The Best Spots for Viewing Fall Foliage in the Pacific Northwest

  • 01 of 05

    Where to Enjoy Fall Color in the Pacific Northwest

    Fall Color in Oregon's Hood River Valley
    Craig Tuttle / Getty Images

    Fiery red. Vibrant yellow. Deep, rich gold. The fall colors in the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington can be as spectacular as anywhere in the country.

    The leaf display can vary each year and is entirely dependent on weather conditions. Dry Indian summers, which often occur in the Pacific Northwest produce breathtaking hillside panoramas, however, the occasional wet early fall can cut the fall foliage season short. The U.S. Forest Service fall color information guide is your best resource for to consult before planning your leaf peeping trip.

    The types of trees and shrubs across the region that provide color include vine maples, larch, and aspen. The vine maple, which often lines Pacific Northwest hiking trails, turns to hues of yellow, orange, and red while the larch and aspen become gorgeous shades of yellow and gold. Since these trees are often intermingled with evergreens, the fall foliage display in the is both rich and varied.

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  • 02 of 05

    Fall Foliage Trips in Idaho

    Road through autumn colors, Idaho, USA
    Danita Delimont/Getty Images

    The Best Time for Leaf Peeping

    Idaho's fall colors are best viewed from late September through October. Consult the ​Intermountain Region Forest Service fall color updates to ensure that you won't be disappointed in the displays. 

    Where to Leaf Peep

    Meandering byways lead to the best leaf peeping in Idaho. 

    • Idaho Section of the International Selkirk Loop - The International Selkirk Loop is an acclaimed 280-mile scenic byway that passes through British Columbia, Washington, and Idaho. The Idaho portion runs from Priest River, through Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, to the border town of Porthill. To get an up-close view of fall foliage, stop along the way for a hike and some wildlife viewing at The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge.
    • Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway - This scenic byway begins north of Sandpoint on Idaho Highway 200 and runs east to the Idaho–Montana border. Much of the route skirts the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, providing gorgeous water views to accompany the colorful fall display,
    • Teton Scenic Byway - As the name suggests, spectacular fall colors set against views of the Teton Mountain Range make for some truly memorable scenes along this route. The byway runs along several state highways in Eastern Idaho, passing through the towns of Ashton, Tetonia, and Driggs.
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  • 03 of 05

    Fall Foliage Trips in Montana

    Autumn Color near Emigrant Peak in Montana
    Carol Polich Photo Workshops / Getty Images

    The Best Time for Leaf Peeping

    Late September to mid-October is typically the best time for leaf peeping in Montana, but the colors vary greatly depending on the elevation.

    Where to Leaf Peep

    The roads running through the national parks and forests are your best bet for seeing the most spectacular autumn leaves in Montana. Just make sure your car is equipped with Four-wheel drive!

    • Beartooth Highway - Considered one of America's best scenic drives, the Beartooth Highway passes through Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. You can enjoy Montana's fall foliage as you pass through the Custer, Shoshone, and Gallatin national forests. Along the way, you'll see fabulous views of rugged mountains and alpine meadows.
    • Going-to-the-Sun Road - The scenery along Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road is magnificent, no matter what the month. Add in the gold and yellow hues of late-season larch and aspen and you have yet another reason to visit one of the country's great scenic wonders.
    • Seeley-Swan Scenic Drive - Follow State Highway 83 through the Seeley-Swan Valley within Lolo National Forest. Along the way, you'll see bright yellow larch reflected in the route's many lakes.
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  • 04 of 05

    Fall Foliage Trips in Oregon

    Colorful Vine Maples Near Oregon's Santiam Pass
    Alan Majchrowicz / Getty Images

    The Best Time for Leaf Peeping

    Oregon's fall color season begins in mid-September and peaks in mid-October, but color conditions can change on a daily basis. Call the free Oregon Fall Foliage Hotline at 800-547-5445 for daily updates on the status of the foliage.

    Where to Leaf Peep

    Oregon's leaves are best viewed by car along one of these incredibly picturesque routes.

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  • 05 of 05

    Fall Foliage Trips in Washington State

    Backpacker in fall colors
    Tegra Stone Nuess / Getty Images

    The Best Time for Leaf Peeping

    Fall color in the state of Washington typically begins in mid-September and peaks in mid-October, but like most of the region, the color conditions can change daily. Washington state offers a free Fall Foliage Hotline 800-354-4595 that reports the status of the colors each day. 

    Where to Leaf Peep

    The Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Mountains both provide great views of Pacific Northwest fall foliage.