It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year here in the Willamette Valley – autumn! That means there’s a slight chill in the air, the rain is becoming a constant (and will be for several months to come), but best of all, the fall foliage is starting to put on its annual show.
You don’t have to travel far to see some spectacular color on the trees. Here are a few places around Lane County where you can appreciate the changing leaves:
Alton Baker Park: Eugene’s largest developed park (almost 400 acres!) hugs the Willamette River and is walking distance from downtown and directly across from the University of Oregon. It offers plenty to do on top of admiring the park’s diverse collection of trees and plants. Cruise the many trails on foot or bike and say hello to the ducks and geese, play disc golf on the 18-hole course, run the trail designed by track and field legend Steve Prefontaine, or take your pooch to play at the dog park.
Skinner Butte: There’s no better way to admire the beauty of Eugene and the colors of fall then heading to the top of Skinner Butte. Nestled near the Willamette River and Whiteaker Neighborhood of Eugene, Skinner Butte reaches 682 feet tall, approximately 200 feet above the surrounding city. One of Eugene’s oldest parks, Skinner Butte Park, provides plenty of activities over 100 acres of property, including rock climbing on the columns, hiking trails, community gardens, picnic areas, and more.
Dexter State Recreation Site: Hop on Hwy 58 heading southeast of Eugene to see some exceptional colors through the country, and be sure to make a stop at Dexter Lake about 20 miles out. Besides incredible views of the lake and the trees from the shoreline, the recreational area on the western edge of Dexter Reservoir offers something for everyone. Bring your boat, a picnic, your disc golf gear, or hiking shoes and spend the day exploring this 94 acre facility.
University of Oregon campus: Green and yellow dominate here, whether it’s on the students or on the trees. A self-guided walking tour around the campus is a great way to see a variety of foliage, and the University even offers a map of “Campus Trees of Interest“.