Best spots to view fall colors



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 21 at 1:17 PM

Video: Raw: Fall colors in Seattle

SEATTLE - Orange is the new green.

But red, gold and rust are also popping up around Puget Sound.

Fall colors are coming out all over, and Western Washington is packed with spots to take in the changing colors.

In Seattle proper, the recommends trips to Discovery Park in Magnolia, Lincoln Park in West Seattle and Seward Park on Lake Washington. A walk around Green Lake will also give you a good view.

Folks at Seattle's Outdoor Recreation Information Center (ORIC), located in the downtown Seattle REI building, recommend the Washington Park Arboretum and the Ballard Locks.

"Farther east, are near Issaquah," said David Minaglia, manager. "There's a big network of trails. There's so many junctions it's a good idea to have a map there."

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For a burst of golden hues, the Washington Trails Association says to look for larches.

"One of the most amazing things we see hiking this time of year in certain parts of the Cascades are larches, one of few evergreen trees that drops its needles," said Jonathan Guzzo, advocacy director for the trails association "Before they drop they turn this really intense golden color."

He recommends taking a hiking trip to , located outside of Leavenworth.

There he says you'll find "beautiful mountain peaks, little crystalline lakes and big stands of larch that are all this sort of dusty gold color." The spot is also home to huckleberry patches, which he says turn a red color.

Guzzo also recommends , also located outside of Leavenworth, and Hart's Pass.

Highway 2 is a popular spot for viewing fall colors.

"Off of U.S. 2 the , either headed north or south, is really, really stunning country," Guzzo said.

You can search for more hikes on the Washington Trails Association's .

The Forest Service offers a for the latest predictions and tips on where to view the changing colors. According to the latest report, vine maples and are beginning to show their reds and oranges in the Cle Elum Ranger District. They're best viewed in the Cle Elum Valley and along the I-90 corridor. Huckleberry brush and other low-growing shrubs along the I-90 corridor are turning color.

A drive through the Entiat Valley is recommended in the month of October. And in the Naches Ranger District, the first plants to change are sumac, elderberry and vine maple.

But every agency reminds you to be prepared, especially if you're headed to high-elevation areas like The Enchantments.

"We caution people when hiking in this season to be a little careful, because the weather can change pretty rapidly this time of year," Guzzo said.

Share your recommendations on places to view fall colors in the comments box below.