The turning of the calendar to the fall months brings with it the opportunity to travel along paths, trails and roadways in and around Seattle that are full of the colors of fall.
The temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest stimulates the trees and ground cover to turn color as they prepare for their winter hibernation while enabling a wide variety of tree and plant species to call the area home.
What all of this means is that Seattle residents have a seemingly endless amount of places to go to view fall colors include the eight following destinations.
The Bavarian Village of Leavenworth for Oktoberfest
The Bavarian Village of Leavenworth is a section of town that’s been constructed to look like a German hamlet. The local community found itself in need of an attraction and decided upon the recreation of a Bavarian town in Washington State.
The Cascade Mountains surround the village, further solidifying the feeling of being in Germany. It’s a great place to go leaf peeping when the leaves turn, shopping, and enjoying a glass of German beer while listening to live polka during the annual Oktoberfest.
Chihuly Garden and Glass – Seattle Center
Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures provide bursts of color and contrast against the backdrop of fall colors in the garden of his Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. The primary colors of his work clash with the golds, browns and reds of the changing leaves to stimulate your eye as you walk along the pathways. Make sure to step inside the Glasshouse/Gallery 9 as well to get the full experience of his artwork.
Mount Rainier National Park
The fall colors in Mount Rainier National Park are delivered by the meadows and fields going dormant just before the first snow falls in mid-October. The changing colors of the grasses and plants contrast against the pine trees that cluster throughout the park. Keep an eye out for the larches and huckleberries in order to spot the best fall colors.
Washington Park Arboretum – Seattle
The Washington Park Arboretum has different types of trees that change color during the fall and is easily reached from anywhere in Seattle. Residents who want to experience fall colors without leaving town will get satisfaction from the foliage in the Arboretum. Make it a point to stop at the Japanese Garden for the Maple Festival in mid-October to experience the rich colors of the maple trees and follow the self-guided tour to get the most out of the experience.
The state capitol is full of destinations that are loaded vibrant fall foliage, making it a great destination for a day trip. The Capitol Campus features landscaping that invites you to stay a while as you check out the colors of the oaks, maples, sweet gums, and other tree varieties that change color. Tumwater Falls Park is located next to an old brewery, follows the Deschutes River, and features a trail that goes past a salmon hatchery for the ultimate PNW experience.
Rinehart Park – Ellensburg
Rinehart Park offers a narrow strip of parkland along the Yakima River that’s perfect for an afternoon getaway by yourself, with family, and pets. There’s a picnic area, a boat launch for small boats, and an off-leash dog park. Visitors can enjoy a day out on the river or walk along the pathway to look at the fall colors at leisure. The size of the park makes it easy to explore and enjoy being outdoors with little effort.
North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades National Park is about four hours from Seattle, but it’s worth making the journey and staying a couple of days to take in all the fall colors. The park has a number of trail loops that range from easy to difficult, and all of them offer the opportunity to see different landscapes, view how different types of plants deal with the change of season, and view the peaks and valleys in all of their fall glory.
Hoh Rainforest – Olympic National Park
The Hoh Rainforest is mostly planted with evergreen trees and ferns with copious amounts of moss and vines dripping from the trees. There’s not much in the way of fall colors, but the maples and vines turn a brilliant red and standout against the evergreens. October is the best time to visit in order to get the best visual experiences, and the best trails to traverse for the views include the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Nature Trail.