Each fall the lush greenery along Chinook Scenic Byway slowly turns to amber and gold as the local plant life welcomes the changing of the seasons. The optimal viewing times are from early to mid-October to first snowfall, as this is when colors are most vibrant and vivid. Plants such as the vine maple, huckleberry bushes, and larch and willow trees provide a beautiful array of gold, amber, and crimson colors stretching as far as the eye can see and contrasting with the abundant evergreen cover. Excellent viewing areas can be found at the Chinook Pass summit (pictured above), and in the Paradise area, Reflection Lake, and the Grove of the Patriarchs.
Enjoy Fall Colors throughout the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Fall is the time of year when the forest foliage is ablaze with color. At higher elevations some leaves are past peak and have started to fall off trees. The gold subalpine larch in the high country is at peak right now, though needles are starting to drop and will be gone very soon. Keep in mind, as nighttime temperatures drop, so will the leaves.
Fall color viewing opportunities exist throughout the national forest. Those traveling over most mountain passes will see a variety of fall colors ranging from bright green, golden yellow, flaming red to rusty brown.
Following are suggested routes or locations for great fall color drives:
- State Highway 2 over Stevens Pass and through Tumwater Canyon
- Highway 97 over Blewett Pass
- Highway 93 to Salmon la Sac Campground
- Manastash and Swauk areas of the Cle Elum District
- Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass
- Icicle Canyon west of Leavenworth
- Twisp River Valley
- North Cascade Scenic Highway 20 to Washington Pass and Loup Loup Pass
- Drive along the Methow, Chewuch or Twisp rivers in the Methow Valley to enjoy the beautiful golden fall colors of aspen and poplar trees;
- The Toats Coulee area on the Tonasket District
- Fall colors are peaking right now along the Entiat River Road, Lower Mad River Road and the numerous canyons in the lower Entiat Valley
- The back side of Rimrock Lake off Tieton Road on the Naches District.
- Chinook Pass on State Route 410
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