We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Fall Color in October?

Texas Hill Country
Level Contributor
16 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Fall Color in October?

My husband and I are flying into Portland on Oct. 5th. We'll be staying at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver for 4 nights, then 2 nights at the Inn at Cannon Beach, and the final night we'll be at the Town Place Suites in Hillsboro. We fly back to San Antonio on the 12th after lunch.

We are definitely planning to spend a day or two in Portland because we both love gardens. We are also considering driving to Mount St. Helens one day. Is that worth our time and not too long a drive? The Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and the area around Cannon Beach are already on our "must see" list.

Where will we be most likely to see fall color? We realize that it may be too early in most areas. Wish we had an extra week so that we could see more of the area. Our problem will be how to make the most of our limited time.

Oregon
Level Contributor
4,366 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Fall Color in October?

We stayed at the Heathman Lodge the night before Labor Day and went to Mt. St. Helens the next. The drive from the Heathman is less than 2 hours each way. The drive between Castle Rock and Johnson Ridge Observatory goes pretty quick. There are really no services up at the observatory. There was a sandwich/hotdog vendor when we were there. For $3/person you can go inside and watch a film showing the eruption and then later hear a talk from a ranger about the eruption and recent activity. I think it's worth a day trip. In the Willamette Valley some of the maples are just starting to change colors and the higher the elevation, the more likely you are to see fall colors. I envy you going to the Columba River Gorge this time of year, especially if there are fall colors present. Make sure you visit most of the waterfalls. In Portland, besides the rose test gardens, the Japenese Gardens and the Classical Chinese Gardens, you might also want to check out Forest Park and Laurelhurst Park. Forest Park is a huge wilderness area within Portland and Laurelhurst is a beautiful neighborhood park east of downtown.

Another tip for the Heathman. You may want to upgrade to their business level for their complimentary breakfast bar and other perks. When we were there, we did not upgrade but we did have a nice room with a balcony - view of the parking lot but it was nice.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Fall Color in October?

Mt St Helens definitely worth trip in my view. pretty amazing to see geology in action. However not worth it if mountain covered in clouds.Should be easy to tell from Vancouver. either by looking north or by calling Forest Service. or using their camcorder site

http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
2,967 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Fall Color in October?

Just a quick note, we just did the St. Helen's trip a couple weeks ago. It was worthwhile, but we had great weather. We bought the $6 pass which allows entrance to all three visitor centers, thereby saving you ($6 vs $9) a few bucks, however if you are short on time the very first visitor center, which is just a few miles off the freeway, was the best of the three - very good exhibits and the movie was great.

Mesa, Arizona
Level Contributor
278 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Fall Color in October?

Just got back from the Heathman Lodge and loved how creative the architect and land developer were. We were on the first floor facing the unseen freeway. We could hear the freeway when outside but not at all inside. We felt like we were in the rustic area even though it set back into a more office/residential/shopping area. I loved being on the first floor because it was enjoyable to look out at our stone and wood porch and then all green trees. Lovely.

Our bed was the kind that lets you sink into it and feel totally supported. There were 5-6 feather pillows on each bed. They use wool blankets on the bed, so they are light and warm. I was very sick when I arrived and the staff let us check in early and saw to all our needs ASAP. NO extra charge...how nice is that? I thought the room itself was much bigger than most hotels/lodges with two large beds and room to walk and put suitcases down. It had a nice size table and chairs. The smell of wood and wet trees were evident ouside on our porch which brought it all the more rustic to us. The bathroom shower was big enough for two people with a huge shower head, not usually seen at the hotels I stay at. Without the tub it made it feel so roomy. There was a sink in the bathroom and outside the bathroom which solved a lot of problems for me. We used the 1/2 size refrigerator for mediction, bottled water, pop, popcorn, etc. The microwave worked well and I was able to heat up soup at 4:00 a.m.

We could hear only faint noises of people upstairs: mostly toddler running around and some bumping but nothing major. I have a funny story. I am quite ill with a degenerative disease and I was laying there in the middle of the night. I heard a soft spoken lady singing beautifully above me. I thought maybe the angels had come to get me. Then I heard the toddler running around and realized the mother was probably trying to rock him/her to sleep. It happened on and off and then no more toddler footsteps running so she must have gotten the baby to bed finally. She had such a lovely voice.

