you have about finding the most delicious fruit on the grounds. You can also find plums, peaches, pears, persimmons, and other fruits here.
Draper Girls Country Farm
If you don’t mind the hour-long drive, this is a beautiful place to go pick apples. You’ll love the goats as well as the swing and picnic tables where you can enjoy a snack and a beautiful, unencumbered view of Mt. Hood. The farm also has wagons for carting around tired kids. Plus, don’t miss the unpasteurized cider the farm is known for.
If you’re looking for a U-pick farm that’s not on the Fruit Loop, check out Bells Orchard in Beaverton. The trees are pruned short, so you don’t need ladders (such a great thing if you have little ones picking with you).
2. Go to a Hops Fest
The St. Paul Fresh Hops fest is on October 13th. Enjoy around 20 fresh hop beers made from the best hop vines in St. Paul. If cider’s more your thing, they’ll have fresh hopped cider, too. Plus, you’ll love the food, live music, and good, down-to-earth fun. Oh, and there will be college football on the big screen if you want something to watch while the beer flows.
3. Squeeze Cider
If you want a milder drink, you have to go to the Phillip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek. Its history begins way back in the 1840s, when it was a welcome sight for pioneers coming into the Willamette Valley during the last stretch of a long journey to Oregon. It’s been maintained for the last 25 years through money from memberships, tours, donations, and both private and public grants.
The farm is open on Saturdays through the end of October. On the 20th, they’ll pull out the presses for one last cider squeeze (you can bring your own apples or use theirs). There’s also a haunted farm on October 27th, and they promise no ghosts!
4. Bird Watch
Just south of the town of Forest Grove, there’s a large wetland with many bird species called Fernhill. It’s an important stopover point for migrating and wintering birds in our area. In fact, waterfowl population is in the thousands from November to March. If you want to do some bird watching, or “birding,” this fall, this is the place to do it.
5. Run a Race
If you like running races, this is the ideal time of year to do it. It’s not yet too cold but it’s not nearly as hot as it is in the summer. Check out a comprehensive list of races in our area here.
6. Take a Hike
Or maybe you’d rather get some less strenuous exercise. Portland has many beautiful hikes that are especially lovely in the fall. Here are some favorites to check out:
Cape Horn Loop Trail
This trail is one of the closest Columbia River Gorge trails to our metropolitan area. This area is filled with bigleaf maple trees, so it’s especially nice when the leaves turn.
This hike in the Mount St. Helens area is stunning. Go through an old forest filled with vine maples and fir trees and enjoy the views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.
Opal Creek Trail
The fall colors combined with the creek make this a spectacular hike. You’ll also see interesting things along the way, including a bridge, the historic Merten sawmill, and a steam engine repurposed from the U.S.S. Oregon.
Hoyt Arboretum is a wonderful fall hike because it’s right here in town. Did you know that it has over 12 miles of hiking trails with 10,000 trees of 1,000 species? There’s no better place to see fall colors at their peak.
If you want to escape city life, go to Maple-Wildwood Loop in Forest Park. In the fall, you can see bunches of Oregon grapes (fun fact—Oregon grapes are actually our state flower).
Wapato Greenway Loop
This loop trail is basically a family-friendly stroll on Sauvie Island. The 2.2 mile hike is filled with Oregon white oak trees, which are gorgeous in the fall. You’ll also see waterfowl on the lake and probably some beavers, too.
7. See Fall Foliage
If you want to see fall foliage but don’t want to do the hiking to get it, there are some other places you can go to take it in.
A newspaper tycoon built this mansion over a century ago, and it sits on a 46-acre plot. Enjoy the elegant gardens and the views of the Cascade Range as you meander about the grounds.
Portland Japanese Garden
Part of Washington Park, any day is a good day to visit this tranquil spot. The fiery Japanese maples look especially stunning in the fall, plus there are waterfalls, koi ponds, and a wisteria arbor.
Cathedral Park is arguably one of the most stunning stops in our city, and autumn leaves near the gorgeous St. Johns Bridge? Yes, please!
Lone Fir Cemetery
Did you know that this is the oldest cemetery in Portland? It also has 700+ trees that light up with color in the fall. It’s a little spooky at night, but it’s sure glorious and serene during the day.
Also, their tombstone trick-or-treat will be on October 27th this year, so dress the kids up!
8. Take a Beer Tour
Want to take a fall beer tour? Luckily, there are a lot of options here in Portland that allow you to enjoy the fall weather and indulge at the same time.
Drink some beer while taking a cruise on the river. The cruise lasts about 90 minutes, and you can BYOB or buy at check-in.
Go on a themed tour with Brewvana. Current options include a tour featuring fermented beverages and one featuring beer, donuts and coffee.
A walking beer tour is perfect for the fall, and Beerquest has a lot of them. Their Haunted Pub Tour seems especially fitting for October.
9. Drive the Oregon Coast
There are so many beautiful spots to see along the Oregon Coast, and the fall is the ideal time to check them out. For a good list of spots you can drive to, go here.
10. Explore a Pumpkin Patch
Going to a pumpkin patch is the quintessential fall activity, especially if you have little ones. Here’s a list of some good nearby options:
11. Go to the Grotto
The Grotto is a Catholic shrine that’s designed to welcome people into a beautiful environment where you can enjoy peace and quiet. This 62-acre botanical retreat is just a few minutes from downtown Portland. Most people go here for the Christmas Festival of Lights, but it’s stunning in the fall, too.
12. Head to the Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo has a lot of fun fall events going on. The Squishing of the Squash, where large animals squash large pumpkins, is on October 19th. Howloween is the following day, and kids will get to collect treats and prizes at different stations while also learning about animals. For a full list of fall events at the zoo, go here.
13. Take a Wine Tour
The Willamette Valley is stunning wine country, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than taking a wine tour this fall. There are many different tour companies and many different kinds of tours. Go here for a good list of options.
14. Walk on the Fantasy Trail
The Fantasy Trail is on Wenzel Family Farm land, and it’s been open to the public for the past 26 years at Halloween and Christmas time. The Halloween walk takes place through a lighted, wooded trail with a castle, a tunnel, a suspension bridge, and more. This really is fun for all ages—it’s not too scary for little ones but will also entertain adults.
15. Catch Some Fish
Crisp fall days are perfect for fishing. There’s nothing like fresh fish for dinner after a day outdoors. Here are some ideal spots for casting your line.
This 2-acre pond is an ideal place to take kids fishing. There are plenty of spots on the bank for little ones, and since it’s hidden away in the middle of the island, it feels like you’ve left the city behind even when you haven’t.
Blue Lake Park
This lake has quite a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, trout, sunfish, and catfish. You can even rent a boat if you want to go out on the water. (Plus, this place has an awesome deck.)
Bethany Pond is just a few miles away in Beaverton. This small pond has trout, crappie, bluegill, bullhead and more year-round. This is also a prime spot to take little kids fishing.
16. Watch a Pumpkin Regatta
Never been to a pumpkin regatta, you say? Well, let this year be the year. It’s in Tualatin on October 20th. The West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta is an award-winning event that’s talked about all over the country. If you want to watch someone sit inside a giant pumpkin while racing across the water in costume, you’re in luck.
If you have any other favorite fall activities to do in the Portland area, please let me know about them! Or, if you do any of these activities, come back and let me know how it was.
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