Every season is beautiful in Central Oregon, but there is something extra special about Autumn.
Known for its landscape of evergreens and conifers including Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, juniper and sage, Central Oregon has some beautiful patches of deciduous trees as well. And you might be surprised to learn that even some species of coniferous trees change color this time of year—in their needles.
The entire state of Oregon is beautiful in the fall, so your drive to a Pronghorn vacation is also a treat. Plan your route around the most vibrant sections of forest and you’ll want to make the trip a yearly tradition!
So grab a mug of hot cider and a map, and get ready for a beautiful day of fall color!
Here are our favorite places to see fall color in Central Oregon:
If you know where to look, you can find many Central Oregon areas bursting with color in the fall!
Drake Park in Downtown Bend
Drake Park is one of our favorite spots to admire the fall foliage. Come fall, the towering maples turn a vibrant red and the willows turn a magical yellow as their branches dangle towards Mirror Pond. Grab a box lunch at one of downtown’s many cafes, set out a picnic blanket, and admire the fall color right in the heart of downtown Bend. This is the perfect place to rake leaves and jump like a kid again, or organize a family photo shoot.
Shevlin Park, just beyond Bend’s westside, is the perfect place for a fall foliage walk. The easygoing trail along Tumalo Creek meanders through groves where you’ll catch all of your favorite fall colors. Picnic tables dot the way, so pack a picnic lunch or snack.
If you hit it right, Tumalo Falls is a special place to observe the contrast of dark lava rock, rich evergreen and vibrant yellow fall foliage. This impressive waterfall is always a stunning sight, but it takes on a very special hue during a select period of time in October. Hike in from the trailhead for a day adventure, or drive to the parking lot for easier access to the falls viewing area.
Deschutes River Trail
The upper Deschutes River Trail puts on a beautiful display in the fall. You’ll find large aspen groves in brilliant shades of gold and yellow. The Dillon Falls and Benham Falls areas are some of the best sections for viewing, but you’ll find pops of color throughout your time on this trail.
Day Trip: Drive or Ride Over McKenzie Pass (Oregon 242)
The McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway, located above the charming town of Sisters, Oregon is a beautiful day trip from Pronghorn. As you meander up through the Willamette National Forest, you’ll catch some large stands of yellow birch and aspen, as well as vibrant red and orange hues cast against black lava rock. It’s a slow and winding road, so be prepared to slow down and enjoy the moment. If you are an experienced road biker, this is a ride you’ll want to take before it closes for the winter. There are several beautiful and interesting stops along the way including the Dee Wright Observatory. Settled atop a vast lava field this mountain observatory offers panoramic views of the Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas.
Fall foliage in Central and Eastern Oregon typically peaks early- to mid-October. Make plans to visit Pronghorn Resort during this beautiful time of year. We have our own displays of fall color right here on property. Just outside the Clubhouse is a grove of aspen trees that turn a brilliant yellow. As you travel the golf courses and bike paths, you’ll also find several varieties of maple trees and a few other colorful surprises in our high desert landscape.
Our annual Fall Festival, a celebration of all things Autumn and Halloween, typically happens just as the leaves are about to fall, making it a great time for a family getaway!
We’re also serving up new fall libations in The Coyote and Cascada. Enjoy a warm spiked cider or spicy rum cocktail by the fire after your day observing the fall colors of Central Oregon!
So what are you waiting for?
Book your beautiful fall getaway to Pronghorn Resort!