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Tips for where to see fall color in Oregon

Mail Tribune / file photoPhotographer John Kirk's photo of a Japanese maple in Lithia Park was featured in the book "Ashland, Oregon" by Barbara Tricarico.

Fall is officially here, and as we gradually enter the darkest days of the year we are also treated to a splash of bright color, thanks to the deciduous trees that surround us.

In Oregon, fall color can be found just about everywhere: throughout the Rogue Valley, the Willamette Valley, along the coast, up in the Cascade Mountains and even in pockets of the high desert. And while the timing of those changing leaves will depend on where you are in the state, those looking for color should circle the week of Oct. 11 on their calendars.

That’s when most of Oregon will see peak or near-peak fall color, according to the Fall Foliage Prediction Map. By the week of Oct. 25, only southwest Oregon is still expected to have fall color, and come November almost all the color should be gone. Here’s the breakdown of fall color in Oregon over the first half of the season:

Week of Oct. 11: Peak in Cascades and far Eastern Oregon, near peak in northwest and all Eastern Oregon. This is the perfect time to catch color in the mountains and high desert destinations like Steens Mountain, before snow closes remote passes for the season.

Week of Oct. 18: Peak in northwest and all Eastern Oregon, near peak in central Willamette Valley and central coast. In the Portland area, you should be able to find good fall color in the Columbia River Gorge and the north Oregon coast. Head to Bend and other areas of central Oregon for good color just about everywhere.

Week of Oct. 25: Peak in central Willamette Valley and central coast, near peak on southwest Oregon coast. Head down to the central and southern parts of the western Oregon to catch peak fall color in places like Prospect, Ashland, Eugene and Grants Pass. This is also a good time to see fall color on the coast in places like Newport and Florence. Lithia Park is one of the best places to see fall color in Southern Oregon

Week of Nov. 1: Peak on the southwest Oregon coast. For one last look at fall color for the season, head to places like Bandon and Brookings, where you can see Oregon’s redwoods alongside deciduous trees changing color at mid-fall.