Medford and the Rogue Valley

A Bite of Autumn: Fall Day Trips in the Northwest

by Lauren Braden

in Trip Ideas

Psst…. get our premier guide to fall travel – Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest. Get inspired to spend your fall weekends combing rocky beaches, savoring the harvest, and hiking scenic mountain trails of Washington and Oregon. Get it here.

Northwest Autumn Day Trips

It’s October, my favorite month in the kitchen and in the great outdoors. Let’s see… the past few days I’ve made apple butter from the fruits of our front yard orchard, begun to cure winter squash from our garden, and roasted the last of the garden’s plum tomatoes for this awesome tomato jam.

Now, I’m ready to get out and see some blazing fall color and run through a corn maze or two. Care to join me? Here are a whole bunch of ways to celebrate autumn in the Pacific Northwest in October.

Oregon

Hood River Harvest Fest (October 13-15, 2017) is a classic fall festival that takes place right on the waterfront overlooking the Columbia River. Sample local apples, craft brews, wine, cider and artisan cheeses. Browse booths filled with local art and crafts. Enjoy live music and plenty of games and activities for the whole family. Kids will love bouncy houses, face painting, and the petting zoo.  Admission is $6 daily for adults, $3 seniors and military, kids 12 and under FREE. See our trip guide to Hood River for place to stay and harvest stops.

Portland’s Original Corn Maize is an October tradition for PDX families. There’s really nothing like a twisty corn maze, um I mean maize, to get you spooked out of the cornfield. The maze is located at Delta Farms on Sauvie Island adjacent to The Pumpkin Patch (16511 NW Gillihan Road) and is open Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm (admission $6-$8, kids 5 and under free).

Want to get really spooked? Right next door is Bella Organic Farm, home to the uber-scary Haunted Corn Maze (open Fri-Sat nights every October weekend, $6-$8). Heads up Trail Blazers fans – this year’s maze is carved in the shape of Damian Lillard’s head, and basketball zombies could be lurking around every turn to scare the living daylights out of you. 

Want to know where to spot golden aspen and fiery vine maple? Keep up with the Oregon Fall Foliage Blog, or call the Oregon Fall Foliage Hotline at 800.547.5445.

Washington 

October in the Northwest: Corn Mazes, Pumpkins and Hot Cider

No car to go see fall foliage? No problem! King County Metro is putting vintage buses to work with a Fall Foliage Bus Tour (Sunday October 8, departs 11am, $5 each, age 5 and under free). The scenic 4-hour trip takes riders through the Cascade foothills along the quiet back roads of east King County as the autumn leaves are turning color, stopping for photo-ops and lunch. There’s nothing like a scenic drive for leaf peeping at the height of fall color, but the trip is even better when someone else does the driving!

Grab your beer stein and don a dirndl! It’s time for three fun weekends of Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest (Sept 29-30, Oct 6-7, Oct 13-14 in 2017). The Bavarian village of Leavenworth on the east slope of Washington’s Cascades hosts the region’s most popular Oktoberfest, spanning three crisp autumn weekends. It being Oktoberfest in Bavaria and all, there’s of course going to be fabulous beer. You’ll also dance to live music, nosh on German food, and browse arts and crafts booths. There are plenty of cultural ceremonies and traditions to take part in, too.the next best thing to being in Munich. Live it up with live music, authentic German food, arts and crafts, Bavarian clothing, and activities for the whole family. See even more local Oktoberfests here.

Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum hosts the Suncadia Harvest Festival over two weekends in October (7-8 and 14-15, 2017, 10am-5pm each day) at the historic Nelson Farm. Come for pony rides, haunted wagon rides, bouncy houses, Haunted Movie Theatre, 1,000 bale straw maze, pumpkin patch, merchant market featuring local artisans, food & beer garden, plus much more!

Finnriver cidery hosts its annual celebration of World Apple Day on Sunday October 15th, 2017 (noon-6pm) at the Finnriver Orchard & Cider Garden at 124 Center Road in Chiumacum. World Apple Day event was inspired by festivals in England honoring old orchards; Finnriver hosts this event for the community, inviting people onto the farm to celebrate the season and the harvest of the orchard. Come enjoy live music, dancing, a bagpipe parade, and orchard walking tours with ‘Johnny Appleseed’! Delicious noshing includes woodfired pizza (with apple-inspired variations!), local oysters and tamales, and baked apple treats, caramel apples, kettle corn and even organic cotton candy!

When you get lost in a maze of maize at the Rutledge Corn Maze, you might find yourself running into a vampire or a zombie. Weekends through October 31 in Tumwater.

Carlton Farms in Lake Stevens is open through October 31st for their annual fall festivities–the pumpkin patch and corn maze are open daily, and more fall activities (kids’ areas, pumpkin cannon, bucket train, zip lines, wagon rides) are open 10am-6pm Sat & Sun.

Craven Farm in Snohomish is open daily for its Fall Harvest Festival (9:30am – dusk) through Oct 31. Come to pick pumpkins, get lost in a corn maze, take a hayride through Minionville, and roast marshmallows or sip apple cider beside a crackling fire. Admission is free.

Got a favorite autumn event, haunted maze or pumpkin patch to share with our readers? Leave it in the comments below.

Photos: Shaded pumpkin by sarahbest. Apple picking by Bryan Danger Wheeler.

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