Portland’s best spots for fall color

Autumn is peak season to enjoy a stroll in these six leafy wonders.

Portland Fall CityscapeAutumn arrives in downtown Portland.
David Grant via Flickr

Autumnal beauty abounds in Portland, and there are plenty of prime places to revel in leaf-crunching relaxation. From rural Sauvie Island to downtown’s South Park Blocks, the historic Pittock Mansion to the exotic Japanese Garden, these destinations deliver fantastic fall colors on demand.

Hoyt Arboretum

Packed with more species of shrubs and trees than any other arboretum in the country — 1,000 unique varieties fill the grounds — Hoyt Arboretum provides a local passport to a globe’s worth of leaf peeping. Grab a map and look for Japanese maples , magnolias, holly, fir and much more as you wander down one of the park’s 21 trails.

Pittock Mansion

Built over a century ago by Portland’s original newspaper tycoon, Pittock Mansion’s 46-acre plot showcases the Rose City’s natural beauty. Savor the elegant gardens’ last blooms, soak up panoramic views of the Cascade Range and explore miles of hiking trails leading from the grounds to Forest Park — itself a must-see for fans of falling leaves.

Portland Japanese Garden

Tucked in Washington Park, high in the West Hills, the Japanese Garden is a standout in any season. But autumn is especially gorgeous thanks to fiery-hued Japanese maples woven among a curtain of native evergreens.

Sauvie Island

Only minutes from downtown Portland, Sauvie Island is a rural haven of farms, sandy beaches and wildlife refuges. Choose from an unmatched array of autumn harvest activities, from pumpkin picking to a haunted corn maze and enjoy a spectacular view of Forest Park’s fall colors.

Cathedral Park

Once a fishing site for Indian tribes and legendary explorers Lewis and Clark, Cathedral Park still provides a tranquil refuge for visitors of all stripes. Photographers flock to the park in fall to frame autumn leaves juxtaposed with the gothic spires of the St. Johns Bridge.

South Park Blocks

Short on time? The arching canopy of the South Park Blocks provides a stately, leaf-strewn oasis in the heart of downtown. Stroll between Southwest Salmon and Jackson streets to marvel at an array of oaks, maples and ash trees towering above historic statues and public art.

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