The crunch of papery leaves underfoot. The crisp scent of summer’s sugary decay. Fall is here, and with it, nature’s yearly finale of color. Portland offers a cornucopia of places to stroll through fall foliage; here’s a handful of our favorite spots.
Forest Park, 40+ access points in Multnomah County
The name of this sprawling, 5,200-acre natural sanctuary says it all. Forest Park is where you go when you want to see a lot of trees, and one species in particular far outnumbers the rest: the bigleaf maple. Big leaves = big autumn color. Pro tip: Take the 3.5-mile Maple Trail loop hike for maximum fall foliage.
Cathedral Park, North Edison Street + Pittsburg Avenue
Nature’s grandeur meets humankind’s feats of engineering at one of Portland’s most stunning public spaces. Home to legendary history, 400-ft towers, and dozens of tree species like crape myrtles and golden larches, Cathedral Park is a photographer’s paradise any time of year — but autumn is particularly dazzling.
Lone Fir Cemetery, 649 SE 26th Ave.
Peace and hushed beauty await the living — and the deceased — at this historic cemetery. Home to 700+ trees representing 67 species, Lone Fir is also the second-largest arboretum in Portland. The cemetery’s namesake tree still stands, though no longer in solitude, and its deciduous neighbors put on a spectacular fall show.
Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave.
Tucked into the West Hills, this space is one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Asia. After paying the admission fee, take your time navigating the Portland Japanese Garden’s manicured paths surrounded by graceful Japanese maples — and other Asian shrubs and trees — that come into their full, fiery splendor in autumn.
Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd.
Portland’s beloved “living museum of trees” is a year-round respite from the hustle and bustle of city life — and an autumnal utopia come October and November. Home to 2,300 tree species from six continents, Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park is one of the best places to feast your eyes on deciduous specimens like birches, maples, oaks, and witch hazels in all their fall glory.
Pro tip: Check with the managing agency of each site for specific photography rules.