summer in the Northwest: blue skies, long, light-filled evenings and sunny days
filled with fun. Don’t get too upset, but it’s just about over.
the region’s fantastic summer months are followed by colorful falls that act as
the perfect buffer between the warmest and coldest of seasons. Washington may
not be on the exact same fall foliage par as the storied hardwoods of Vermont
or New Hampshire, but the Evergreen State hardly disappoints when it comes to
are some easy walks, hikes and drives for taking in some of the most beautiful
shades of autumn in Washington.
County — For a pure explosion of fall color, it’s hard to beat the
show put on by the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Beautiful year-round, this
53-acre urban sanctuary goes wild with color in the fall, making the easy
stroll around the grounds vibrant beyond belief. Other options in King County
include a simple hike along the Cedar River heading west from Landsburg Park or
the 2.4-mile walking path around Seattle’s Seward Park.
County — When fall comes to Mount Rainier country, the Cascades’
tallest peak becomes even grander still. A beautiful drive, complete with
scenic overlooks, heads out of Naches toward White Pass on Highway 12, then
snakes up toward Ashford and into Mount Rainier National Park. In Tacoma, walk
the Wright Park Arboretum or the quiet trails of Point Defiance Park.
County — Whether you’re walking or driving, Snohomish County is
full of fall colors. Try the 50-mile Mountain Loop Scenic Drive for grand
mountain views and autumn grandeur, or trek the flat trail along the Boulder
River amidst its giant old-growth trees. Some lovely Norway maples and European
sycamores also add bright dashes of color to the paved 1.6-mile walk around
Lake Tye in Monroe, and Lord Hill Regional Park in Snohomish, with its six
miles of trails, has quite the fall palette, too.
County — You can stick close to Olympia for brilliant fall colors
at the Yashiro Japanese Garden or wander the easy trails of the city’s
Watershed Park, Priest Point Park or Friendly Grove Park. But there’s color to
be found outside the city, as well. For starters, just down the road in
Tumwater is Tumwater Falls Park, which offers short walking trails and groves
of native trees and shrubs that light up in the fall. Not up for a walk? The
Thurston Bountiful Byway is a scenic driving route through the county’s
Spokane County — Though it’s actually north of Spokane County, a fun way to take in Eastern
Washington’s fall splendor is to hop on board the North Pend Oreille Valley
Lions Club’s popular train, which makes scenic runs between Ione and Metaline
Falls along the Pend Oreille River. In Spokane proper, you’ll find all the fall
color you’re looking for at the John A. Finch Arboretum or along the easy
three-mile roundtrip trail to a gorgeous grove of cedars at Liberty Lake