By Dan Shryock
Fallen leaves scent the cool breeze and crackle underfoot. It’s time to do some leaf peeping—otherwise known as viewing colorful fall foliage. Here are five places to enjoy the view, paired with five shops to get a warm drink afterward. The change of color pairs boldly with a warm cup of coffee. Pumpkin spice latte, anyone?
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Silver Falls State Park, 30 miles east of Salem, is the largest Oregon state park. Look for the massive bigleaf maple tree at the South Falls viewpoint that frames autumn colors against the iconic South Falls. This may be the most accessible, picturesque spot in the park. Take in more leaves while stretching your legs along the Trail of Ten Falls. A nearby bike path and nature trail provide wider views. Then, follow Highway 214 through the trees to Silverton and the Silverton Coffee Station, an old gas station turned charming destination for tea and coffee. See stateparks.oregon.gov.
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Idaho
Venture north to the Idaho Panhandle where the golden needle-like leaves of the larch trees glow across the slopes of the Selkirk and Purcell mountains. A 4.5-mile auto tour through the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge shows off the 2,774-acre sanctuary where there’s much more to see than trees; for instance, 300 wildlife species. Sip a cup of Red Rooster Coffee Company’s brew at the eclectic Under the Sun bistro, gift store and coffee shop at Bonners Ferry. Once the town hardware store, that vibe lingers today. See fws.gov.
Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon
Consider paddling your way past the fall foliage. The Upper Klamath Canoe Trail stretches for nearly ten miles adjacent to the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway near Rocky Point. Here the changing aspen leaves are super striking against a big, beautiful backdrop of pine-green. Not interested in kayaking? Enjoy vibrant colors on a drive from Klamath Falls north on Highway 140. Visit Brevada in Klamath Falls for their signature coffee, the Brevada, made with coconut oil and butter. See recreation.gov.
Lake Crescent, Washington
A drive to Lake Crescent is beautiful any time of year; the lake especially shines when red alders and bigleaf maples turn each autumn, contrasting against Douglas firs, spruces, cedars and the blue water. Don’t expect reds and browns. Look for variations of greens and yellows. Follow Highway 101 from Port Angeles or walk along the lush, paved Olympic Discovery Trail. At the Great Northern Coffee Bar in downtown Port Angeles, try the Haywire—dark roast coffee with a shot of espresso. See nps.gov.
Eagle Island State Park, Idaho
Cottonwood and oak trees dominate this 545-acre park wedged between the north and south channels of the Boise River northwest of the capital city. Walk or bike across the park and beside the water and look for Russian olive leaves changing from green to yellow to brown in early October when viewing is best. Warm up with a pour over coffee at Push & Pour, located downtown in Garden City. See parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.