Orange you glad you went leaf peeping at Portland’s Japanese Garden? (Groan.)

Photo courtesy Travel Portland

You may have missed Oktoberfest, and it’s too late to convince your boss that Columbus Day is a real holiday. But there’s still time for the season’s weirdest-sounding pastime: leaf peeping. Here’s where to find the Northwest’s brightest foliage.

Southwest of Leavenworth, the upper parts of Icicle Creek Road are open for the first time in three years. Between the steep walls of the canyon, you’ll see golden yellow larch in their full fall glory. Hit the road—and the Icicle Gorge Trail if you’re hiking—between 10am and 1pm, when the sunlight hits the trees directly.

• For an urban version of leaf-peeping, look to Portland. The city’s sprawling Forest Park is covered with trails, and the Japanese Garden in the West Hills pairs pretty plants with delicate landscaping. In downtown Portland, the tree-lined South Park Blocks are currently erupting into yellows and reds, with just a touch of green remaining.

In Bellingham, the Interurban Trail snakes through a number of the city’s parks and wooded areas. The trees are just starting to turn up there, but be sure to watch for strange wheeled vehicles.

The U.S. Forest Service runs a hotline about fall foliage (your tax dollars at work!); call 800-354-4595 for updates. This week they’re recommending the Umatilla National Forest northeast of Walla Walla. Along Highway 12 around Pomeroy, you’ll see alfalfa hay fields, the Tucannon River, and the bright colors of Western larch, mountain maple, and alder. Watch for wild turkeys (but BYO Wild Turkey).

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