11 great fall trips in the Northwest

Cozy coast lodges, art shopping, spectacular hikes, and perfect bike rides

Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Andrea M. Gómez

Travel guide: Fun fall trips in the Northwest

Savor the season in Vernonia, OR

The fall color is off the charts in Vernonia, a riverside logging town that’s home to more salmon than people this season.

Bike along the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, slurp on homemade potato chowder from Café 47, take in local art, and pick the seasons best crops like apples and peppers at Dairy Creek Farm and Produce.

Full story: Vernonia, Oregon's autumn escape

Washington Day Trip: Bainbridge Island

Eden Batki

Washington's Bainbridge Island

Just a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle, this artsy Puget Sound island is fast becoming one of the Northwest’s most happening wine destinations.

Visit the island's buzzy tasting rooms, take a walk through a local park to overlook Manzanita Bay, and end the day with a bowl of French comfort food before heading back to the mainland.

More: Day trip to Bainbridge Island


Wood River Trails

Photo by Glenn Oakley

Sun Valley, Idaho

Autumn in always-sunny Sun Valley, Idaho sees few tourists. Days are warm, nights are cool ― and rates drop at the area's otherwise pricey hotels and restaurants.

Just ask the lucky locals ― fall is the perfect time to visit.

More: Your guide to Sun Valley in fall

A view from the deck of the Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Michael Hanson

Heirloom apple cider

What better way to celebrate fall than by sipping hard cider and popping artisanal cheese, surrounded by ocean views and 1,000 young apple trees? Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse presses, ferments, and bottles on-site, while you get to sample its full line―made from traditional bittersweet heirloom apples―sitting at long wood tables milled from local trees. Try the dry, earthy Wild English cider, made from wild yeasts. 2487 Mount St. Michael Rd., Saanichton; seacider.ca

Auke Bay

David Fenton

Alaska for adventurers

Alaska in fall glows with autumn leaves and the aurora borealis.

The weather is likely to be cooler and wetter than it is in summer, and some attractions are closed for the season. 

But there’s still a lot to do and see here -- great outdoors experiences, fascinating towns, amazing wildlife.

More: Two fall Alaska adventures 

The view from the Chehalem Ridge B&B.

John Clark

Pour a glass in Oregon's Willamette Valley wine country

With luxe new inns and tons of tasting rooms, Willamette is ready for prime time. 

You can get lost on the backcountry roads but always find a good glass of Pinot around the bend.

And now, with new hotels opening and tasting rooms mustering in towns like Carlton, you can experience the valley’s off-the-beaten-path vibe yet have the comforts of a soft bed close by.

More:  Oregon's wine country

Quails' Gate Estate Winery

Thomas J. Story

Go wine tasting in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley

This achingly beautiful wine country is in full-throttle discovery mode, with new wineries and different kinds of grapes going in all the time ― nearly 60 varietals, planted all over the benchlands, hillsides, and valley floor.

Add to this the Okanagan's pristine lakes, orchards, and wide range of non-wine-related things for the whole family to do (from riding the century-old Kettle Valley steam train to biking and hiking), and you have a wine-country experience like no other.

More: Your guide to the Okanagan Valley

Haystack Rock

John Clark

Cannon Beach, Oregon

A little rain never hurt an Oregon coast weekend––especially with empty beaches to walk on and lots of art to see.

After a brisk coast stroll, cozy up to your lodge fireplace, dive into a hearty dinner or breakfast, or gallery hop and get a jump on your holiday shopping.

More: 3 days in Cannon Beach

Lake Entiat in Washington

Taste Washington's apple country

The pears have arrived. They join the apples, half of which still hang from their branches, poised for plucking.

Fruit stand after fruit stand is filled with dozens of varieties, as well as local honey, melons, and squash. It's just two hours from Seattle to the heart of Washington's harvest ― the largest slice of fresh fruit in the state ― yet it's a world apart.

More: Your guide to Washington orchard country

Pacific Crest Trail

Samuel Robbins

Pacific Crest Trail

The Kendall Katwalk trail, near Seattle, offers big rewards for small effort. 

Casual hikers who might be daunted by the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail can dip in a tentative toe on the Kendall Katwalk trail, an hour east of Seattle.

In 6 not-too-demanding miles from Snoqualmie Pass to the Katwalk, a morsel of the PCT provides many of the scenic delectables of the full Mexico-to-Canada buffet.

More:  PCT for beginners

Bikes in Boise

John Clark

Bike around Boise

This Idaho town is made for riding ― especially now with fall foliage at its peak.

More:  Detailed directions for three rides through Boise

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