The Fall Colors of Southern Oregon… Who Needs New England?

Having just returned from Connecticut where fall colors were yet to make an appearance in mid-October, I found this Big Leaf Maple all decked out in my back yard on the Applegate River in Southern Oregon.


Peggy and I have been in Connecticut for the past couple of weeks. We went back to visit with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids, but I also hoped to get in some serious leaf-peeping. New England is world-famous for its fall colors and we had once spent a month in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire during the height of the season. We wanted more!

It wasn’t to be. It had been a warm fall in Connecticut and the leaves were being stubborn. Just as we were preparing to leave, a few trees had started to turn, but it was nothing in comparison to what we had experienced. Maybe the states north of Connecticut were having better luck. We packed our bags, took Amtrak to Boston, and flew back home to Oregon.

As we dropped into Medford from Portland, I glanced down at the ground and was greeted with bursts of yellow and red. Apparently, our trees had decided to show us that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, that the trees in New England aren’t always more colorful than the trees out West.

The drive home through Jacksonville and up and over into the Applegate Valley was spectacular. I thought to myself, “Who needs New England?” And I vowed that my camera and I would be up early the next morning to capture some of the color. I started with our yard and then took the Upper Applegate River road to Highway 238 and down into Jacksonville, stopping at the McKee Covered Bridge, Valley View Winery, and a favorite hiking trail. I finished off in Jacksonville, which was simply riotous with color.

Fall morning, Applegate Valley, Oregon

I considered this sunrise on Thursday morning a good omen that I would catch lots of fall color in the Applegate River Valley and in Jacksonville, Oregon.

White oak leaf in Applegate Valley, Oregon

This white oak leaf greeted me as I walked up our road. It was past its prime and looking a bit beat up, but I promised it a place in my blog.

Big Leaf Maple in Jacksonville, Oregon

The Big Leaf Maples of Oregon never disappoint when it comes to fall. They consider it a responsibility to decorate our yard.

Big leaf maple in Southern Oregon

And a close up.

McKee Bridge on Applegate River, Southern Oregon

Hopping in our truck, I drove over to the McKee Bridge, about four miles away. Peggy and I attended the bridge’s hundredth anniversary this summer.

Applegate River in fall, Southern Oregon

I took this photo of the Applegate River from the bridge.

Fall tree near McKee Bridge on Applegate River, Oregon

And found another maple on the other side.

Valley View Winery in Applegate Valley, Oregon

Driving on, I stopped at the Valley View Winery to capture some grape leaves that were turning.

Fall colors along Jacksonville Trail in Oregon

This hiking trail is part of a system of trails around the town of Jacksonville.

Light and shadows in fall leaves, Jacksonville, Oregon

Shooting up through the leaves I caught this photo with its contrast of shadows and light.

Jacksonville Oregon Church in fall

You certainly might think this photo was taken in New England with its village church and fall look, but it was in Jacksonville.

Fall trees and Church in Jacksonville, Oregon

Another perspective.

Orange fall leaves in Jacksonville, Oregon

I’d put this tree up against any tree in the country for sheer, glowing color.

Red fall colors in Jacksonville, Oregon

Jacksonville, is filled with riotous colors. I wanted to capture them before the big storms that were coming in did.

Fall leaves on sidewalk in Jacksonville, Oregon

Leaving the beautiful leaves on the ground…

Fall leaves on grass in Jacksonville, Oregon

Or in the grass.

Black walnut tree in fall, Jacksonville, Oregon

A black walnut tree added a dash of yellow…

Fall tree in Jacksonville, Oregon

I didn’t know what this fellow with its long pods was, but I liked its exotic look.

Fall colors in Jacksonville, Oregon

Another stranger to me, but it belonged on my post.

Street lamp and fall cors in Jacksonville, Oregon

Convenient lamps always make fun props.

Halloween Bed and Breakfast in Jacksonville, Oregon

And finally, I’d be remiss not to add this reminder of the season. A Jacksonville Bed and Breakfast was having fun with the rapidly approaching Halloween.


NEXT POST: Our kids took us to the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island while we were visiting and spectacular it was with over 5.000 pumpkins ranging from traditional to art carving. Starting on Wednesday, I will do a daily countdown up until Halloween featuring some or our favorites. You will want to check this out.


52 thoughts on “The Fall Colors of Southern Oregon… Who Needs New England?

  1. Gorgeous pics! I was recently in New Hampshire for a surprise birthday party for my mother that my sisters and I put together. Like you, I expected magnificent color, and like you, I didn’t get much of it. Guess I should have gone to the west coast. 😄

    • Thanks, G. That bridge gets a lot of attention around here. A couple of years ago they had to raise big bucks to make it safe. Interestingly, they put up boards in it that people who were so inclined could put their graffiti on. So far it has worked. 🙂 –Curt

  2. Really unbelievable shots. I liked that white oak leaf. The veins that once fed it green and prosperous have turned dry viaducts that have strangled it turning dry and brittle. Plus the DOF on the shot is astounding.

  3. Our trees in Pennsylvania are usually brilliant and fiery this time of year, but this year, they are all still green. Some are turning here and there, but mostly it looks like it could be August instead of October. Your photos are stunning Curt, thank you for sharing.

    • I wonder if this is one more thing we can chalk up to global warming, Sylvia? Thanks. We’ve been wandering around here with our jaws dropped. 🙂 I suspect it won’t last long. –Curt

  4. Wow, you certainly caught some fabulous Autumn colour! We only get vines turning here but when you’ve got views as far as the eye can see, just of vines, the patchwork colour is magnificent.

  5. Gorgeous! As you say, who needs New England. Things are looking pretty spectacular up here in Van too. I’m drooling over the colours. Wonderful photos. Especially love the one of the vineyard.

  6. East coast, west coast – you’re all seeing better leaf changing than I am here on the south coast! This is my first fall in many years that I’m not seeing what the crisp, cool days of autumn do to leaves. Your photos are brilliant (in both ways), and I’m glad you found your fall color explosion right where you are.

    • True, Andrew. And they are glorious from my perspective. Peggy and I once spent five months in fall. We had left Alaska in August when fall begins there, followed it down the Alaska Highway and across the northern tier of states and then down through New England and along the Blue Ridge Highway. When we celebrated Christmas in Big Bend National Park in southern Texas it was still fall! –Curt

    • You aren’t alone, Dave. A woman who has lived here for decades says that the colors are the most spectacular she has ever seen. Peggy and I love our drives through the Applegate Valley and down into Medford. –Curt

  7. I so love autumn, and your photos are delicious. While hillsides covered in bright swaths of color are pretty as can be, I do like your photos of the scattered leaves. I love the smell of decaying leaves in the rain, too, so fall’s delights continue for me even after the leaves have fallen. Some of our best leaf-peeping territory (small, but nice) is still green, and not showing any indication of color change. It’s probably because of our very wet year — it still looks like mid-summer around here. So I’ll just enjoy your photos, and wait.

    • I do too, Linda, starting with the fresh, cool mornings. And the first rains, especially in a climate like we have here where it rarely rains in the summer… oh, so refreshing. And the smell is heavily. Now add the fact that the cool and wet weather is slowing and stopping the fires! We can actually breathe the air.
      Leaf peeping will probably come. Both New England and the northern tier of states have been slow with fall this year. Our son in Connecticut informed us that the trees around his home are finally changing. –Curt

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