My husband found the various ways to get into the lodge through different doors and it made it easy to come and go without going through the lobby. However, the lobby is very ornate and gives you a warm feeling with a burning fireplace. It burns all the time. Make sure you get a picture of the two of you by the staircase. Ours turned out beautifully. I didn't get to the Hudson Bar and Grill but the guys did and were very happy with their breakfasts. It was pricey compared to little cafes but perfect for them on that day. They were happy with the servings and the taste of the food.

We went to Elmers for an inexpensive breakfast and to Sharrie's and I would take Sharrie's over Elmers. Sharrie's is equivalent to Village Inn or Denny's with pies and such in the window display.

We did have on little problem. We were going from the lodge to the area with all the restaurants 1/2 mile north east of there and right in a busy street 3 teens approached our car and literally put their hands on the car. My husband was going to open the window a crack but it was my son's car and he got confused briefly how to oepn the window. I was concerned so then he drove off. I don't know what they wanted...they looked like high school kids out before school but I don't know why they did that. I would just be sure to be aware of your surroundings. I'm glad our doors were locked. It could have been totally innocent since the car was unusual and sporty, but still I felt like I wanted to let you know.

Something we realized is rush hour starts pretty early so if you plan to go on the highway across the bridge from Vancouver to Portland, try to be on one side or the other any time after 2:30. We were so surprised about that since we timed it to be out of the commute area by 4:00. At least that was what we experienced on our visit. By 2:30 there was car upon car going less than 20 miles an hour.

Have a wonderful trip. Bring a street map for sure of Portland!! Wow was that adventure driving or what?

Buenos Aires...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
17,958 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Fall Color in October?

who'swho, I am so glad that the hotel was good for you, I am glad that the mother singing was not an angel coming to get you, not yet! You have plenty of time here yet :)

I look forward to hearing more about your trip, and I wish you all the best.

Scarlett

oregon city
Level Contributor
790 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Fall Color in October?

i think its definatly worth the drive to mount st. helens. It is pretty active right now, so it is very possible you may see steam rising from the crater. You will be able to get great views during most days, (only if it is very cloudy/foggy will you not be able to see the mountain) You can check out this usgs web cam

http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/

Your trip up the the gorge, along with your trip's 'fall' theme you may want to stop at Hood River. September is apple harvest time, there will probably be some farms open in october if you drive up hiway 35 a few miles.

have fun

Texas Hill Country
Level Contributor
16 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Fall Color in October?

Wow. Thanks for the helpful replies. We'll definitely try to make the trip to Mount Saint Helens, if the weather is good. I read who'swho's

post about the Columbia River Gorge and the waterfalls on another topic. Can't miss those either.

Level Contributor
5,143 posts
675 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Fall Color in October?

My favorite place to see lots of fall colors in Clark County (Vancouver) is Lucia Falls Road just north of Battle Ground. You can even make it part of your trip to Mt. St. Helens - depending on which visitors center you want to visit - you just take SR-503 North 5 miles past Battle Ground, and take a right on Lucia Falls Road toward Yacolt. The road winds along the banks of the East Fork of the Lewis River, with beautiful fall colors - you can stop at Moulton Falls along the way, or Lucia Falls Park.

Another great place up there for fall colors is Cedar Creek Road east of I-5, just south of Woodland. Head East away from Woodland and the road winds along the water - a great autumn drive. You can follow it all the way of to Siouxon Creek, a popular hiking and mountain biking area.

Mt. St. Helens is an easy day trip - a couple hours each way. I think the drive is nicer going up SR-503, but the visitors center on the West side allows you to look right into the crater. The best way by far to experience Mt. St. Helens is to hike to the top of the crater, where you can sit on the rim and look down inside. 360 degree views on a sunny day - awesome. Not for the feint of heart, though - it's a full day hike with about a 4800 foot elevation gain.

9. Re: Fall Color in October?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:20 pm, August 23, 2009